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Cooley Godward associate Maureen Alger isn’t about to let a summer associate recruiting season go by without a plug for pro bono work. The assistant director of Cooley’s pro bono practice, Alger is coordinating the firm’s third annual Pro Bono Week, which recognizes projects and top pro bono billers at the firm. The events wrap up Friday with a cocktail mixer that lets the firm’s attorneys and summer associates get to know the organizations that benefit from pro bono efforts in Silicon Valley. “It’s an opportunity to showcase pro bono for people inside the firm and let everyone reaffirm their commitment,” Alger said. The firm staged a pro bono social event for the first time last year. Alger said attorneys enjoyed meeting nonprofit workers from the community, she said. The mixer is also a fun way for firm managers to remind everyone of the firm’s new emphasis on doing good works, Alger said. Alger, a fifth-year litigation associate, said the firm hadn’t been meeting annual law firm goals for pro bono work set by the Pro Bono Institute at Georgetown University Law Center. To help remedy that, the firm last year organized its pro bono efforts into a practice group under senior counsel Paul Renne. Alger, as his assistant, is in charge of the day-to-day tasks of keeping track of the firm’s ongoing activities. “We’re now treating the pro bono practice as an actual group,” Alger said, “instead of just letting it happen or having associates bringing in cases when they get them.” The goal behind a more organized approach is to boost the firm’s pro bono hours, Alger said. The firm logged 11,000 hours in 1999, and the number jumped to 28,000 in 2001. However, the hours dropped 14 percent, to 24,000, in 2002, Alger said. Alger said putting the spotlight on pro bono, by recognizing key victories and the individuals involved, will help draw more attention to the firm’s renewed commitment. “It’s important for the firm, that anything we commit to do . . . we do it well,” Alger said. “It’s a commitment we made to the community.”

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