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Washington Lawyers’ Committee Recognizes Freedman for Commitment to Civil Rights and Economic Justice

June 1, 2022

Arnold & Porter senior pro bono counsel John A. Freedman was recognized by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs with the 2022 Wiley A. Branton Award. The annual award is presented to members of the legal community whose careers show a deep and abiding commitment to civil rights and economic justice advocacy.

Freedman was recognized for his 25 years of dedication to pro bono work, including his work tackling critical civil rights litigation in Washington, DC, and across the country. Throughout his career, Freedman has litigated a wide swath of civil rights issues including racial discrimination in policing, barriers to employment, voting rights, and many more. In the past several years, he has led teams that successfully challenged the proposed addition of a citizenship question to the decennial census, the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, the rescission of the Central American Minors program, race discrimination in the Prince George’s County Police Department, wage theft against undocumented construction workers, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s criminal background screening policy. Also known for his voting rights work, he has successfully tried challenges to voting restrictions in Florida and partisan gerrymandering in Pennsylvania.

Freedman has served as Arnold & Porter’s Senior Pro Bono Counsel since 2020. His recent work has focused on protecting vulnerable populations at risk from COVID-19, including patients at Washington, DC’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, persons detained in Maryland and Pennsylvania jails, and students with disabilities in several states.  

Through countless cases on behalf of people facing discrimination, Freedman has become a leader in the Washington, DC pro bono and civil rights community. He is a longtime board member and a former co-chair of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. Freedman also has partnered with other civil rights organizations including the National Lawyers’ Committee, the America Civil Liberties Union and many of its state affiliates, the Brennan Center for Justice, and the American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project.

In 2020, Freedman was recognized by the National Law Journal in as a Political Activism/First Amendment law “Trailblazer.”