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Breaking Through Barriers
Join us as we celebrate the fight for justice! On October 28, 2021, we will honor two persons who exemplify excellence in their pursuit of criminal and social justice reform. Christina Swarns, Executive Director, Innocence Project, is this year's recipient of the Champion of the Community Award. Sean Hecker, Partner Kaplan, Hecker, & Fink LLP, is this year's recipient of the Ian Yankwitt Equalizer Award.

Oct 28, 2021 07:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Sean Hecker
Partner @Kaplan, Hecker, & Fink LLP
Sean is nationally recognized as a go-to lawyer for corruption and other white-collar criminal defense matters. He was recently named the 2020 White-Collar Crime/Investigations/Enforcement Attorney of the Year by Benchmark Litigation, which has also recognized him as among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the country. He was also recently inducted as a fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of North America’s premier legal associations. Chambers USA and Chambers Global have both ranked Sean as one of the leading trial lawyers in the country. Sean is also ranked by Chambers as “Band 1” among white-collar defense lawyers in New York, and is also nationally ranked by Chambers for his work on FCPA matters. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1997. He received a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in 1994. Sean graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College in 1992.
Christina Swarns
Executive Director @Innocence Project
Christina previously served as the President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender, Inc. (OAD), one of New York City’s oldest institutional providers of indigent appellate defense representation; as the Litigation Director for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF); as a Supervising Assistant Federal Defender in the Capital Habeas Corpus Unit of the Philadelphia Community Defender Office; and as a Staff Attorney for the Legal Aid Society's Criminal Defense Division in New York. She argued, and won, Buck v. Davis, a challenge to the introduction of explicitly racially biased evidence in a Texas death penalty case, in the United States Supreme Court. She was the only Black woman to argue in the 2016 Supreme Court Term and is one of the few Black women to have argued before the nation’s highest court. Christina earned a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from Howard University.
Lisa Ling and Paul Song
Event Hosts
Lisa Ling, the journalist and host of the documentary series This Is Life on CNN, is married to husband Paul Song. Song is an oncologist and serves as the chief medical officer of a biotech company that specializes in developing cancer therapies. Song and Ling tied the knot in 2007 and have two children.