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McNees Attorney Kiandra Bair Named 2017 Distinguished Leaders by The Legal Intelligencer

April 27, 2017
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LANCASTER, Pa. – Attorney Kiandra Bair of McNees Wallace & Nurick was named a 2017 Distinguished Leaders award winner by The Legal Intelligencer on Wednesday, April 26.

The award, selected by The Legal Intelligencer’s editorial staff, recognizes Pennsylvania lawyers who achieved impressive results in the past year and demonstrated clear leadership skills that helped them achieve those results.

“Leading by example in both law and work in the community, Kiandra is a first-class lawyer with an exceptional track record of achieving excellent results for our clients,” McNees Chairman David M. Kleppinger said. “We are very pleased that Kiandra is the recipient of this well-deserved honor.”

Bair received accolades for her role in a pro-bono case which earned clemency from President Barack Obama last October. Her petition earned a commuted sentence for her client, Jason D. Rakel, of Shreveport, Louisiana, who was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment and 10 years of supervised release on February 22, 2006 for a non-violent drug conviction.

As part of the commutation, Rakel’s sentence will expire on October 6, 2018 upon enrollment in a residential drug treatment home.

Bair, an African-American, learned about Rakel, a white male, and his case through the Clemency Project 2014, a group of working lawyers and advocates launched after Deputy Attorney General James Cole asked the legal profession to provide pro-bono assistance to federal prisoners who would likely have received a shorter sentence if they had been sentenced today.

Bair is an Associate in McNees’ Lancaster office, where she practices in the Commercial Litigation and Orphans’ Court Litigation groups. Prior to joining McNees, Kiandra served as an Assistant City Solicitor in the tax unit for the City of Philadelphia Law Department. In addition, she served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Dennis E. Reinaker, who now serves as Lancaster County’s President Judge.

As a committed volunteer, in 2012, Bair provided pro bono services to the Family Court Project, Domestic Violence Unit in Philadelphia, where she worked with victims of domestic violence. She is also an active participant with the Lancaster-based Children Deserve a Chance Foundation, which encourages and equips young scholars with the value of education and hard work, and is a frequent speaker at Lancaster city schools.

Bair graduated from J.P. McCaskey High School in Lancaster and earned her law degree from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, where she served as a member of the Black Law Students Association, and her undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland – College Park, where she served on the University Student Judiciary – Student Honor Council.

Bair is also the first member of the National Bar Association to file a successful petition for clemency.