Our Leadership

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Advisory Board Member

Ken Berry is the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Pro Bono Administrator in Winston and Strawn’s Chicago office. Prior to his current role, Mr. Berry was a Senior Litigation Paralegal for over 18 years.

Ken is responsible for enhancing and furthering the firm’s CSR strategy globally and in all Winston & Strawn domestic offices, by researching and developing relationships with non-profit organizations. He seeks to establish partnerships that support the Winston and Strawn CEASE Initiative, along with program pillars of Access to Justice, Education, Communities and Culture, and Sustainability.

Mr. Berry is actively involved in the administration of the firm’s pro bono program. He conducts the initial review, assessment, and investigation into requests for pro bono assistance from members of the community, including inmates and those charged with criminal offenses.

Ken is also responsible for performing a broad range of case management and resource development duties in support of the firm’s world-wide pro bono practice. He works closely with the firm’s pro bono department to manage the national pro bono program. He specifically assists with the implementation and expansion of the Winston & Strawn CEASE Initiative. Ken works with partners, associates, paralegals, and staff in facilitating the effective administration of the pro bono program.

Mr. Berry was acquitted in 2000 after spending over eight years in prison due to a wrongful conviction. During that time, he taught GED classes, continued his own education, studied the law, and assisted other inmates in legal matters. With the pro bono assistance of Winston & Strawn, Mr. Berry’s conviction was reversed, and he was granted a new trial by the United States District Court in 1999, on the grounds that his trial attorney had provided constitutionally deficient representation. He subsequently proved his innocence at a re-trial before the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Since his exoneration, Mr. Berry has participated in numerous public interest and pro bono matters. He has also been involved in non-profit activities that address prison issues and civil rights violations. In one such matter, he helped a Cook County Jail inmate obtain an award of $175,000 in compensatory damages and nearly $1 million in punitive damages, after guards failed to protect the inmate from violence by other inmates. Mr. Berry was also instrumental in helping secure the release of another wrongfully convicted prisoner in 2006.

On October 1, 2009, Mr. Berry was appointed to the Illinois Department of Corrections, Adult Advisory Board by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. This board advises the Department of Corrections director on policy matters and programs for adults confined in state correctional institutions, and for the care and supervision of those released on parole.

In 2010, Mr. Berry was a guest on WVON radio’s “A Sip of Inspiration.” He also was a guest speaker at the post-show discussion following a performance of The Island, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company’s main stage show, based upon a prison in which Nelson Mandela was confined. Paralegal Today magazine also featured Mr. Berry in its spotlight article in September 2010. In addition, Mr. Berry has
become a regular participant in the Cook County Sheriff’s New Path Speaker’s Series, attempting to have a positive impact on the lives of those who are incarcerated.

Under the direction of the Firm’s Pro Bono Counsel, Mr. Berry has successfully argued for the parole of seven long term prisons in front of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, and he advocates for safer communities by the effective use of prison time to increase education and vocational skills.

In 2017, Mr. Berry began assisting the Firm, in partnership with St. Sabina, with the Strong Futures Project, that helps young men overcome criminal history barriers and gain employment. He was also instrumental in helping to get charges dropped against a young man who had been misidentified as the assailant in an armed robbery, preventing a wrongful conviction and a minimum prison sentence of 21 years.

Community Activities
Mr. Berry has been a youth volunteer, basketball coach and mentor with Junior Achievement, the Dodge Academy on Chicago’s West Side, and at Crestwood Recreation Center. He has served as a guest speaker with various Illinois colleges, churches and community organizations. Mr. Berry serves on the board for Purpose Over Pain and the Terrell Bosley Anti-Violence Association, groups that address the senseless violence that plagues various communities in Chicago. He also sits on the board for the John Howard Association, which has provided critical public oversight of the state’s prisons, jails, and juvenile correctional facilities for more than a century. Mr. Berry is also a program developer with the Positive Anti-Crime Thrust, PACT. In 2014, Mr. Berry agreed to serve as President of the Criminal Justice Advisory Board for Taylor Business Institute.

Honors and Awards
Mr. Berry was named “Most Valuable Paralegal” by the Center for Disability and Elder Law for providing exemplary services in 2002. He received the United States District Court Distinguished Public Service Award in 2003, and received Winston & Strawn’s “Commitment to Service Award” in 2002—2004 and in 2006. ABC 7 News Chicago profiled Mr. Berry in its “Someone You Should Know” segment in 2003, and he has been the subject of various other media articles. Mr. Berry was also the 2007 recipient of the Liberty Bell Award. This award recognizes a member of the community who is not an attorney and who has rendered service that strengthens the effectiveness of the American system of freedom under law. Recently, Ken has been recognized by the Terrell Bosley Anti-Violence
Association, the Monarch Awards Foundation, the Paul Simon Chicago Job Corps Center, Horizons for Youth, and other community-based organizations.

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