February 10, 2021
The Pro Bono Committee is thrilled to recognize the winners of this year’s Frank Wheat Memorial Awards. The Frank Wheat Memorial Award is given annually to individual lawyers and teams that have demonstrated leadership and initiative in their pro bono work, obtained significant results for their pro bono clients, and served as a source of inspiration to others. This year’s winners reflect the very best of what it means to be a Gibson Dunn lawyer, and we are so proud to honor them for their work.
Frank Wheat, a former Los Angeles partner, was a superb transactional lawyer, SEC commissioner, and president of the Los Angeles County Bar. He was also a giant in the nonprofit community, having founded the Alliance for Children’s Rights in addition to serving as a leader of the Sierra Club and as a founding director of the Center for Law in the Public Interest. He exemplified the commitment to the community and to pro bono service that has always been a core tenet of the Gibson Dunn culture. Recipients of the Frank Wheat Memorial Award each receive a $2,500 prize to be donated to pro bono organizations designated by the recipients.
As you will note, this year’s winners and nominees worked on a variety of matters ranging from immigration work and first amendment defense to pandemic response efforts and critically important racial justice work. Ultimately, we selected two winners in each category. In the team category we chose to honor the work of two teams of lawyers who rose to meet the challenges thrown at various communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic – the small business community and the immigrant community. We similarly chose to honor two individual attorneys this year. One devoted stood up and fought zealously to defend first amendment rights – and won, while the other worked tirelessly to further the firm’s work on police reform and accountability.