2016 – Lawrence A. Wojcik
Throughout his impressive career spanning four decades, Larry Wojcik has been a true champion for pro bono and public service. He jumped right in as a newly minted lawyer in 1977, representing poor people facing a variety of legal issues through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. Those initial endeavors were just the beginning, and he has admirably tailored his successful career at DLA Piper to always include pro bono as a significant part of his work there. Last year alone, he managed to integrate more than 400 pro bono hours into his busy litigation practice representing business and professional clients.
Larry’s dedication to helping young people in the juvenile justice system stands out among his many impressive pro bono achievements. Larry led DLA Piper’s first signature pro bono project focused on juvenile justice in 2004. This initiative resulted in the firm donating nearly 23,000 attorney hours to represent juveniles in court and to review the applicable laws and public policies to identify potential systemic reforms. Larry’s exemplary leadership and hard work played an integral role in the success of the program and landed him an invitation to co-chair the ABA’s Criminal Section on Juvenile Justice. In this role, Larry did extensive research on the consequences of juvenile adjudications, and his findings and resulting court briefs were instrumental in several important U.S. Supreme Court cases that expanded protections for juveniles in the courts.
Another of Larry’s significant pro bono victories involved a multi-year civil rights lawsuit in southern Illinois that eventually resulted in the closure of the Tamms Supermax Correctional Center. Tamms was known as one of the harshest prisons in the country, with inmates routinely placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time. The Tamms case set a national precedent and resulted in major systemic changes for the prison system.
The direct impact of Larry’s extensive pro bono work is extraordinary in its own right, and that impact only grows larger through the countless colleagues at DLA Piper and beyond he has inspired.
Special thanks to Computing Source for this video.