We have a long-standing commitment to the development and delivery of legal services to people of limited means.
At the heart of our reputation for energy and excellence is the firm’s commitment to give back to the communities in which our professionals live and work. We also believe that pro bono work is good for the firm – it fosters social justice, improves the quality of a lawyer’s life, has a positive effect on legal skills and enhances professionalism. The firm recommends that all lawyers do pro bono work, and requires that associates perform a minimum of 100 hours of pro bono service per year. We believe that the firm has maintained its remarkable pro bono momentum by developing an incredibly diverse range of opportunities for our volunteers.
We have embraced challenges from the American Bar Association and the leaders of the Bars in the jurisdictions in which we maintain offices to increase our commitment to pro bono. We do so gladly and without hesitation or reservation.
Some of our pro bono achievements include:
- Our Denver office has been actively involved in the long-running Lobato v. Taylor litigation. The Taylor Ranch case is a 35-year effort to secure access to a 77,500 acre mountainous land parcel known as Taylor Ranch for residents of Costilla County, Colorado. In 2013, Aaron Boschee, senior associate in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group in Denver, took over as lead counsel for the plaintiff-class and spearheaded negotiations with the opposing side, which resulted in access rights for hundreds of additional landowners. Mr. Boschee was awarded the Colorado Lawyers Committee’s 2016 Individual of the Year Award in May for his pro bono efforts on this case.
- Since 2008, we have dedicated countless hours of service towards the successful opening of the Conway Health and Resource Center in Washington DC’s Bellevue neighborhood. The 50,000-square foot facility opened its doors early February 2014 and provides medical, dental and behavioral health care to District residents, primarily in Ward 8. The state-of-the-art center, houses 20 medical exam rooms, 11 dental chairs, six rooms for behavioral health services and conference space. Housing resources staffs are also available at the site.
- Newark Associate Alyson N. Villano was awarded the New Jersey State Bar Association’s 2013 Pro Bono Award in recognition of exemplary public service and her commitment to pro bono legal services. One of just two recipients statewide to be honored for pro bono work undertaken in 2013, Alyson accepted the award at the association’s Annual Pro Bono Conference.
- The Dallas Bar Association recognized us for exceptional pro bono work with the 2013 Gold Award for Pro Bono Service. The firm has received this recognition from the Dallas Bar Association 12 years in a row.
- We were recognized as one of the best law firms to work for in the US, according to the 2013 Vault.com survey of law firm associates. Most notably, the firm maintained its number one ranking for pro bono, one of the key areas in the “Quality of Life” category. We have been in Vault’s top five for pro bono every year since 2008.
- Several of our Phoenix office lawyers serve on a pro bono committee of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, which represents refugees who have been victims of domestic violence and face removal action to their countries of origin. Our Phoenix lawyers also have long served as counsel to The Nature Conservancy through the Colorado River Program, protecting rivers and streams and preserving land in the Colorado River Basin.
- Prevailed on behalf of a nonbiological mother in an action seeking parental rights after the child’s biological mother, our client’s former partner of six years, denied her all contact with their child. Our lawyers have also successfully argued numerous immigration appeals in the Ninth Circuit and other federal courts.
- Our Florida lawyers partner with Disability Rights Florida, a not-for-profit assisting K-12 students with physical or mental disabilities access the public education system, in providing legal representation in connection with individual cases. They are also involved in numerous civic and charitable activities, including providing counsel to an organization dedicated to funding research and development for treatment of a rare form of cystic fibrosis and a young professional organization helping underprivileged students in South Florida “dress for success.”
- Our Houston office has become a “go-to” volunteer firm for the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program. Our lawyers volunteer their professional services for counsel and advice sessions at legal clinics, as well as handle an allotment of cases under the Equal Access to Justice Champions Program. They also handle referrals of divorce cases for indigent litigants.
- Our Public Service Initiative won a major victory in 2011 when a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit overturned the death sentence of a pro bono client. Also, the Public Service Initiative is representing three clients in a civil rights suit claiming that their incarceration in 23-hour-a-day lockdown at Louisiana State Prison at Angola violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, devoting 1,493 hours to the case in 2010.
- Lawyers in our Cleveland office have supported the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for more than 40 years. This includes receiving training to handle abuse and domestic violence cases. In recent years, our lawyers handled 20 cases for victims of domestic violence seeking protective orders against their abusers. Our longstanding and deep commitment to the Legal Aid Society is also reflected in Columbus, where one of our partners serves as the board president for Legal Aid, and Chris Meyer recently received an award from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association in recognition of his support for pro bono and public service work. Our lawyers have also successfully argued numerous habeas and criminal appeals in the Sixth Circuit and other federal appellate courts.
- Lawyers in our Budapest office have provided legal advice to the International Rescue Committee, an organization that offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster.
- Our London office strongly supports the initiative City Year London, an organization that brings together young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service in and around urban schools.
- Representing an openly gay member of the US military who challenged the constitutionality of his discharge from service.
- Launching a domestic violence relief program with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland (PDF). Under the program, Legal Aid Society lawyers train firm lawyers to handle abuse and domestic violence cases. In addition, we made a significant four-year contribution to fund a domestic violence staff attorney position at the Legal Aid Society.
- Representing a California inmate in his successful appeal in a religious freedom case. A member of the Sikh faith, our client challenged prison grooming rules that required him to cut his hair, which is not permitted in the Sikh religion.
- Representing the National Center for Lesbian Rights in a landmark 2008 custody trial, the conclusion of a four-year-long fight between two mothers over their daughter.
- Assisting an active-duty sergeant in the US Army related to sponsoring his father for US permanent residency and petitioning the US Consulate in Cameroon to accept a waiver of inadmissibility application.
- Providing services to The Asia Foundation and its affiliate Give2Asia, the leading 501(c)(3) organization facilitating charitable gifts to Asia. Senior counsel Alexander D. (Sandy) Calhoun of our San Francisco office serves as founding chair of The Asia Foundation.
- Persuading the Ninth Circuit to overturn a Board of Immigration Appeals order denying the application of a client for political asylum and withholding of removal (denial of deportation) following his flight from discrimination and persecution in Armenia.
- Counseling a Colombian national on an asylum application and defense of removal proceeding.
- Participating in the California Habeas Project, a collaboration of several respected California nonprofit organizations and law firms dedicated to protecting the rights of domestic violence survivors with murder convictions by challenging the legality of their confinement through writs of habeas corpus provided by Penal Code section 1473.5, which provides to women not previously able to do so the opportunity to use expert testimony on physical abuse and its effects to supplement their defense against charges of murder.
- Serving on the immigration panel for HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance, Inc. (HALSA), the only organization of its kind in Los Angeles County dedicated to serving the HIV/AIDS-related civil legal needs of persons living with HIV or AIDS.
- Advising the Japan Society of Northern California, an educational nonprofit organization and the West Coast’s leading forum on Japan and US-Japan relations, including counsel regarding employment, real estate and corporate law.
- Providing immigration representation to a public school special education teacher on securing an H-1B visa and permanent US residency.
- Serving on a pro bono committee of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project in Arizona, which represents refugees who have been victims of domestic violence and face being sent back to their countries of origin.