Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has received the Gideon Award from New York City’s Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) at OAD’s 28th “First Monday in October” event on October 4. The Gideon Award – named after the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright case which established the right of indigent defendants to legal representation in criminal cases – honors a law firm that has demonstrated exemplary commitment to the rights of indigent convicted defendants through its participation in OAD’s Volunteer Appellate Defender program. The program provides counsel from sponsoring law firms to indigent individuals convicted of felonies in appeals to the New York State Appellate Division, First Department, in cooperation with OAD Supervising Attorneys.
Since the firm’s founding in 1931, Debevoise lawyers have focused on helping underserved and vulnerable communities tackle social problems and solve complex legal issues to ensure laws are evenly applied for the most marginalized groups. The firm’s lawyers have worked extensively in the areas of criminal justice reform, civil rights, international human rights, the death penalty, criminal defense, immigration, and employment and wage and hour violations, among other social issues.
Debevoise has been working on appeals with the OAD for 30 years. In 2020, 27 Debevoise lawyers devoted 1,800 hours to the organization’s Volunteer Appellate Defender program.