Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress, producer and New York Times best-selling author Viola Davis receives Public Counsel’s William O. Douglas Award at an event at the Beverly Hilton honoring her commitment to social causes on Sunday, December 11, 2022. The award will be presented to her by fellow actress Octavia Spencer.
The William O. Douglas Award, Public Counsel’s most prestigious honor, is presented to an individual of national or international prominence who has exemplified the principles for which Justice Douglas stood: equal access to justice, freedom of expression and equal rights. Prior award recipients have come from the fields of public service, law, journalism, education, and entertainment.
The event will be attended by over 1,000 leaders from the business, legal, political, entertainment, and philanthropic communities who gather together to support Public Counsel, the country’s largest nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services through a partnership with the nation’s top law firms.
“Ms. Davis’ powerful onscreen performances and creative productions are matched by her commitment to human rights and efforts to combat bigotry and racism. We are honored to celebrate one of the great artists of our time, who lends her powerful voice to uplift underserved communities,” said Mónica Ramírez Almadani, Public Counsel’s President and CEO.
The event will also honor Morgan Chu with the Founders Award. Chu won a six-year battle for an inmate on death row, the first reversal upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court of a conviction and death penalty in the 20 years since California had reinstated the death penalty. The Founders Award is bestowed upon individuals who have touched the heart of this organization in the most profound way. In the pantheon of Public Counsel, the Founders Award serves as the mark of the best among us: for showing us the way, and for demonstrating how one truly stands shoulder to shoulder in our fight for justice for all.
The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP will receive the Law Firm Pro Bono Award. In 2021, Kirkland devoted more than 122,000 hours to pro bono matters dedicated to asylum and immigration matters, veterans matters, LGBTQ+ matters and nonprofit clients involved in significant legal issues. Public Counsel presents the Law Firm Pro Bono Award to a law firm or corporate counsel for leadership and advocacy on behalf of indigent, vulnerable, and victimized members of our society. Past award recipients have been recognized for their dedication to children’s advocacy, affordable housing, assisting veterans, supporting transformative impact litigation, and immigration issues.
Public Counsel Board Member, civil litigator, podcaster and TV personality Tanya Acker will emcee the event, with additional presenters and musical performance to be announced.
Past honorees include John Legend, Governor Gavin Newsom, Mike Farrell, Hillary Clinton, Reverend James M. Lawson Jr, President Bill Clinton, Elie Wiesel amongst others.
Photo: DFree / Shutterstock.com