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Photo: Mark Kennedy and Sean Hennessy

Arnold & Porter Wins a Pair of Pro Bono Criminal Cases

Attorneys from Arnold & Porter, along with their investigators and staff, recently won acquittals for clients in two separate, pro-bono cases. These terrific results ensured that two clients were able to celebrate the holidays at home with their families.

In one of the cases, Counsel Mary Kennedy and Associate Sean Hennessy (on the right in the photo) represented a man who was indicted (along with two other codefendants) for aggravated assault while armed. After a two-day trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges—after deliberating for less than an hour.

In the other matter, Mary and Associate Alex Berrang (on the left in the photo) represented a young man charged with first-degree murder while armed (as well as other firearm offenses). After a four-day trial, the jury acquitted their client on all counts.

In each case, the jurors praised the defense team and cited the attorneys’ passion for their clients as a factor in the verdicts.

These cases came to Arnold & Porter as part of its Superior Court Criminal Defense Pro Bono Program, which Mary took over in 2006. As part of that program, lawyers in the firm’s Washington, DC office represent indigent criminal defendants facing misdemeanor and felony charges.

The program is one example of Arnold & Porter’s deep commitment to pro bono service. Mary thoroughly trains interested Arnold & Porter attorneys on everything from interviewing clients to investigating facts to trying the cases. And she serves as co-counsel in every case, providing ongoing training, coaching, and encouragement along the way.

For associates like Sean and Alex, the program offers courtroom experience and the opportunity to serve those who need legal help. “This was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding experiences of my legal career to date,” said Sean. “I was able to make a positive difference in my client’s life, while improving my own legal skills along the way.” Alex echoed these sentiments: ”I feel very fortunate to work for a firm like Arnold & Porter that is so committed to pro bono service.”

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