On Thursday, October 27, the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) hosted its annual fundraiser in Nashville. During the event, TIP honored Bass, Berry & Sims and Pro Bono Member David Esquivel with the “Rule of Law Award.” This award is bestowed to organizations and individuals in recognition of their dedicated commitment to defending the innocent and courageous work to uphold the Rule of Law. The inaugural 2021 recipient was Judge Gil Merritt.

Since TIP’s founding in 2019, David has led the firm’s involvement with the organization, helping to secure thousands of hours of pro bono service. Through the firm’s Pro Bono Fellow program – which allows attorneys to be paid their full compensation and benefits while working for up to six months full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community – two attorneys have worked at TIP to focus on wrongful conviction cases and helped move clients’ cases forward in a way that otherwise might not have occurred. In addition, numerous Bass, Berry & Sims attorneys, law clerks, and staff across all offices have given time, encouragement, and support to TIP. According to TIP, these efforts have provided meaningful representation to clients on nearly half of TIP’s caseload.

About the Tennessee Innocence Project

Launched in February 2019, as the first full-time innocence organization in the state, the Tennessee Innocence Project (TIP) represents men and women making claims of actual innocence. TIP has three primary areas of focus: (1) Investigating and litigating actual innocence claims for those in Tennessee prisons to obtain exonerations; (2) Training law students and attorneys about how to litigate these cases and how to prevent future wrongful convictions; and (3) Effectuating changes that facilitate the discovery of wrongful convictions and remedies to the wrongfully convicted. More information can be found here.