McGuireWoods Receives Pro Bono Award From Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

October 13, 2023

McGuireWoods received the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) Pro Bono Law Firm Award for serving as co-counsel in a multiplaintiff lawsuit challenging practices by the city of Los Angeles related to the confiscation and disposal of unhoused people’s belongings.

Tanya L. Greene, managing partner of McGuireWoods’ downtown Los Angeles office, accepted the award on behalf of the entire pro bono team during LAFLA’s Access to Justice Gala, held Oct. 10 at the Taglyan Cultural Complex. McGuireWoods shared the honor with Kirkland & Ellis, the UCLA School of Law Human Rights Litigation Clinic, and Los Angeles law firm Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes.

The honorees were recognized for partnering with LAFLA to represent unhoused individuals in a federal lawsuit challenging an ordinance that allowed the city of Los Angeles to seize and destroy their personal belongings without adequate notice and without a warrant. The confiscated items included necessities the plaintiffs needed to survive on the streets and get back on their feet.

In 2020, the plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction in U.S. District Court that stopped the city from enforcing the ordinance. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the injunction in 2021 and the litigation continues.

“Our team serves as a powerful example of the impact folks can have — from wherever they sit within the legal profession — when they collaborate with an organization like LAFLA that is so invested in ongoing and transformational systemic change,” Greene said. “Together, we can work to ensure that every person has equal access to justice regardless of their income or housing status.”

Greene added: “We are all grateful to represent these incredible clients, we are all proud to have a role in this and we are all humbled by the recognition.”

LAFLA is a nonprofit law firm that seeks to achieve equal justice for people living in poverty across Greater Los Angeles. It has five offices in Los Angeles County, along with four self-help legal access centers at area courthouses, and three domestic violence clinics to aid survivors.