The American Lawyer: Ropes & Gray Committed 33 years, More than 16,000 Hours to Achieve Pro Bono Victory

In The News
March 7, 2023

In January 2023, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland granted a full innocence pardon to John N. Huffington, who served 32 years in prison for crimes he did not commit—10 on death row. In a dedicated in-depth story, The American Lawyer highlighted Ropes & Gray’s longstanding commitment to John’s case. The firm devoted more than 33 years and 16,591.25 hours to the pro bono matter, the longest-running ever for Ropes & Gray. Litigation & enforcement partner Chong Park, who serves as counsel to John, said, “This really is a testament to the firm and how seriously it takes its commitment to justice.”

The long-running pro bono matter also provided extensive training opportunities for associates who cycled through over the years. John’s matter provided associates with the chance, early in their careers, to help prepare the case for trial, work on potential plea deals, and interact directly with a client and opposing counsel.

Despite the many hours he spent on the matter, Chong said he never got a single question from anyone at the firm about why they were spending firm resources on the case. Over the many years, lawyers and professionals from likely every Ropes office worked on the matter. “When the pardon was granted, the heads of the pro bono committee sent out an all-personnel message… celebrating the fact that John had really been given vindication. This was an all-firm email because that’s how important the justice of John’s case was to the firm,” he said.