News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Sherrilyn Ifill among winners of this award; app automates expungement

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Sherrilyn Ifill

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill. Photo by Kathy Anderson.

Sherrilyn Ifill among Spirit of Excellence winners

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, is one of five winners of the 2021 Spirit of Excellence Awards, to be presented at the ABA Midyear Meeting in February. The awards by the ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity celebrate lawyers who work to promote racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. Other winners are Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot; University of New Mexico law professor Barbara Creel; Román Hernández, managing partner of Troutman Pepper’s Portland, Oregon, office; and John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC. (ABA press release)

App automates expungement or sealing of records

A web app developed by Legal Aid Chicago and Chapman and Cutler helps automate the process to expunge or seal records of marijuana arrests and convictions in Cook County, Illinois. The expungement process in Illinois can be complicated even for volunteer lawyers. “I think it’s really going to change the number of people who are willing to volunteer in order to meet the need,” said Chapman pro bono counsel Sara Ghadiri in an interview with Law360. (Law360)

At 46 BigLaw firms, new partner classes include at least 50% women

Women made up at least half of new partner classes at 46 BigLaw firms in the past year, according to a report by the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. That’s a slight drop from last year, when 51 law firms had partner classes consisting of at least 50% women. The figures are based on a survey of 137 law firms. (Diversity & Flexibility Alliance press release, Law360)

Former BigLaw partner’s husband sentenced in fraud and drug scheme

The husband of former BigLaw partner Keila Ravelo has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for helping his wife in a fraud scheme and for a plot to transport cocaine. Melvin Feliz, 54, of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, was sentenced Friday. Feliz and Ravelo were accused in a phony invoice scheme that defrauded Hunton & Williams and Willkie Farr & Gallagher. The firms paid $7.8 million to fake companies, prosecutors said. Ravelo was sentenced to five years in prison. (Thomson Reuters Legal, Law360, Department of Justice press release)

Updated on Nov. 10 to clarify a reference to the ABA Midyear Meeting.

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