We routinely partner with industry and community leaders to provide pro bono services to those in need in the communities in which we work and live.
Examples of our efforts include:
We represent individuals fleeing persecution in their home countries and seeking asylum in the United States—individuals who would otherwise be persecuted based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or social group, such as sexual orientation. We partner with nonprofits such as American Gateways, Human Rights First, Tahirih and Immigration Equality, which identify and screen applicants for potential representation.
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)
We have worked closely with the TLDEF for the successful resolution of several high-profile lawsuits filed by transgender individuals who faced discriminatory actions. Among them are the cases of Chase Culpepper, who was forced to remove her makeup before she was allowed to take her first driver’s license photo in South Carolina because her gender marker indicated she was a male, and Coy Mathis, who was denied access to the female restrooms at her elementary school because although she lived as a female, she was born a male.
Entrepreneur law projects
We assist low- to moderate-income micro-entrepreneurs and nonprofits in various business pursuits. Our lawyers volunteer their services providing legal counsel on such business issues as drafting contracts, negotiating commercial leases and protecting intellectual property, including filing patent and trademark applications. We also assist in obtaining nonprofit tax status and amending bylaws and charters.
Justice and stability for immigrant youth
Dozens of our lawyers across multiple offices and practice areas represent abused, abandoned and neglected youth who fear deportation back to countries plagued by gang conflict and gender-based violence. We partner with organizations such as KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) and The Door to represent these vulnerable youth in juvenile court guardianship or custody proceedings, ensuring they have the adult care and support they need, and then help them obtain Legal Permanent Residence through Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Each year, with our lawyers' support, hundreds of youth successfully obtain relief.
Death penalty defense
Our lawyers in several offices handle appeals for death row inmates, involving issues such as the application of the death penalty to the mentally retarded or to foreign nationals under international treaties.
Accountability for human rights violations
In a historic decision, our lawyers successfully represented a Somali torture survivor in his claim against a member of the former Somali dictatorship's National Security Service who ordered and supervised his torture and arbitrary detention decades earlier. The Colonel, now living in the US, was found liable for human rights violations, and the US federal district court awarded damages in the amount of US$15 million. Together with the Center for Justice and Accountability, our lawyers also secured a US$28 million verdict for the family of slain Chilean folk singer Victor Jara against the general, now living in the US, who had ordered Mr. Jara's torture and murder by military personnel in 1973.
Volunteer lawyer programs
We participate in volunteer lawyer programs affiliated with local bar associations around the country to represent low-income citizens in various types of civil and family law disputes. For example, we have obtained temporary restraining orders for victims of domestic violence, represented foster children at permanency review hearings and handled various custody and visitation disputes.
Legal advice clinics
We have partnered with many clients to organize and participate in law clinics, such as assisting first responders in drafting wills and helping military veterans with various legal issues, including benefits disputes. Likewise, we have joined with a number of other companies to offer pro bono clinics covering a variety of legal issues faced by individuals at or near the poverty line.
In addition to pro bono clinics, our lawyers work within the business community on various types of matters for specific pro bono clients. For example, we have worked with a global computer company's in-house legal department to counsel nonprofits on intellectual property matters and assist refugees with humanitarian asylum claims. We are also currently working with an international energy company’s in-house law department on a federal habeas corpus appeal for a mentally disabled death row inmate.
In New York, our pro bono activities include a 16-month fellowship at The Door’s Legal Service Center: A Center of Alternatives, a multi-service youth development center that serves over 10,000 young people each year.
Our firm is committed to pro bono service, and is always looking for new opportunities to join community partners on projects that advance our commitment to access to justice initiatives.