John R. Wester Receives Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award



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Oct. 27, 2016

Robinson Bradshaw attorney John R. Wester received the 2016 Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award. Presented by Council for Children’s Rights, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Legal Aid of North Carolina, the award recognizes Wester’s decades of pro bono service to both Charlotte and North Carolina.

Most notably, Wester served as lead counsel in Hyatt v. Shalala, a class action for North Carolina’s disabled citizens. In partnership with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Wester and Robinson Bradshaw prosecuted the case through its 20-year run in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, approximately 150,000 North Carolinians won new disability hearings under new standards, and the Social Security Administration revised a national regulation on disability. After their victory, Wester and his partners donated almost $500,000 in court-awarded fees to the Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation.

In partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina, Wester and Robinson Bradshaw attorneys Thomas P. Holderness and Erik R. Zimmerman represented a public housing tenant before the North Carolina Supreme Court earlier this year. Wester and the team convinced the court to deny eviction of the tenant when the housing authority had ignored all mitigating circumstances in exercising its discretion. Housing attorneys across the nation have lauded this decision as the best in this context.

“We are proud of John and his commitment to pro bono service,” said Managing Partner Allen Robertson. “His relentless dedication to standing up for those without a voice sets an outstanding example for us all.”

Wester has spent his entire career with Robinson Bradshaw, concentrating his practice in the trials and appeals of complex business litigation, including numerous class actions. He was president of the North Carolina Bar Association in 2009-10 and is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. Wester earned his law degree with high honors from Duke University, and he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a John Motley Morehead Scholar.

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