Jerry Roth and Nick Fram on Investigating Police Bias

Munger, Tolles & Olson attorneys Jerry Roth and Nicholas D. Fram were profiled by the Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review on April 14, 2017 for their role as counsel to the San Francisco Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement, which investigated potential systemic bias in the San Francisco Police Department.

The article features a discussion with Mr. Roth, a Harvard Law School alum, and Mr. Fram about their pro bono involvement in the year-long investigation, as well as the Panel’s findings and recommendations and the response from the SFPD. The attorneys also addressed the rare and distinct circumstance that required an investigation of a government agency by external parties.

“We were the only investigation conducted on whether or not the text messages reflected a broader institutional issue in the SFPD, until the Justice Department, which came later…This was a very important issue that called for an investigation with the kind of resources that we devoted to it,” said Mr. Roth, who served as General Counsel of the Blue Ribbon Panel.

The attorneys worked alongside three retired judges and members of seven other law firms on the investigation, which concluded the SFPD had important institutional weaknesses that can allow for bias to go unchecked. In its July 2016 report, the Panel also made more than 80 recommendations to the SFPD.

Mr. Roth is a trial lawyer specializing in business and international litigation and arbitration, as well as white collar criminal defense and investigations.

Mr. Fram is a litigator whose practice focuses on advising technology and financial services companies with challenges involving internal investigations, internet law and complex commercial litigation.