Law360 Spotlights Munger Tolles’ Pro Bono Defense of Ferguson Protesters

Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP’s successful efforts to protect the rights of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri were recognized in a Law360 Pro Bono Spotlight published Dec. 12, 2014.

The feature described the firm’s successful argument against police enforcement of the “five-second rule,” so named because it barred individuals from standing still for more than five seconds on public sidewalks. It also highlighted the vital role that younger attorneys played in the case, illuminating Munger Tolles’ unique egalitarian culture.

Concerned with law enforcement’s response to protests in Ferguson after a police shooting of an unarmed teenager ignited civil unrest, Munger Tolles associate Thomas Paul Clancy, with partner Grant A. Davis-Denny, reached out to the ACLU of Missouri to offer assistance in the situation. When the court denied a request for a temporary restraining order barring the enforcement of the “five-second rule,” the ACLU asked the Munger Tolles team to serve as co-counsel.

Along with fellow associates Victoria A. Degtyareva, Thane Rehn and Kenneth M. Trujillo-Jamison, Mr. Clancy called upon the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause to successfully obtain a preliminary injunction against the rule on Oct. 6, 2014.

The legal victory is particularly noteworthy because of the substantial level of leadership assumed by Munger Tolles associates from the case’s origin to its conclusion. Law360 wrote, “[Mr.] Clancy was integral in finding the suit, and a team of associates also played a key role in handling the investigation into members of the local police force in the suit.”

The story also cited Mr. Davis-Denny as saying, “the outcome of the suit was not only a testament to Munger Tolles’ dedication to efficient pro bono work but it also highlights the firm’s passion for allowing its younger attorneys to take on larger projects.”