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Schnader Receives ABA Exceptional Service Award for Death Penalty Representation

On September 3, 2008 by Schnader in News

September 3, 2008 – Philadelphia, PA: Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is honored to be one of two firms to receive a 2008 American Bar Association Exceptional Service Award for Death Penalty Representation. The award – which is given annually to law firms nominated by their colleagues and peers for exceptional service to and representation of prisoners on death row – was publicly recognized at an event held at the Hemlsley Park Lane Hotel in New York City on September 9, 2008.

“We are extraordinarily proud and honored to have been nominated by our peers and to have been chosen by the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project for this award,” said Chairman Ralph Wellington. “Schnader has a long and recognized history of pro bono and public service, and a notable record in representing those most in need of a voice – individuals who are on death row – not necessarily for recognition, but because of a firm-wide belief in access to justice for all. We would like to thank the ABA’s Death Penalty Representation Project and all of our colleagues and peers who nominated us for this wonderful honor.”

From the time Schnader Harrison was founded in 1935 to today, one of the most distinguishing features of the firm has been the commitment to pro bono and public service. Pro bono service is an integral part of the firm’s heritage, and is reflected today in landmark litigation cases, in our leadership roles throughout the firm’s resident communities, in the media, in the experiences that our associates have had, and in the awards and recognition that our lawyers have received, on both a local and national level. Schnader allocates tremendous resources to its pro bono program, and in particular to work on behalf of those facing or serving death sentences. Combined, approximately 100 Schnader lawyers, paralegals, and other personnel have spent over 15,000 hours through the years on death penalty matters. Beyond their direct involvement in death penalty litigation, the Schnader firm is enthusiastically involved in lecturing and advocating for reforms in the death penalty system. Schnader has continuously been in involved in capital pro bono representation since at least 1988, and has handled more pro bono Pennsylvania cases than any other firm in the country. In its direct representation cases, Schnader has represented numerous capital defendants at the trial, appellate, state post-conviction, and federal habeas corpus stages of the criminal process. They leave no stone unturned in their vigorous representation of their capital clients.

Schnader’s thirteen year representation of one client, Florencio Rolan, exemplifies the firm’s commitment. Schnader first entered Mr. Rolan’s case by successfully obtaining a last-minute stay of execution. After extensive post-conviction proceedings before the Pennsylvania state courts, Schnader secured a new sentencing trial. Schnader represented Mr. Rolan at the sentencing trial, and succeeded in getting Mr. Rolan’s death sentence vacated. Thereafter, Schnader initiated successful federal habeas proceedings, where Mr. Rolan was awarded a new trial on the merits. They later preserved that victory in the Third Circuit. Schnader then represented Mr. Rolan at trial in hopes of winning Mr. Rolan his freedom. When that did not occur, they took the case on appeal, where it remains today.

Schnader brings the same level of commitment, passion, and expertise to each of their death penalty cases. Whether directly representing death row inmates, submitting amicus briefs in death penalty cases, or advocating for reform in the death penalty system, Schnader has been an active voice on behalf of capital defendants in Pennsylvania and across the country.


Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is a law firm of 200 attorneys with offices in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, California, Washington, DC, New Jersey and Delaware. Schnader serves local, national and international clients ranging from large corporations to start-ups and entrepreneurs to individual clients in more than 40 areas of the law. In addition to the firm’s traditional strengths in complex litigation, commercial transactions, wealth management, and family law, the firm has significant experience and depth in intellectual property, international commerce and labor laws, financial services, construction law, real estate development, corporate governance, appellate services, technology-based companies, media and communications, government relations and regulatory affairs, aviation issues, business reorganization, and securities and shareholder litigation. For more information visit or contact Caroline Brobeil Nassan, Public Relations Manager for the firm.


CONTACT: Caroline Brobeil Nassan

Public Relations Manager

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP


Category: News