While the pandemic year has brought about a slow-down period for many, the opposite has been Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, the two leading civil rights attorneys of the #MeToo movement, reports the Associated Press. The professional partners of 20 years, who have represented Christine Blasey Ford, accuser of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, along with accusers of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and countless other powerful men accused of sexual misconduct, recently reached out to Charlotte Bennett, the former aid to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who recently went with sexual harassment allegations against him. Ford credits the duo with getting her through her gutting testimony in the Senate.
Katz and Banks each carry several dozen active cases at a time — everything from informal advice to full-blown litigation. Their work has actually been increasing for nearly four years, despite a mild lull during the peak of the pandemic. When Bill Cosby’s conviction was overturned and he was released from prison, many worried aloud that it would have a chilling effect on victims coming forward. Katz and Banks don’t see it that way, and reminded everyone that Cosby hadn’t been exonerated. Bennett, the Cuomo accuser, says she feels Katz is driven by her outrage at “the very audacity of these people in power who do the things they do — and that we are the ones who have to live in fear.” As the #MeToo movement moves toward its fourth anniversary, Katz and Banks acknowledge there’s been a bit of a slowdown in momentum, but, they say, any social justice movement is going to have setbacks along the way.