2018 Annual Dinner Highlights

On November 8, 2018, more than 1,100 friends and supporters from all corners of the legal community gathered at the Equal Justice Works Annual Dinner to join us as we honored our Equal Justice Works Fellows and presented the Scales of Justice Award to former Board member, the Honorable Sven Erik Holmes, vice chairman and chief legal officer at KPMG LLP.

The event, which was held at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C., raised more than $3 million to support our efforts to mobilize passionate public service leaders.

CNN political analyst David Gregory served as emcee for the evening, and Board chair Randal S. Milch kicked off the dinner by welcoming the Equal Justice Works Disaster Recovery Legal Corps Fellows to the stage to thank them for their incredible work in helping to rebuild communities following the devastating 2017 Hurricanes.

Equal Justice Works Fellow alumnae Mai Nguyen, Renée Schomp, and Julia R. Wilson shared with attendees the lasting impact of their service at OneJustice, where they work to bring life-changing legal services to rural communities across California.

One of the most memorable moments of the night occurred when Text To Give Fellow Nathan Goncalves was joined onstage by his young son, Noah, who stood by as Nathan shared his personal story. A veteran who experienced PTSD firsthand, Nathan explained how he took control of his rehabilitation, becoming a lawyer so that he could help other veterans in Los Angeles with family law services, one of the most requested—and largely unmet—needs for veterans. In response, attendees took collective action and raised more than $70,000 to support one more Equal Justice Works Fellow in the field.

Teacher turned lawyer—turned Equal Justice Works Fellow—Alexis Piazza was introduced in a heartwarming speech by his client, Rhakiah Henderson. Alexis talked about drawing on his experience as a teacher to help homeless youth and children advocate for their educational rights.

Our executive director, David Stern, emphasized the strength of the partnerships in the public interest law community and thanked everyone in attendance for their commitment to ensuring equal justice for all. He also spoke about the passion of Equal Justice Works Fellows and how they are effecting real change in our justice system, in our communities, and across our nation.

The evening concluded with John Veihmeyer, retired global chairman of KPMG, presenting the 2018 Scales of Justice Award to the Honorable Sven Erik Holmes. In his acceptance speech, Judge Holmes reflected on the evening’s conversations and reminded the legal community to continue its work to instill confidence and support in our system of justice, especially during times of public division and acrimony.

If the public does not have confidence in our legal system, it cannot meet its responsibility to deliver justice—fairly and impartially, and for everyone.

The Honorable Sven Erik Holmes /
2018 Scales of Justice Honoree

The Equal Justice Works Annual Dinner celebrated leaders from all sectors of the legal profession who are helping to fulfill our nation’s promise of equal justice for all. Thank you to our supporters, and a special thanks to the Champion of Justice Sponsors Greenberg Traurig, LLP, KPMG LLP, The Sidley Austin Foundation, and Williams & Connolly LLP for their incredible generosity.

If you were unable to attend the dinner but would like to make a contribution, please click here to support our work.

We look forward to seeing you at the next year’s dinner. Stay tuned for more information!