In the Arbery case, a Reed Smith team led by partner Rizwan Qureshi is representing Mr. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper, working as co-counsel with the Philadelphia-based law firm McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt, including nationally recognized civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Southern District of Georgia and names the three men accused of killing Mr. Arbery, as well as those involved in the subsequent investigation.
Mr. Qureshi and the Reed Smith team are also co-counsel with McEldrew Young in suing those who caused the unjust death of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who was shot to death by a police officer while she was playing video games with her nephew inside her home in Fort Worth, Texas.
Mr. Qureshi also leads a pro bono effort to commute unfair prison sentences and worked to commute the sentence of Douglas Hines, an African American man who had been unjustly sent to prison for a parole violation.
The civil rights litigation ties directly into Reed Smith’s Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP). A core objective of REAP is to advance legal efforts and community engagement impacting Black communities. Through REAP, the firm is seeking to improve fairness and wellbeing for Black people working at the firm and to spur client engagement on pro bono collaborations, business partnerships and other endeavors.
Among its REAP-related pro bono matters, Reed Smith has teamed up with groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund to fight against racial discrimination in evictions, challenge potentially racially motivated death sentences, lobby for fairness in sentencing, and advance national bail reform.