2022 – Patrick Yingling

“Freedom was a dream only inside of my head, until I met Patrick Yingling.”

-Olachi Tiffany Etoh, a client represented by Patrick

Patrick Yingling is a partner at Reed Smith LLP. Incredibly, in addition to a busy practice at the firm, he has dedicated an average of more than 750 hours each year to pro bono cases that advance justice, equity, and the rule of law.

Patrick has obtained landmark wins for LGBTQ+ rights, including court recognition of same-sex common-law marriages dating back decades and rulings invalidating laws that prevented transgender individuals from changing their names.

Additionally, through his pro bono work, Patrick has protected voting rights and fought against gerrymandered political maps. Most recently, he represented individuals and organizations before the Ohio Supreme Court in a successful challenge to the state’s gerrymandered redistricting plan.

In Chicago, Patrick has represented pro bono clients who were adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity and required to spend years in state hospitals even after they regained their mental health and stability. In recent years, he obtained release orders for two of these clients, both of whom are now thriving in their lives outside of a state hospital.

Patrick’s clients and his colleagues describe him as an understanding advocate who is experienced, but not cynical. Patrick is a source of confidence for his clients, and their testimonials commend him for listening and responding to their concerns.

At just 36 years old, Patrick has collected more than a lifetime’s worth of accomplishments. His drive and dedication to improving access to justice truly embody the spirit of what it means to be a lawyer and make him a very fitting recipient of this year’s Weigle Award.