2015 – Gabriel A. Fuentes
In his 17 years as an attorney with Jenner & Block, Gabriel Fuentes has performed more than 5,000 hours of pro bono work. While it would be near impossible to catalogue all of the pro bono cases he’s been involved with over his tenure as a litigator, Gabe’s focus has been on indigent criminal defense, prisoner rights, the protection of voting rights for minorities, and First Amendment issues. Gabe continually has handled tough, complex, and sometimes controversial pro bono issues using the skills he honed at the U.S. Attorney’s Office and continues to bring to his role as a key partner in Jenner & Block’s White Collar Defense and Investigations, Antitrust, Media and First Amendment, and Japan Practices.
As a journalist-turned-lawyer, Gabe has taken particular interest in abuses directed at free speech rights. In an example of his extraordinary commitment, while in the midst of preparation for a high-stakes civil trial, he drove 250 miles and dedicated an entire weekend to researching a case involving a student journalist at Western Illinois University who was facing disciplinary proceedings that appeared to be retaliation for some of the student’s recent investigative work. After Gabe’s meeting with University counsel, the student had his editorial job back and a consent agreement clearing his name.
In another noteworthy case, the American Board of Forensic Odontology attempted to expel Dr. Michael Bowers, a prominent critic of bite mark evidence in wrongful conviction cases. For nearly a year, Gabe masterfully litigated the ethics complaint, which was ultimately dismissed in its entirety. The outcome of the proceedings was significant for both Dr. Bowers and the larger forensic community, which would have taken a step back had it not been for Gabe’s work.
As co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee for several years and through his ongoing mentoring and leadership, Gabe reinforces and maintains the firm’s ethos that pro bono work is a part of every lawyer’s professional obligation.