Lewis Murphy Receives 2017 John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award
Miami, Florida, January 10, 2018 — Lewis Murphy, a partner in Stroock’s Litigation Group, has been recognized by Lawyers for Children America (LFCA) as the recipient of the 2017 John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award. Mr. Murphy received this honor in recognition of his outstanding legal advocacy and exceptional service as a pro bono attorney for abused and neglected children and youth. This is the second time he has been honored by LFCA with a John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award, having previously won the award in 2013. He is a member of the LFCA board of directors, and has worked as an LFCA pro bono lawyer for many years.
In recognizing Mr. Murphy, LFCA highlighted several matters where he successfully fought for the rights of abused and neglected children. For over six years, Mr. Murphy represented two brothers placed in foster care after sustaining third degree burns from their stepfather scalding them with boiling water. The boys were diagnosed with mental health disorders, one with limited mental capacity and placed on psychotropic medications. Mr. Murphy, concerned about the high amount of drugs prescribed, successfully worked to ensure the boys were medicated at a lower, more appropriate level. Additionally, he advocated for the boys educationally, helping the younger boy challenge a wrongly awarded failing grade. Mr. Murphy’s help in changing the grade enabled the child to meet high school graduation requirements and obtain his diploma. Mr. Murphy’s significant efforts put a plan in place to guarantee both boys make a successful transition from foster care to adulthood.
In a second matter, Mr. Murphy successfully represented a teen boy in foster care with a history of mental illness, domestic violence and delinquencies. The boy had been diagnosed with conduct disorder, a mental disorder where the individual has limited mental capacity. Mr. Murphy participated in all monthly staffings at the residential treatment center and when the boy was ready for release, pursued weekly, then bi-weekly, hearings to obtain his placement back in Miami. Mr. Murphy then successfully drafted a motion to compel the child’s school enrollment following a rejected school placement and a lack of schooling for nearly two months. He has since met regularly with the boy’s teachers, and attended all of the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) staffings to advocate for needed services for the child. He successfully advocated for the boy not be charged as an adult in a latter delinquency.
In a third matter, Mr. Murphy represented the custodian of a baby girl that she had cared for since infancy when the mother abandoned her. A couple of years after the baby was born, a dependency case was filed, the birth mother’s children were removed due to her neglect, and the State sought termination of parental rights. The birth mother contested the case and sought the return of her children, including the baby girl. The case became very contentious, with the judge remarking that the case had more hearings than any other in his experience. Over the past three years, Mr. Murphy fought for the girl to remain with her guardian. This past year, Mr. Murphy helped work out an open adoption, which was recently finalized by the court.
LFCA is a non-profit child advocacy organization dedicated to providing pro bono legal representation to children involved in the child welfare system who are victims or abuse, abandonment and neglect. LFCA represents dependent children from birth through age 18, as well as former foster youth through age 23. Additionally, LFCA advocates for systemic reforms to improve the lives of all children and youth. Since its inception, LFCA in Miami has trained and mentored over 1,500 attorneys who have represented over 3,000 dependent children.
Stroock provides strategic transactional, regulatory and litigation advice to advance the business objectives of leading financial institutions, multinational corporations and entrepreneurial businesses in the U.S. and globally. With a rich history dating back 140 years, the firm has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, DC.