A History of Service

Blank Rome’s tradition of pro bono service dates back to Edwin P. Rome, one of the Firm’s founding partners. Mr. Rome served as court-appointed counsel for Aaron “Treetop” Turner, an African-American laborer accused of beating to death a factory employee, over the course of 11 years and through five separate trials, during which Mr. Turner was convicted of murder five times and sentenced to die four times.

In the concurring opinion to the decision that freed Mr. Turner following the fifth trial, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Musmanno wrote, “I cannot help but express a renewed and continuing admiration for lawyers” who carry on despite seeming failure “in the search for the priceless jewel of truth.”

The Edwin P. Rome Pro Bono Achievement Award was created in 2004 to recognize outstanding performance and a demonstrated commitment to pro bono legal service each year.

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