National Legal Foundation to Advance Social Justice Launches With $10M Pledge and Collaboration With 5 Leading Law Schools

Its mission is to combine public interest issue expertise and elite academic resources with private sector experience in order to bring a fresh approach to curating and pursuing national trial work advancing social justice and equity. The Foundation brings together five of the leading U.S. law schools, leading trial lawyers from the private sector, and a lineup of star advisors including judges, leading activists and scholars to vet and pursue groundbreaking cases. The Foundation will also serve as an incubator for the next generation of leading trial lawyers in the public sector by sponsoring five promising law school graduates as Hueston Hennigan Fellows for two-year terms.

The Foundation – funded and created by the partners of Hueston Hennigan LLP – will collaborate with Columbia, Northwestern, Stanford, UCLA and Yale law schools to identify pressing legal issues and to mentor and develop a new generation of trial lawyers in the public sector. Representatives from the law schools will participate on the Board of Advisors and work with the Foundation to select an emerging leader from its graduates to serve a fully funded two-year fellowship with the Foundation. (See full list of Advisory Board Members below.)

Advisory Board Member Erica Smock, Dean for Social Justice Initiatives & Public Service Lawyering at Columbia Law School stated, “We are excited to collaborate on this first-in-the-nation initiative. We look forward to SJLF’s meaningful contributions to the broad network of public interest organizations who have been focused on the fight for social justice and equality.”

The Foundation will emphasize trial work and seek to collaborate with other social justice organizations and bar associations to take some of the most difficult and important cases to trial. The Foundation will begin with an executive director, two full-time staff attorneys, five Hueston Hennigan fellows, and substantial pro bono attorney support from trial lawyers at Hueston Hennigan.

“I look forward to working with our advisors, fellows, staff and pro bono attorneys to take to trial some of the most important cases affecting social justice,” said John Hueston, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board.

Crystal Crawford, Executive Director of the Western Center on Law & Poverty, stated, “We look forward to partnering with the Foundation on impactful work to advance economic dignity, housing, health, and basic needs for low-income Californians.”

To address evolving societal crises, the Foundation will rotate its primary areas of attention every two years from among the following initial areas: economic justice, housing/homeless discrimination, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrant justice, Native American discrimination, voting rights and criminal justice reform. The Foundation’s cases and focus areas will be informed by its executive leadership, academic partners, other social justice organizations and fellows.

The Foundation was born of an idea to form a collaboration between an elite private sector trial firm and leading law schools in order to leverage a unique blend of courtroom talent and academic thought leaders. As Hueston Hennigan attorneys reflected on the challenges that have faced the country in the recent past, the firm decided now was the time to launch this effort to achieve equity and equality. To fulfill that vision and to provide substantial mentorship opportunities to emerging social justice leaders in the law, Hueston Hennigan has made an initial pledge of $10 million to fully support the Foundation and to sponsor five Hueston Hennigan Fellows.

Board of Advisors

Hon. David O. Carter
United States District Court, Central District of California

Diane T. Chin
Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest Law
Stanford Law School

Crystal D. Crawford
Executive Director
Western Center on Law & Poverty

Bruce Duthu
Samson Occom Professor of Native American Studies
Dartmouth College

Hon. Alexander C. D. Giza
Los Angeles Superior Court

Laurie L. Levenson
Founding Faculty Director, Project for the Innocent
Professor of Law, David W. Burcham Chair in Ethical Advocacy
Loyola Law School

Doreen Nanibaa McPaul
Attorney General
Navajo Nation Department of Justice

Hon. Carlos Moreno (ret.)
Retired Justice of Supreme Court of California
Former United States Ambassador to Belize
Former Judge of United States District Court, Central District of California

Alan B. Morrison
Co-founder, Public Citizen Litigation Group
Lerner Family Associate
Dean for Public Interest and Public Service
George Washington University Law School

Song Richardson, J.D.
Dean and Chancellor’s Professor of Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law
President-Designate of Colorado College

Brad Sears
Associate Dean of Public Interest Programs
Interim Executive Director, The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Policy
UCLA School of Law

Erica Smock
Dean for Social Justice Initiatives & Public Service Lawyering
Columbia Law School

Cynthia A. Wilson
Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Center for Externships
Director, Public Interest Center
Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Peter Zeughauser
Founder
The Zeughauser Group

Kaba and Chou Repeat as Minority Leaders of Influence

“Mr. Kaba has stacked up an enviable record of trial and appellate victories,” noted editors. Mr. Kaba has prevailed in trials and arbitrations across the nation, including, most recently, a complete win – on all claims – for Amazon in a breach of contract and tortious interference suit brought against it by eBay, and a complete defense verdict for renowned research university California Institute of Technology after a four-week jury trial in a $65 million+ tortious interference and whitstleblower case.

Ms. Chou, “a recognized rising star and accomplished trial lawyer,” represents individuals and companies in high stakes business disputes and criminal matters, including complex commercial litigation, intellectual property matters, SEC enforcement actions, and white collar criminal defense. Ms. Chou served as an assistant United States attorney in the Central District of California in both the Criminal and National Security Divisions and was a deputy chief.

The Los Angeles Business Journal recognized lawyers considered to be particularly impactful on the legal scene while serving as trusted advisors in the LA region, along with maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards, and for contributions to the Los Angeles business and legal community at large.

Click here to view full profile.

Hueston Named “Lawyer of the Decade” and “Go-To Strategist for High-Stakes Trials and Complex Civil Litigation”

The Daily Journal cited Mr. Hueston’s lengthy and remarkable record prevailing in the “most challenging and high-profile cases and investigations.” As one example, the Daily Journal discussed the unique first amendment case when Mr. Hueston defeated the SEC’s contempt action against Elon Musk, in a matter when “many analysts predicted that Musk would be removed as CEO.”

Mr. Hueston is one of only 18 lawyers honored with this extraordinary achievement.

Lawyers of the Decade Profile

Navajo Nation Reaches $10 Million Settlement with Mining Companies

This settlement follows extensive motion practice and discovery during which we defeated defendants’ numerous attempts to dismiss and dilute the Nation’s case.

“The $10 million-dollar settlement is an important step towards obtaining full and fair compensation for the Navajo Nation,” said partner Andrew Walsh. “We remain committed to ensuring that the USEPA and its contractors—Environmental Restoration, LLC and Weston Solutions, Inc.—are held accountable for their reckless conduct in triggering the Gold King Mine disaster.”

The 2015 spill occurred when the USEPA and its contractors burrowed into the Gold King Mine and triggered a preventable blowout, causing millions of gallons of toxic acid mine waste laden with heavy metals to pour into the sacred waters of the Navajo Nation. Though the USEPA has repeatedly and publicly claimed to “take responsibility” for the spill, it has yet to compensate the Navajo Nation or its people for the harms it undisputedly caused, preferring instead to put up every possible legal roadblock to recovery.

Read more at “Navajo Nation, New Mexico Fights EPA’s Doc Bid In Mine MDL,” Law360, June 23, 2020.

The Hueston Hennigan team includes John Hueston, Moez Kaba, Andrew Walsh, Tanner Camp, Lauren McGrory-Johnson, Sara Haji, Joseph Crusham, and Spencer Schmider.

Media coverage includes Law360, NBC News, Associated Press, Daily Journal, and Washington Post to name a few.

Navajo Nation Press Release