Our commitment to conscience and community — established by our founding partners and still a core value to this day — includes providing quality pro bono legal services that ensure every person and organization, regardless of financial means, has access to the justice system.
And, as is often the case, in giving we also receive: Our attorneys gain not only professional experience through exposure to areas of law, procedures, and clients not often available in their day-to-day work, but also a deep, personal satisfaction that comes from achieving justice for those who otherwise would have been powerless to protect their legal rights.
Foley & Lardner is proud to announce the launch of its Racial Justice and Equity Practice Group as of July 2020. The new pro bono practice group underscores the firm’s commitment to stand up against racial injustice and its membership in the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.
This Racial Justice and Equity Pro Bono Practice Group will assist in the identification of potential engagements, facilitate training, coordinate staffing and provide a vehicle for the exchange of information accumulated in the course of our representation of parties in matters involving unfair and unequal treatment based on race or ethnicity. While the firm has worked on numerous matters impacting racial justice and equality that predate the formation of this practice group, circumstances demand a sharp, coordinated focus of efforts.
“We often speak of Foley’s core values, and at the heart of those values lies our commitment to our people and to diversity and inclusion. If we are to live our core values, we must be unwavering in our stand against racism in whatever form-whether overt, systemic or otherwise. While our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends, as it should, far beyond issues of race, we cannot and should not lose sight of issues of racial inequality,” said Foley Partner and firm Chairman Jay Rothman. “It’s not enough to just speak about these values. We are committing to doing the difficult work necessary to combat prejudice and effect the change that is so desperately needed. This new commitment is just the first step for the firm.”
Reporting directly to our CEO, Foley’s National Pro Bono Legal Services Committee monitors and implements the firm's comprehensive Pro Bono Policy to ensure that our pro bono clients are afforded the same high standard of quality given to our paying clients.
As part of our commitment to pro bono, the committee set a number of goals to improve the quality and quantity of our pro bono service: significantly increase the number of attorneys performing pro bono service and the hours they contribute; expand the variety of service opportunities; and enhance partnerships with other law firms, clients, nonprofits, and law school pro bono programs.
And because we know that policies and goals by themselves will not get the job done, we actively support our words with action. We automatically provide billable credit for the first 100 hours of pro bono work per year, with the opportunity to request additional credit over that amount; launched specialized pro bono practice groups that deepen our capabilities in specific areas and attract more quality projects from referral sources; and strongly encourage all attorneys — regardless of department or practice — to meet their professional responsibility in aiding the underserved. We also accepted the Pro Bono Institute Challenge, which results in the firm’s commitment of approximately three percent of all billable hours toward pro bono.
When it comes to pro bono services, we have done everything from assisting individuals, legal aid societies, and civil rights organizations to representing nonprofit organizations in strategic projects and litigation matters. We work in nearly every area of public interest law, and we have teamed with organizations such as the Medical Legal Partnership, Just Neighbors, National Immigrant Justice Center, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project, and Public Counsel to increase our access to pro bono cases in our communities.
Our Asylum/Immigration Pro Bono Group handles a significant amount of the firm's pro bono work, drawing from attorneys in practices across the firm and offices across the country to help persecuted individuals from around the world. We have secured asylum for numerous pro bono clients from Venezuela, the Republic of The Gambia, Nigeria, the Central African Republic, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Somalia, Madagascar, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Burma, and many others.
We do not perform pro bono work to win awards. We do it because true justice requires that every voice has a worthy advocate. But we are proud of the recognition and accolades we have received, as they embody the time, effort, and resources that our attorneys and staff have dedicated to so many matters. Recent recognition includes: