SOURCE: Cooley Godward Kronish LLP

January 11, 2008 09:00 ET

Cooley and the Genocide Intervention Network Mark Passage of Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act

PALO ALTO, CA--(Marketwire - January 11, 2008) - Cooley Godward Kronish and its client the Genocide Intervention Network ("GI Net") achieved a major milestone last week when President Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007 ("SADA"). The legislation authorizes state and local governments to divest from companies that support the Khartoum government at the expense of marginalized populations in Sudan and prohibits federal contracts with those companies. Cooley's pro bono team, working closely with GI Net's Sudan Divestment Task Force, has been led by Colorado-based partner Paul Schwartz.

"This is the culmination of a year of successes with respect to targeted divestment legislation," said Schwartz, who is also chair of the Cooley's firmwide Pro Bono Committee. "Having helped co-author Task Force's model legislation and defend its constitutionality throughout the country, seeing the model adopted in more than a dozen states over this past year and now having the President sign SADA into law is extremely gratifying."

In a November 2007 letter to Vice President Dick Cheney, Schwartz defended the constitutionality of the proposed federal divestiture bill, refuting arguments put forth by the Justice Department that the bill was unconstitutional. The letter was quoted by U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd on the Senate floor during his defense of the bill. The bill was then unanimously passed by the Senate, and later by the U.S. House of Representatives, before being signed into law by President Bush on Dec. 31.

Since late 2006, Cooley has worked closely with the Task Force to promote the model legislation the Firm helped co-author through state legislatures. In April 2007, Schwartz testified twice before a committee of the Texas House of Representatives, following which the Texas legislature passed targeted divestment legislation for that state. The Task Force's model state statute for targeted divestment has now been adopted by more than a dozen states including Texas, Massachusetts and Colorado.

"We are indebted to Paul and the other attorneys at Cooley for the time, effort and expertise they have contributed to our team," said Adam Sterling, Director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force. "Thanks to their efforts, the Task Force now coordinates and oversees the largest focused corporate responsibility program since the South Africa Apartheid era and the signing of this bill proves our continued success."

According to the Task Force, since 2005, 22 states and more than 50 universities have adopted Sudan divestment policies. The movement has rapidly spread through Europe: in July the European Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution calling on European Union members to support targeted Sudan divestment efforts. Nine major foreign companies -- CHC Helicopter, ABB, Siemens, Rolls Royce, ICSA of India, Schlumberger, La Mancha Resources, Weatherford International, and Weir Group -- have ceased problematic operations in Sudan or significantly changed their behavior in the country since the proliferation of the Sudan divestment movement.

Cooley's pro bono practice is an integral part of the Firm. Attorneys firmwide spend thousands of hours annually litigating impact cases, staffing community clinics, assisting micro-entrepreneurs, advising not-for-profit corporations and handling asylum, guardianship and domestic violence matters on a pro bono basis.

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