She’s fighting for the people!
Lawyer Tiffany Wright was named one of the nation’s best advocates under 40 by the National Bar Association (NBA), Orrick reports.
Wright is an appellate lawyer who took an interest in law at a young age after the tragic murder of her father when she was just 7-years-old.
“I was devastated, afraid, angry, and confused. The murder was barely investigated, and the first person who helped in any way was a lawyer who was appointed as guardian of a trust to manage my father’s pension and life insurance. I wasn’t quite sure what a lawyer was at 7, but I knew that an attorney had helped me when no one else did—and I wanted to do the same for others,” Wright told Because Of Them We Can.
Years later, she would graduate from Georgetown Law, getting her start working with private firms, using pro bono cases as a way to use her law expertise to assist with social justice issues. She went on to become an associate at Orrick, Herrington, & Sutcliffe LLP. Last year, the firm agreed to allow Wright to devote all of her time to serving as head of Howard School of Law’s Human and Civil Rights Clinic. There, she has assisted in several high-profile pro bono cases advancing social justice causes.
During the pandemic, she represented Trent Taylor, the case advancing to the Supreme Court. Mr. Taylor’s case, a matter of being forced to live in deplorable conditions inside of a prison for several days, addressed the issue of qualified immunity. This law protects enforcement officers from civil liability when they violate constitutional rights. With the help of Wright, an Orrick team, and an organization named “Rights Behind Bars,” the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. It reversed granting of qualified immunity to the prison guards who violated Mr. Taylor, one of the few times in history that the Supreme Court has ruled against law enforcement in this way.
As a result of her work, the National Bar Association named Wright as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 - Nation’s Best Advocates of the Year” for her appellate work in social justice. The award acknowledges those “who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, including in innovation, vision, leadership and legal and community involvement.”
“It is extremely humbling. I have so much respect for the National Bar Association, and it is so moving to be awarded for my work during 2020—when I was working full-time from home with a toddler, a teen, and no childcare...It feels great to be recognized for this work; I am grateful to my clients like Trent Taylor for trusting me to advocate on their behalf,” Wright said of the honor.
Wright hopes that other women of color pursue careers in appellate law, noting that it is one of the least diverse sectors. She encourages those interested in developing relationships with mentors and peers, confronting and rejecting negative messaging immediately, and striving for excellence in everything they do.
Congratulations, Tiffany! Because of you, we can!
Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Wright