“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Meade
In this spirit, Arnold & Porter LLP has established one of the world's leading law firm pro bono programs.
Our pro bono commitment is key to who we are and is the reason why many of our attorneys have made their professional home here. We believe that all lawyers have a moral obligation to do pro bono work, and we strive to be the best there is.
Numbers are one way to tell the story. Many law firms have upgraded their pro bono programs in recent years, but Arnold & Porter is one of a small number of firms whose attorneys consistently average more than 100 hours per year of pro bono work, year in and year out. The Firm and its lawyers have won dozens of awards in recent years, including the ABA's prestigious "Pro Bono Publico" award for the country’s best pro bono program.
Our commitment to pro bono is as broad as it is deep. We have no single "signature" project—our program is as diverse as the interests of our lawyers and the needs of justice. We have a heavy load of "impact" cases—such as our successful challenge to the Pennsylvania voter ID law and our ongoing challenge to the deplorable treatment of mentally ill prisoners at the federal “Supermax” prison in Colorado. Our impact cases involve the death penalty, political asylum, election reform, and religious freedom, among many other areas.
This work sometimes involves representing unpopular clients whose cases can be the toughest ones our firm handles, such as our efforts to help an Islamic group build a mosque in a New Jersey town despite bitter opposition. But these are often the most meaningful cases our lawyers ever handle. Click here to read one lawyer's perspective on pro bono work based on that case.
In addition to handling high-profile cases, we represent many disadvantaged individuals, such as families facing eviction, women who have been the victims of brutal domestic violence, and people who have been wrongfully denied government benefits. Our work covers the full range of our lawyers' skills, including transactional work and counseling for non-profits and non-governmental organizations.
We encourage our lawyers to devote 15% of their time to pro bono work, and we make clear to all lawyers that we expect them to do this work. For we believe, in the words of Robert Kennedy, that while “few may have the greatness to bend history itself” each time an individual “stands up for an ideal, or works to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And those ripples, crossing each other from a million centers of energy and daring, build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of resistance and oppression.”
If you have any questions about the activities of the Pro Bono Committee, please feel free to contact Marsha Tucker. Learn more about the firm's Pro Bono work by downloading our Pro Bono Sampler.
Our pro bono immigration practice brochure is also available for download.