On My Side 2020 Honoree
Litigation Team of the Year
Pro Bono Litigation Team for Ms. Lisa Ricchio
The Litigation Team of the Year Award honors a litigation team that has shown exceptional skill in securing justice for survivors of sex trafficking and forced labor. The Human Trafficking Legal Center recognizes the WilmerHale pro bono team representing Ms. Lisa Ricchio for their litigation success in a precedent-setting sex and labor trafficking case. The team filed a civil case against a motel and its owners and managers, alleging that the defendants "knowingly benefited" from the trafficking. The case, referred by the Human Trafficking Legal Center and brought in federal court in Massachusetts, was originally dismissed. The WilmerHale team appealed to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Souter, sitting by designation, reversed the dismissal and reinstated the case. Justice Souter's decision set an important precedent, establishing that sexual servitude is actionable as involuntary servitude under federal law. The case ended after Ms. Ricchio's courageous testimony before a jury in federal district court.
Accepting the award on behalf of the WilmerHale team
Cindy Vreeland is a partner in the Litigation/Controversy Department, and a member of the firm's Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group.
Ms. Vreeland focuses her practice on patent and trade secret litigation. She has represented clients in a variety of jurisdictions across the country, and has successfully tried cases in federal district courts and the US International Trade Commission in technologies ranging from wireless devices, semiconductor chips and computer storage, to medical devices, pharmaceuticals and superconducting materials. Ms. Vreeland was one of two IP litigators selected by Law360 for its inaugural list of Top Female Trial Attorneys. She has also been recognized by the Best Lawyers in America, Managing IP, IAM Patent 1000 and Boston Magazine for her work in the area of intellectual property litigation.
Felicia Ellsworth is a first-chair trial lawyer and experienced appellate advocate who combines her significant trial experience with her recognized appellate skill to represent clients at all stages of litigation. Ms. Ellsworth’s practice focuses on high-stakes disputes in both state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. She is a member of the American Law Institute, which is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to improve the law, and is routinely recognized as a leading trial and appellate and litigator in industry publications, including Law360, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and The American Lawyer, which named her “Litigator of the Week” in October 2019.
As co-chair of the firm's Pro Bono and Community Service Committee, Ms. Ellsworth maintains a robust pro bono practice, including representing clients in constitutional cases, criminal appeals, immigration proceedings and civil rights actions.