Since 1990, the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia has presented the Servant of Justice Award to individuals or organizations who have demonstrated faithful dedication and remarkable achievement in ensuring that all persons have equal and meaningful access to justice. The 2020 Servant of Justice honorees are (click here for full press release):

John Heintz

Partner, Blank Rome

John Heintz is a litigator and partner in Blank Rome’s policyholder-only insurance recovery practice. Mr. Heintz, who is well regarded across the insurance market for his significant experience handling complex coverage litigation, has made pro bono work a central part of his career for 40 years. In Wai v. Allstate, for example, he helped win a ruling on “insurance redlining” at the DC Circuit that commercial insurance companies could not force landlords to purchase costlier insurance policies just because they rented homes to people with disabilities. Later he and his colleagues won a ruling that fair housing organizations had stated a disparate impact claim under the FHA for redlining in the homeowners insurance market in National Fair Housing Alliance v. Prudential.  He served as a fellow at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in the 1970s, and has served on Legal Aid’s Board of Trustees since 2009. At Blank Rome, he has taken on several pro bono cases in partnership with Legal Aid, and mentored associates on dozens more.

Avis E. Buchanan

Director, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Avis E. Buchanan has served as Director of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia (PDS) since 2004. She previously served at PDS in the roles of deputy director, staff attorney, and intern investigator. She also worked at the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs as an attorney and later as director of its equal employment opportunity project. Ms. Buchanan has dedicated her career to criminal defense, and litigating individual and class action employment and public accommodations cases. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently the 2018 Celebration of Service Award from Rising for Justice, the 2016 Thurgood Marshall Award from the DC Bar, and the 2014 President’s Award for Public Service from the Washington Council of Lawyers.

John Heintz and Avis Buchanan genuinely demonstrate in both their personal lives and professional careers what it means to be a ‘Servant of Justice.’

Barbara Rossotti, Co-Chair of this year’s Dinner and 1991 Servant of Justice honoree

2019

Anthony T. Pierce

Akin Gump

Judith L. Lichtman

National Partnership for Women & Families

2018

Abid Riaz Qureshi

Latham & Watkins

Thomas C. Papson

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

2017

Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.

Munger Tolles & Olson

Vanita Gupta

The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights

2016

Marian Wright Edelman

Children’s Defense Fund

Thomas S. Williamson, Jr.

Covington & Burling

2015

Wade Henderson

The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights

Philip W. Horton

Arnold & Porter

2014

Barbara McDowell, posthumously

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

2013

John Payton, posthumously

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

Paul M. Smith

Jenner & Block

2012

Susan M. Hoffman

Crowell & Moring

James vanR. Springer

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

2011

Brooksley E. Born

Arnold & Porter

Hon. Thomas E. Perez

United States Department of Justice

2010

Florence Wagman Roisman

Indiana School of Law – Indianapolis

2009

Anthony Herman

Covington

Dean Kurt L. Schmoke

Howard University School of Law

2008

Richard L. Roe

Georgetown University Law Center

Seth P. Waxman

WilmerHale

2007

E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr.

Hogan & Hartson

Sidney White Rhyne

Former President of Legal Aid

2006

Theodore A. Howard

Wiley Rein

David A. Reiser

Zuckerman Spaeder

2005

Katherine S. Broderick
Dean, University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law

Andrew H. Marks
Crowell & Moring

2004

Lois G. Williams

R. Sargent Shriver

E. Clinton Bamberger, Jr.

Edgar S. Cahn

Jean Camper Cahn, posthumously

2003

Peter J. Nickles
Covington

The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

2002

Samuel F. Harahan
Council for Court Excellence

Douglas G. Robinson
Skadden

2001

Lynn E. Cunningham
George Washington University Law School

John E. Nolan
Steptoe

Charles F.C. Ruff, posthumously
Covington

2000

Patty Mullahy Fugere
Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless

Robert N. Weiner
Arnold & Porter

1999

Blossom Athey
Covington

Eldon H. Crowell
Crowell & Moring

1998

Eric H. Holder, Jr.
United States Department of Justice

Francine Salzman Temko
Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

1997

Peter B. Edelman
Georgetown University Law Center

Timothy J. May
Patton Boggs

1996

R. Kenneth Mundy

Robert L. Weinberg
Williams & Connolly

1995

Willie E. Cook, Jr.
Neighborhood Legal Services Program

David B. Isbell
Covington

1994

Charles T. Duncan
Reid and Priest

Stephen J. Pollak
Shea & Gardner

Janet Reno
Attorney General of the United States

1993

Justice Thurgood Marshall, posthumously
Supreme Court of the United States

Zona F. Hostetler
O’Toole, Rothwell, Nassau & Steinbach

John H. Pickering
WilmerHale

1992

Howard C. Westwood
Covington

D.C. Legal Service Providers

1991

Augustus L. Palmer
Howard University

Barbara M. Rossotti
Pillsbury

1990

Earl W. Kintner
Arent Fox

Charles A. Horsky
Covington