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LEGAL AID’S NEW DIGS When Shaw Pittman went looking for a way to commemorate its 50th anniversary, the firm decided to scrap its traditional party plans and instead make a more lasting contribution. And so the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia can thank Shaw Pittman for its new satellite office in Southeast D.C. As part of its gift, the firm has agreed to donate $50,000 to the Legal Aid Society and sponsor an Equal Justice Works fellow to staff the new facility. In addition, lawyers from the firm are helping to find a location for the office and helping to furnish it. “They have been wishing on their shoestring budget to open an office where their clients were located,” says Deborah Baum, pro bono partner at Shaw Pittman and a member of Legal Aid’s board of directors.”This just seemed like the perfect opportunity.” The gift was announced at the Legal Aid Society’s Donor Recognition event on Nov. 10. “Shaw Pittman is absolutely fantastic,” says Jonathan Smith, executive director of Legal Aid. “They made a lovely commitment to us.” Currently, Legal Aid’s main office is located in the heart of downtown D.C., near Metro Center, but the location is not easily accessible for many of the society’s clients. “Our clients tend to be in areas that are transportationally isolated,” Smith says. Consequently, the satellite location will bring the legal services to the clients. In addition, Legal Aid hopes to bundle its services with other service organizations or health service providers so clients can take advantage of all the services they need in one place. Although the exact site of the new office is still being determined, Smith hopes the move will take place around the first of the year. “Once a year, [the firm should] scrap a party and make a contribution,” Baum says. “It would make such a difference in our community.” CHEAP EATS While other summer associate classes spent the summer sampling some of Washington’s best restaurants, those in the D.C. office of White & Case chose a different route � participation in the firm’s “Eat Cheap for Charity Summer Lunch Program.” Their efforts resulted in a donation of $5,300 to Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care Inc. PAHC works to help children in families living with HIV or AIDS. The donation was made on Oct. 28. Each Wednesday throughout the summer, the firm’s 16 summer associates made a conscious effort to spend under $10 for their lunch, and in return the firm set aside $25 per person to be donated to a charity of each associate’s choice. George Paul, partner-in-charge of the summer associates program, says the choice of the charity was entirely up to the associate class. “We put no restrictions on them,” he says. The summer associates chose the pediatric AIDS charity because D.C. has the highest incidence of AIDS in the country and they felt that this was a way to give back to the D.C. community, according to Paul. CIVIL SERVICE Robert Bruskin, a former partner at Howrey Simon Arnold & White, has taken on a new role as the Howrey Simon Arnold & White Senior Counsel at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. The endowed position marks the first time a law firm has provided full-time permanent support for a former senior level partner to dedicate all his time to a pro bono position. “I am here as long as they will have me,” Bruskin says. Bruskin’s volunteer work with the Lawyers’ Committee began about five or six years ago, and he says he realized just how much he enjoyed it. “I was looking for a new challenge as I got a little more gray hair,” he says. So after 31 years at Howrey, he approached the firm with a proposal for him to join the committee full-time, and the firm agreed. “I don’t know any other firm that is doing something like this,” he says. Bruskin, 58, who focused on complex commercial disputes at Howrey, now works on a wide variety of issues including disability and immigration rights, equal employment, and fair housing issues. GENEROUS GRANTS The Baltimore-based law firm of Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver has chosen three nonprofits in Maryland and D.C. as recipients of $30,000 in grant money. Boys Hope, Girls Hope and the Maryland Food Ban in the Baltimore area and the Homeless Children’s Tutorial Project in D.C.’s Columbia Heights neighborhood will each receive $10,000. In addition, lawyers at Ober, Kaler will volunteer at Boys Hope, Girls Hope, which provides tutoring, mentoring, food, clothing, and guidance to at-risk youth. The firm, which has 35 lawyers in its D.C. office, started the annual grant program last year to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It was renamed this year to honor the firm’s past chairman, John Chandler Baldwin. The focus of the grants is to help at-risk children and at-risk families, says Joseph Kovars, a partner on the grant committee. “Many of our members do community service,” Kovars says, “but we thought it was important as a firm to give something back to the communities we work in.” ARNOLD & PORTER HONOR The District of Columbia Employment Justice Center honored Arnold & Porter with the center’s 2004 Outstanding Law Firm Award. “The award is cumulative for everything they have done to help us,” says Judy Conti, the center’s director. Conti pointed to Arnold & Porter’s pro bono work on behalf of a victim of sexual harassment where the firm negotiated a settlement that resulted in training for an entire workforce. She also cited the firm’s sponsorship of an Equal Justice fellow. At the time that Arnold & Porter agreed to sponsor the fellow, the Center was still in its infancy, Conti says, and “Arnold & Porter really took a chance on us. “Even though we were only around for a year at that point, they were excited enough about our work to say: Yes, we are going to sponsor someone,” she says. “Most firms would have said come back later.” The Employment Justice Center represents low-income workers in all types of employment-related issues. BREAST CANCER FUNDS In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, lawyers and staff at 11 Baker & McKenzie offices throughout North America raised more than $50,000 to support breast cancer research. Firmwide, more than 800 people made donations or participated in walkathons and other office events, with the money going to two different breast cancer charities. Partner Margaret “Peggy” Blake and her assistant Robin Truesdale spearheaded the activity for the D.C. office, which raised more than $6,400 for the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. The office raised money through donations and an ice cream social on Oct. 22. Blake and Truesdale came up with the ice cream social idea after scheduling conflicts prohibited the firm’s lawyers from participating in the Cancer Society’s D.C. walk, and the firm arranged for the ice cream party as a way of saying thank you to those who made donations. “In the end, we didn’t even need an event,” Blake says. “People just wanted to donate.” Pro Bono Bulletin Board is an occasional column covering developments in the public interest and pro bono communities.

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