Meet 12 ABA members who inspired us in 2022
In this year’s Members Who Inspire series, the ABA Journal featured 12 extraordinary ABA members who go to great lengths to embolden their clients, colleagues and members of the communities around them. Their work includes helping immigrants with tax issues, advocating for individuals living with HIV/AIDS and addressing racial injustice and inequality.
Darryl Wilson used cooking as a form of therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, he worked in-house at Tyson Foods in Springdale, Arkansas, and launched his own Instagram account to post photos of his creative dishes. He also taught two virtual cooking classes to members of the ABA Young Lawyers Division.
Matt Simpson, an associate in Sidley Austin’s Washington, D.C., office who was born with a degenerative eye disorder, began playing goalball—a sport developed in 1946 to help rehabilitate World War II veterans—when he was 10. He played on the U.S. men’s national team that won the silver medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro and represented the United States again at the delayed 2020 Games in Tokyo last summer.
Luz Arévalo grew up in Colombia and now helps other immigrants and marginalized community members sort through issues with their taxes. As director of the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services, she works with clients who have tax controversies or need to obtain tax credits. She also advocates to change state laws to bring greater benefits to her clients.
Emily Feinstein, a partner in Quarles & Brady’s Madison, Wisconsin, office, became involved in two significant pro bono cases that reached the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In one, she helped represent the father of a student who was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and in the other, she represents LGBTQ student groups from the Madison Metropolitan School District. She also serves her community as a youth hockey coach.
Scott Schoettes has advocated for individuals living with HIV/AIDS since 2007, when he became a staff attorney with Lambda Legal’s HIV Project. “I have a personal stake in [the work] as a person living with HIV,” says Schoettes, who continued these efforts at his own firm in Chicago. “But honestly, I live a very privileged life and have the luxury of being out about my HIV status.”
Carrie Cohen, a partner at Morrison & Foerster in New York City, joined a group of other alumnae from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in honoring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by creating a scholarship program for women who want to become lawyers. She has also worked to improve opportunities for hundreds of female lawyers in other countries.
G. Helen Whitener is the first Black woman and fourth immigrant-born justice to sit on the Washington Supreme Court. She is the first Black LGBT judge in Washington and identifies as an individual with a disability. “It’s a lived experience that no one else has,” says Whitener, who was appointed in 2020. “It’s like I tell some of my privileged colleagues: ‘Yes, we have a privileged position, all of us do, but mine ends when I take the robe off.’”
Succession Planning: In retirement, Janet Goelz Hoffman supports nonprofits through pro bono and mentoring
Janet Goelz Hoffman set out to help those who help others, building a sizable client base of nonprofit organizations before retiring as a partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman in Chicago. She still prioritizes the needs of nonprofits as a senior counsel and pro bono counsel at the firm, where she helps clients with transactional pro bono matters and mentors young attorneys who want to pursue pro bono work.
Roula Allouch co-chairs the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice Bullyproof Committee and helped put forward a resolution related to cyberstalking and cyberbullying that the House of Delegates adopted in August. Allouch, of counsel at Graydon Head & Ritchey in Cincinnati, also works to effect change as chair of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ national board of directors.
Lauren Champaign, senior counsel in Foley & Lardner’s Washington, D.C., office, helped propose to her firm a three-part action plan for addressing racial injustice and inequality. Her team suggested adjustments the firm could make internally but also outlined ways attorneys and staff could engage in more pro bono and charitable work to help Black and brown communities.
Deborah Ferguson opened her own firm in Boise, Idaho, to focus on civil rights. In one prominent case, she helped protect the right of Idahoans to propose and enact laws independent of the state legislature. In others, she helped challenge Idaho’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and uphold the right of an incarcerated transgender woman to receive gender confirmation surgery.
Randall Kinnard received the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Bronze Star Medal for valor, Purple Heart and Air Medal for 28 air assaults during the Vietnam War. Then he became a lawyer. “I said, ‘OK, I want to get out of the Army, but where can I transfer those combat skills that I had? What good could I do somebody?’” says Kinnard, the founder of Kinnard Law in Nashville, Tennessee.
Members Who Inspire is an ABA Journal series profiling exceptional ABA members. If you know members who do unique and important work, you can nominate them for this series by emailing [email protected]
ABAJournal.com: “Meet 12 ABA members who inspired us in 2021”
ABAJournal.com: “Meet 14 ABA members who inspired us in 2020”