The 2023 Maureen Rowley Award was presented to Leigh Skipper, a partner in the Trial Group at Duane Morris LLP, where he practices in the White Collar, Investigations and Regulatory areas. Leigh is the former Chief Federal Defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He succeeded Maureen Rowley in that role in 2009 and led one of the largest and most respected federal defender offices in the country until 2022. After graduating from law school, Leigh spent his career working in criminal defense at the Federal Defender and the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Leigh has served as the president of the Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia and the National Association of Federal Defenders and as the chairman of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Judicial Selection and Retention Committee. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and chairs the Public Defender Committee.
Leigh has devoted his career to fighting for all defendants, particularly those who don’t have access to private counsel, and is committed to training the next generation of lawyers. He has taught classes on sentencing and federal criminal law at Drexel University Kline School of Law as an adjunct professor since 2014. Leigh joined the Board of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project in 2022 and is a valuable member of our policy and litigation committee.
Throughout her career, Maureen Rowley fought tirelessly to ensure that all people in the criminal legal system, regardless of income, have the opportunity to have their voices heard. The presentation of this award to Leigh in her name is particularly meaningful because she hired Leigh and they worked closely together for many years. Leigh’s own commitment to the pursuit of justice is undoubtedly worthy of this honor.
Learn more about the Philadelphia Annual Celebration on May 16th, where this award was presented: https://painnocence.org/Philadelphia-Celebration-2023