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On November 1, 2017, more than 1,300 friends and supporters from all corners of the legal universe gathered to present the 2017 Scales of Justice Award to a longtime champion of pro bono and equal justice,  Kenneth C. Frazier , the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Merck & Co., Inc. The event raised more than $3 million to mobilize the next generation of public interest lawyers.


Emcee journalist David Gregory and Equal Justice Works Board Chair Randal S. Milch kicked-off the evening with special recognition to  Latham & Watkins LLP  for the firm’s generous support and for providing direct pro bono services to the organization. Since 1998, Latham & Watkins LLP has sponsored 22 Fellows and generously provided $2.3 million dollars’ worth of direct pro bono services to Equal Justice Works. Jennifer C. Archie, Partner at Latham & Watkins LLP, accepted the honor on the firm’s behalf.


Milch, alongside former Board Chairs, then presented a video tribute to  Executive Director David Stern , in honor of his 25 years of service at Equal Justice Works. Stern followed the celebration with a keynote address, acknowledging the many individuals who have joined Equal Justice Works in its quest to advance equal justice and who have helped the organization to innovate and grow.


Guests then heard from  2017 Text-to-Give Fellow Paul Chander , who is providing legal counsel to help those coming out of the criminal justice system achieve economic stability through worker cooperatives; and from Fellow alumna  Cynthia Cornelius , who serves as the Assistant Director of Legal Services at Cabrini Green Legal Aid. A short video showed Cornelius at work, helping individuals living in poverty to either seal or expunge their criminal records, so that that they can get a job and return to a productive life.

Michael J. Holston, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Merck & Co., Inc., thanked supporters and spoke about his long history with the award recipient. He shared a story about working with Frazier on a pro bono death penalty case representing James Willie Cochran. Finally, former U.S. Attorney General  Eric H. Holder  presented the 2017 Scales of Justice Award to Ken, in recognition of his exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to equal justice. The evening concluded with closing remarks by Stern and Gregory.


Equal Justice Works proudly acknowledges all its Annual Dinner sponsors and would like to extend a special thank you to its Champion of Justice Sponsors:  Greenberg Traurig and Merck & Co., Inc.