The staff and board of the Legal Action Center mourn the untimely death of Edward J. Davis, our longtime, devoted board member and former staff member. Ed first worked for LAC as a law student and later as a staff attorney, litigating test cases to fight discrimination related to addiction, criminal convictions, and HIV/AIDS for nearly five years. Ed was a partner in the New York Office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he was a litigator and counselor for media and technology companies, nonprofit organizations, and clients in finance, consumer products, and the arts. He represented coalitions of news and media organizations in significant First Amendment and copyright cases, and was named by several publications as one of the leading practitioners in First Amendment and intellectual property law.
Ed was elected to LAC’s board of directors in 1998 and chaired our development committee for many years, helping to raise millions of dollars to support LAC’s work to help people rebuild their lives with dignity. He and his colleagues at Davis Wright Tremaine often contributed their pro-bono services to the Legal Action Center and its clients.
In 2014, Ed was honored with the Arthur Liman Public Interest Award for his contributions to the community through his legal work and his dedicated volunteerism. In his acceptance speech, he spoke about his career working as an attorney:
I feel fortunate to work with clients who’ve taught me so much through the years. I’m honored to see so many here tonight. I’m grateful to be able to help in the important work you do, and I’m proud that I get to stand in court as your representative.
I’ve been particularly proud when I’ve represented Legal Action Center clients. It’s not often that the Center’s clients, who may be recovering addicts, or ex-offenders, or people with HIV, feel they’re being carried forward on waves of good wishes.
They’ve come to the Legal Action Center because they’ve been hurt. The discrimination they face is irrational, and it’s cruel. But they’re standing up to protect themselves, and it’s great to be by their side.”
Ed is remembered as someone who lifted the hearts of everyone he met. He was a champion of justice, a passionate advocate for the Center and the people we serve, and the kindest, most humble person to walk the earth. We were honored to work with and be inspired by Ed and will miss him terribly.