Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon

2023 Wiley A. Branton Awardee
Lewis S. Wiener

Lewis S. Wiener has defended clients in litigation across the nation with more than three decades of trial and counseling experience. While at the Department of Justice, Lew was selected by the Attorney General to serve as lead government counsel in the largest class action ever filed against the United States. As a partner at Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP, Lew has taken on a number of civil rights pro bono matters, particularly on behalf of persons with disabilities. In one such class action with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, Lew represented blind and visually impaired federal government contractors who sued the U.S. government alleging that the inaccessibility of SAM.gov, the website utilized by federal contractors, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The resulting consent decree required the government to make changes to ensure the website was accessible to individuals using screen readers and other assistive devices that allow blind/visually impaired individuals to access and read web pages.

In a landmark disability rights case, Lew served as lead counsel representing seven deaf and hearing-impaired individuals who were denied access to sign language interpreter services at Laurel Regional Hospital in Maryland. The Department of Justice adopted the resulting consent decree, which was referred to as the gold standard for defining “effective communication” in a hospital setting. Reflecting on this case, Lew remarked “Working with pro bono clients who are deaf reinforced the best advice I ever received: learn to speak your client’s language; don’t expect them to speak yours.” 

Lew is also actively involved with local and national organizations including serving as a board member of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee since 2004 and as co-chair from 2013 – 2015. He currently serves as the Vice President of the University at Albany Foundation, as two-time president of the United States Court of Federal Claims Bar Association, and as the judicially appointed chair of the Court of Federal Claims Advisory Council (2016 – present). Lew has also served as vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the Norwood School (2011 – 2017), is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Holton-Arms School (2016 – present) and is the President of the Washington Hebrew Congregation Board.