PHILADELPHIA, PA—Duane Morris LLP associate Leah Mintz of the Philadelphia office was honored at the firm’s virtual annual meeting for their pro bono contributions. Mintz received the 14th annual Duane Morris Pro Bono Award.
The Duane Morris Pro Bono Award honors the outstanding service of an attorney who exemplifies Duane Morris’ commitment to pro bono service and has made a significant impact on an individual or community.
Leah Mintz collaborated with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity (PLSE) for several years to perform constitutional analyses of Pennsylvania’s pardon requirements and procedure, which PLSE used to advocate for streamlining and modernizing the Commonwealth’s pardon process. More than 200,000 criminal cases are initiated in Pennsylvania every year, yet before 2020, the Pardon Board decided only approximately 200 pardons annually. The backlog created significant barriers to employment, credit, housing, and education, as well as numerous other collateral consequences such as volunteering, taking care of grandchildren and more for Pennsylvania residents. Relying on Duane Morris and Mintz’s analysis, in spring 2020, the Pardon Board adopted a consent style agenda for pardon applications to which no member objects, which was used in September to recommend over 60 pardon candidates to the Governor in a single vote, among other modernization efforts that already are helping to expand access to this essential element of justice. As of September 21, 2020, the Pardon Board heard 326 applications at public hearings and was on pace to exceed 500—the most, by far, in its 170 year history.
In honor of Mintz’s work, Duane Morris will make a $2,500 to HIAS Pennsylvania and a $2,500 to PLSE.