There’s an unfamiliar face in the crowd this year — the crowd being the 10 legal organizations we selected for The National Law Journal‘s Pro Bono Hot List. For the first time, we’ve included a corporate legal department — that of International Business Machines Corp. We did so in recognition of IBM’s work on behalf of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but also to highlight increasing corporate commitment to pro bono projects. Legal departments are making it clear that they care and expect their outside counsel to do likewise. During a pro bono conference organized by United Health Group, for example, fully one-third of the attendees represented corporate law departments, according to the Pro Bono Institute’s Esther Lardent. She counts some 300 pro bono partnerships between corporations and outside firms.

We’ve tried to reflect additional developments in pro bono practice through firms that are deploying highly sophisticated corporate and intellectual property skills to do good on a global level, and that are standing up for life’s outcasts. We also found at least anecdotal evidence that midsize firms — laggards, traditionally, according to Lardent — are getting the pro bono religion. — Michael Moline

 

ARNOLD & PORTER
Voter ID fight in line with rich tradition
 
HUNTON & WILLIAMS
After more than a decade, murder case dismantled
 
COVINGTON & BURLING
At long last, an apology for excluded Chinese
 
IBM
Law department helps mop up following Hurricane Sandy
 
DLA PIPER
Young offenders secure hope for the future
 
LATHAM & WATKINS
Deconstructing the economy of human trafficking
 
FOSTER PEPPER
Midsize firm steps up for Holocaust survivor
 
LINDQUIST & VENNUM
Dedicated to pro bono and disability rights
 
HOGAN LOVELLS
Even killers have constitutional rights
 

See last year’s Pro Bono Hot List.