Pro Bono: A Firm Commitment, a Firmwide Effort
Dechert has a longstanding tradition of providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations who cannot otherwise afford legal counsel. Lawyers in all our offices and in all our practice groups make a difference every day by contributing their talents to providing pro bono legal services.
Dechert is a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® and we are committed to spending three percent of our total billable time annually on pro bono work. In addition, we are a signatory to the United Kingdom’s Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work. As a result of this dedication, Dechert lawyers commit thousands of hours annually to pro bono service.
We approach pro bono efforts with the same energy, enthusiasm and resources as work for commercial clients, and associates receive billable hour credit for their pro bono work.
Watch our video to hear Dechert lawyers describe their pro bono work, including the importance of pro bono to the firm’s culture, the matters that have meant the most to them throughout their careers and how pro bono has made them better lawyers.
A Diverse Pro Bono Practice
A Dechert partner focuses full time on managing the firm’s pro bono program. She works with the Pro Bono Committee consisting of representatives from every Dechert office. They are charged with promoting the firm’s pro bono efforts and ensuring that a wide variety of pro bono opportunities are available for our attorneys.
Our pro bono practice is diverse. Our lawyers handle hundreds of pro bono matters covering issues such as civil rights, international human rights, child advocacy, special education, access to public benefits, asylum and the representation of numerous nonprofit organizations. Our goal is to find projects that make a difference and that match the personal interests of our lawyers. Thus, we take referrals from a variety of local, national, and international legal services organizations.
Examples of the ways in which Dechert lawyers serve their communities include:
- creating a multi-office, multi-disciplinary project to assist victims of human trafficking. Dechert is involved with a number of anti-trafficking networks and is advising on draft legislation and matters of policy as well as representing victims directly;
- representing death row inmates, including the successful representation of an illiterate, mentally retarded and severely brain damaged inmate on Pennsylvania’s death row whose conviction raised constitutional issues;
- representing dozens of prisoners in civil rights claims challenging their conditions of incarceration;
- representing numerous Afghan nationals detained in Guantánamo Bay;
- staffing legal clinics through the Homeless Advocacy Project (Philadelphia), Community Matters (London), the Public Law Center (Orange County), the Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (New York), the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (Princeton), the North Kensington Law Centre (London), and the Legal Clinic for the Homeless (New York);
- handling an assortment of immigration and asylum issues, including assisting with Violence Against Women Act petitions and visa applications;
- serving as child advocates for abused and neglected children;
- assisting veterans to obtain service related benefits;
- working with numerous international human rights organizations, including Oxfam, the Public Interest Law Institute and INTERIGHTS, on a range of issues such as access to justice; and
- representing non-profit organizations on issues including incorporation, tax, employment and real estate.
Over the years, Dechert and individual Dechert lawyers have been recognized on numerous occasions for pro bono contributions. Firm recognition has included:
- American Civil Liberties Union – New Jersey’s Legal Leadership Award
- The American Lawyer - Ranked #7 out of 200 U.S. firms for Pro Bono (2012)
- Citizens Bank Pro Bono Award
- City Bar Justice Center’s Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service
- District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, Forty at Fifty recognition
- First Judicial District’s Pro Bono Roll of Honor
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Council Service of Philadelphia – honored for representation of abused spouses under the Violence Against Women Act
- Lawyers Clearinghouse Pro Bono Award
- The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – recognized for contributions to the 2008 Election Protection program
- The Legal Intelligencer and Volunteers for the Indigent Program’s Unsung Hero Award
- National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s Pro Bono Counsel Award
- National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s 2011 Beacon of Justice Award
- New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney program’s Pro Bono Service Award
- New York City Pro Bono Center’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Month – honored for work with the Legal Aid Society’s landlord-tenant pro bono partnership
- New York Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award
- Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program’s Chancellor Award and Volunteer of the Month
- The Pro Bono Project’s Distinguished Service Award (New Orleans)
- Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year
- State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services Award
- Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s Outstanding Achievement Award
If you have any questions about Dechert’s pro bono program, contact Suzanne E. Turner
, pro bono partner, at firstname.lastname@example.org