Mayer Brown and best-selling author John Grisham were co-honorees at the Innocence Project's second annual Celebration of Freedom & Justice benefit on May 7, 2008. The Innocence Project assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. For the past five years, Mayer Brown has worked on eight cases with the Innocence Project and monitored Congressional activity on issues important to the project's goals. The firm also co-sponsors the Mayer Brown Eyewitness Fellow to manage a new initiative dedicated to developing and promoting methods for improving eyewitness identification procedures.

At the event, Barry C. Scheck, the project's co-director, cited Mayer Brown for its "significant contribution" to the Innocence Project in helping to organize the Project's activities and in advancing their work through an "extensive partnership in reforming eyewitness identification procedures."

The award was presented by Chris Conover, the first defendant that the firm represented through the Innocence Project. Arrested in 1984, Mr. Conover served 18 years of his multiple life sentences for two murders in drug-related killings. He is now free after DNA tests showed that two hairs that were a critical part of the prosecution's case were not his. Mayer Brown partner Lee Rubin, who was present at the event, was among those who represented Mr. Conover.

The award was presented to Brian Trust, the partner in charge of the firm's New York office.  In his acceptance speech, Brian paid tribute to Mr. Conover and the other exonerees in attendance and thanked them "for allowing us to serve justice on your behalf." In expressing gratitude to the Innocence Project, Brian noted that "[we] are ever so mindful of our continuing obligation to deliver legal services to the needy and the less fortunate."  In addition to Lee Rubin, Mayer Brown attorneys who have worked with the Innocence Project include Partners Joseph De Simone, Matthew Ingber, Bill Knull, Carolyn Osolinik, and Associates Sarah Breslin, Andrew Brisker, Melissa Francis, and Leanne Wilson.