On June 24, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP litigation partner John Kiernan was honored by the Volunteers of Legal Services (VOLS) with a Lifetime Service Award for his decades of pro bono service across nearly every area of need. The virtual event featured remarks from Mr. Kiernan and the Hon. Janet DeFiore, Chief Judge of the State of New York, and a panel discussion about pro bono legal service in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent calls for racial justice.
VOLS serve New Yorkers who are unable to access legal support due to low household income or underserved socio-economic background. Their public interest staff attorneys work alongside 1,000+ pro bono lawyers and collaborate with 200+ community-based groups to address critical legal challenges in New York City communities.
Mr. Kiernan has served on the firm’s Management Committee and as Co-Chair of its Litigation Department (2002–2017), and has been Chair of the Ethics Committee since 1994. John is the Board Chair of Prisoners’ Legal Services of New York and Co-Chair of the Inner City Scholarship Fund, Lawyers Division. He has previously chaired the Boards of the Volunteers of Legal Service, International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution, Legal Services-New York City, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Justice Resource Center and the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project (which he co-founded) and served as a director or trustee of several other legal, education and community-based not-for-profit organizations.