On Tuesday, April 29, Legal Aid will be honoring two individuals with its highest honor – the Servant of Justice Award. Yesterday, we wrote about one of the honorees, Barbara McDowell, whom we will be honoring posthumously. Today, we will focus on the other Servant of Justice Honoree, Donald P. Salzman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Don’s award will be presented by his Skadden colleague, Michele Roberts.
Donald P. Salzman serves as Pro Bono Counsel at the Washington, D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he coordinates the pro bono efforts of nearly three hundred attorneys in Skadden’s D.C. office, directly supervises many Skadden associates on their pro bono work, and spends a substantial amount of time representing indigent clients on civil and criminal cases in D.C. and other jurisdictions.
A graduate of Allegheny College and the George Washington University National Law Center, Don joined the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender (OPD) two years after graduating from law school. During his nearly 15 years at OPD, Don tried more than sixty-five felony jury trials and countless misdemeanor cases, and also launched an innovative pro bono collaboration with major D.C. law firms to train lawyers to represent OPD clients in jury trials. He was also recognized for his work, receiving the Allen Murrell award as the outstanding Maryland public defender. In addition, Don has served as a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center in its Criminal Justice Clinic, and has helped train many Legal Aid and other D.C. legal services lawyers over the years in trial and advocacy skills.
Since joining Skadden, Don has emerged as a leader in both civil and criminal access-to-justice issues in the District. Don has played a critical role in many collaborations with Legal Aid, including Skadden’s loaned associate program—in which Skadden lawyers spend six months at Legal Aid working full-time representing Legal Aid clients on housing law cases—as well as Skadden's Pro Bono Children & Families Impact Project—a unique partnership between Skadden, D.C.-based legal services groups, and the in-house corporate legal departments of Cisco Systems, Inc., LivingSocial, and Northrop Grumman Corp., helping survivors of domestic violence achieve justice in the D.C. Courts.
Don is heavily involved in community service. He is Treasurer and Past President of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and a former Member of the Washington Council of Lawyers.
As someone who has made the struggle for equal justice part of his personal and professional identity through his commitment to and concern for the individuals, communities, and causes for which he has fought, Don is truly deserving of the Servant of Justice Award this year.