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These are the top 10 firms in this year’s pro bono rankings (August 2001), and the firms with the most improved scores. One, White & Case, falls into both categories, its score having risen 124 percent between 1999 and 2000. The firm now ranks 10th among The Am Law 200�. But what’s behind that meteoric rise? And what are the other stories behind the numbers that make up our pro bono scores? That’s what we asked each firm. Although some bask in the legacy of a case that challenged a constitutional point, others are proudest of the work they do in their communities, providing basic legal needs. At some firms (Miller Canfield; Thacher Proffitt), a few systems changes resulted in capturing more complete information about existing pro bono efforts. And some firms focused on their numbers — Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler challenged its partners to 100 percent participation in 2001. We hope to share the results in our next Am Law 200 report. For information about pro bono scoring, see the methodology, below. � The Am Law Pro Bono rankings were revised after Baker & Donelson revised its numbers. 1. ARNOLD & PORTER, WASHINGTON, D.C. BACKGROUND One of the Washington Big Three. Pro bono involvement dates to name partner Paul Porter’s battles against McCarthyism. Abe Fortas, later a U.S. Supreme Court justice, argued Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the high court case that established that all persons charged with serious crimes are entitled to representation. The firm has continued to represent clients in Gideon issues. This year an A&P team briefed a case for review before the Mississippi Supreme Court in which three rural counties are suing the state for failing to provide a constitutionally adequate indigent defense system. RECENTLY Added a second six-month component to its rotation/loaned associate program. In the first rotation, associates work with the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia in areas such as landlord/tenant, child custody, government benefits and domestic violence. In the newly added rotation program, they work with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs on civil rights, equal employment and housing issues. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 5th 2. COVINGTON & BURLING, WASHINGTON, D.C. BACKGROUND For 32 years, the firm has assigned associates to six-month rotations at the District of Columbia’s Neighborhood Legal Services Program. The program has been a model for other firms. Now the firm also rotates lawyers and paralegals through the D.C. office of the Corporation Counsel, where it prosecutes cases of child abuse and neglect. In addition, the firm allows associates to spend half their hours for a six-month rotation working for Bread For The City, handling public benefits, family law and landlord/tenant cases. RECENTLY Acted as pro bono counsel to The Nature Conservancy in a debt-for-nature swap in which the United States agreed to reduce the debt of the Government of Belize by half (a total reduction of $8.58 million). In return, Belize will make payments to the environmental organizations in their country responsible for protecting 23,000 acres of tropical rain forest, home to many rare and endangered species. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 7th 3. DEBEVOISE & PLIMPTON, NEW YORK BACKGROUND The firm expects pro bono work to be “integral to a fully realized career,” according to John Kiernan, current pro bono committee chair. One mandatory pro bono task is given to all litigation associates as part of their first assignment package. Corporate attorneys are offered opportunities to work with micro-enterprises through the Renaissance Business Development Center and the New York Alliance for New Americans. RECENTLY Successfully litigated a case on behalf of a class of mentally ill inmates in New York City. A New York trial court judge ordered the city to begin “discharge planning” for these inmates, a form of mental health care that the city had argued it did not have a legal obligation to pursue. The plaintiffs had alleged the city discharged the inmates at dawn at the base of the Queensboro Bridge with $1.50 in cash and a two-ride MetroCard for public transportation. The trade publication Psychiatric News last year called the decision “the most important case to be litigated on the rights of people with mental illness in the last 20 years.” The case is on appeal. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 8th 4. HOLLAND & HART, DENVER BACKGROUND In 1999, several retired and senior partners created the Holland & Hart Foundation, to “recognize and encourage existing individual and group volunteerism,” according to the foundation’s mission statement. Though the firm had an active pro bono practice, staff and even spouses had become involved in public service and community volunteerism. The foundation serves as an umbrella for these efforts. The firm claims that the foundation, organized as a charitable and educational nonprofit, is the only one of its kind established by a major law firm in the United States. Last year, its efforts ranged from collecting 10,000 diapers for an orphanage in Haiti to cooking meals at a homeless shelter. RECENTLY For 10 years the firm’s lawyers have represented the Greater Owyhee Legal Defense in a challenge to the U.S. Air Force’s use of Owyhee Canyonlands in Idaho. According to the plaintiffs, that area is rich in both Native American cultural heritage and biological diversity, and was being adversely affected by military base expansion and training activities. A year ago, in a rare arrangement, the two sides agreed to form a “settlement implementation group” to monitor the effects of Air Force activities and negotiate resolutions. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 3rd 5. JENNER & BLOCK, CHICAGO BACKGROUND The firm has a long history of death penalty work. In 1964, current chair Jerold Solovy took on the appeal of William Witherspoon, who was then on Illinois’ death row. Solovy and his partner Thomas Sullivan found that almost half of the potential jurors had been dismissed because they had expressed opposition to the death penalty. The firm appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court (name partner Albert Jenner arguing) and established the principle that states could not disqualify potential jurors merely because they “might hesitate to return a verdict inflicting [death].” RECENTLY Local Utah officials wanting to wrest control over a chunk of federally owned desert relied on an obscure 1866 mining law that grants rights of way to anyone who “constructs” a “highway” on federal land. In this case, the “highways” were the paths created by off-road vehicles, horseback riders and hikers. On behalf of a local environmental group, the firm won a summary judgment from a federal judge, narrowing the definition of highway and protecting the wilderness area. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 2nd 6. MCCUTCHEN, DOYLE, BROWN & ENERSEN, SAN FRANCISCO BACKGROUND The firm joined the abortion rights cause in the late 1960s, convincing the California Supreme Court to recognize reproductive choice as a state constitutional right ( People v. Belous). Four years later, in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court relied in part on this ruling in Roe v. Wade. McCutchen Doyle has subsequently handled dozens of cases on behalf of Planned Parenthood, including several that established limits on anti-abortion protests. RECENTLY On behalf of pro bono client Save-the-Redwoods League, the firm assisted in negotiating with a lumber company to acquire approximately 25,000 acres of redwood forest, home to 23 endangered species and almost 125 acres of old-growth redwood trees. In the agreement, completed in July, the land will be acquired from the lumber company for $60 million and eventually deeded to the State of California for preservation and park purposes. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 6th 7. PATTERSON, BELKNAP, WEBB & TYLER, NEW YORK BACKGROUND This isn’t the firm for the uninvolved. According to firm figures, a remarkably high percentage of its lawyers and staff do pro bono work. Last year, 95 percent of the associates, 79 percent of the partners and 82 percent of the legal assistants contributed almost 15,000 hours of service in civil and criminal cases, and in corporate assistance to micro-enterprise projects. In 2001, the firm set a goal of 100 percent partner participation in the firm’s pro bono program. RECENTLY The firm filed a complaint last year on behalf of 22 mentally disabled men who allege that in 1998 they were subjected to “assembly line” prostate surgery, as The New York Times characterized it in an article last spring, without giving informed consent. The plaintiffs claim a host of rights violations, and the defendants are many. The small group home in which the men were housed was originally intended as a “compassionate alternative to sprawling psychiatric hospitals,” according to The Times, but had been cited for numerous health violations. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 4th 8. PAUL, WEISS, RIFKIND, WHARTON & GARRISON, NEW YORK BACKGROUND The firm brought suit in 1995 on behalf of doctors and health care clinics who felt terrorized by anti-abortion activists. The plaintiffs complained that the defendants listed the doctors’ addresses and other personal information on their Web site, as well as posting online “wanted” posters. Several abortion doctors were killed or wounded. Each time one was killed, a line was drawn through the “wanted” poster portrait; the photos of those who were injured were grayed out. The trial court agreed that the defendants’ actions were threats, and therefore not protected speech, and awarded the plaintiffs $109 million in damages under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act; the judge entered an injunction. Both were reversed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Paul Weiss attorneys are preparing for an en banc hearing, scheduled for Dec. 11. RECENTLY Received the ABA Business Law Section’s 2001 National Public Service Award in 2001 for advising and representing micro-entrepreneurs and small business owners through the Business Resource & Investment Service Center (BRISC) in Harlem. Fifty Paul Weiss lawyers from the corporate, real estate, tax and other departments, as well as summer associates and paralegals, participated in this work in 2000. The firm’s attorneys regularly present workshops on legal topics of interest to small business owners. Paul Weiss has been involved in BRISC since 1998. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 9th 9. WHITE & CASE, INTERNATIONAL BACKGROUND Last March, White & Case became the first U.S. law firm in London to appoint a dedicated pro bono director. All of the firm’s international offices — 31, in 23 countries — are encouraged to become involved in pro bono work, though in some countries that means first setting up the systems needed to provide public service (e.g., nongovernmental organizations in a post-communist country). In Russia, for example, White & Case joined with several other international commercial law firms to form the Legal Services Advisory Board, which provides legal advice to charitable organizations, educates law school students about pro bono work, and lobbies for legislative reforms on behalf of nonprofits. RECENTLY Domestically, the firm expanded its pro bono program in the past year specifically to meet the needs of children, creating relationships with several legal service and charitable organizations, including: Lawyers for Children; Advocates for Children; Children’s Rights Inc.; ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trade) USA; and the Pediatric HIV program at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 10th Improvement in pro bono score, 1999-2000: 124 percent 10. WILMER, CUTLER & PICKERING, WASHINGTON, D.C. BACKGROUND The firm prides itself on the variety of its pro bono commitment, and the lack of political ideology underlying it. As examples, in Dickerson v. U.S. (2000), the firm filed an amicus brief for the FBI Agents Association in an argument challenging the alleged excesses of the Miranda decision. After the Oklahoma City bombing, it won for the families of victims the right to speak at the sentencing of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols. In addition, the firm has represented eight death row inmates in the last 12 years. Transactional lawyers have helped a group of Bosnian refugee women incorporate so that they can market handmade baby clothes internationally, have helped to establish a local community-owned bank, and are currently representing a group of low-income tenants in the purchase of their own building. RECENTLY Continuing its Supreme Court amicus practice and its representation of death row inmates, the firm filed a certiorari petition for Ernest McCarver, a mentally retarded inmate on death row in North Carolina. The high court stayed the execution of McCarver just hours before he was to be put to death for killing a 71-year-old coworker. Wilmer Cutler is currently representing three other death row inmates. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 1st 11. COUDERT BROTHERS, INTERNATIONAL The firm secured the release this year of death row inmate Donald Paradis. Paradis, who is “not a sympathetic character,” according to a New York Law Journal report, spent 21 years in an Idaho maximum security prison, including 14 years on death row, and was scheduled for execution on three occasions. In the case, Paradis admitted that he had helped conceal the victim’s body, but insisted that he had not been present for the murder. At the time, Paradis was a member of a biker gang, and his alibi was that he was somewhere else, stealing a motorcycle when the murder was committed. Corporate partner Edwin Matthews was assisted by more than a dozen Coudert lawyers. All told, they put in more than 22,000 hours on the case. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 31st Improvement in pro bono score, 1999-2000: 147 percent 12. MILLER, CANFIELD, PADDOCK AND STONE, DETROIT The firm attributes its vastly improved Am Law pro bono score in part to improved recordkeeping, including culling pro bono involvement from their attorneys’ online resumes to create a database of 485 organizations for which they do public service. Many lawyers, including the CEO, help staff the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association’s Legal Services Clinic on a rotating basis. The former CEO is a statewide leader in raising money to create an endowment for legal aid funds cut from the Michigan state budget. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 55th Improvement in pro bono score, 1999-2000: 285 percent 13. PORTER WRIGHT MORRIS & ARTHUR, COLUMBUS, OHIO Partner Kathleen Trafford won a pro bono case this year that began in 1997, when Wendall Humphrey, a Shoshone-Bannock Indian, was threatened with termination from his job as a prison guard because of the length of his hair. Humphrey insisted that his religious beliefs barred a haircut. Trafford approached the case strategically, filing in state rather than federal court, where some states were challenging the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The strategy worked — the act was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and Trafford prevailed on a freedom-of-religion claim both at trial and this year before the Ohio Supreme Court. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 51st Improvement in pro bono score, 1999-2000: 138 percent 14. THACHER PROFFITT & WOOD, NEW YORK A simple change in process in the last year has begun to create an “environment” for pro bono at the firm, according to partner Gerald Ferguson. Last year, a staffer in the human resources department was appointed to be the clearinghouse for pro bono information; previously there had been many contact points. Weekly e-mails have provided a way to centralize the flow of requests for help and reports of activities. As a result of these reminders, several associates have been inspired to initiate projects closely connected to their own interests. One associate with a “passion for dance,” according to Ferguson, is now providing legal services to a new nonprofit for dancers who are making the transition to retirement. Am Law 200 Pro Bono Rank: 26th Improvement in pro bono score, 1999-2000: 105 percent METHODOLOGY Am Law pro bono scores result from weighting and combining two factors: average pro bono hours per lawyer accounts for two-thirds; the percentage of lawyers with more than 20 hours makes up one-third. Calculations are based on lawyers in U.S. offices only. We define pro bono work according to basic ABA and Pro Bono Institute guidelines — legal services donated to organizations or individuals who could not otherwise afford them. We do not include nonlegal work for charities, paralegal time, bar association activities, community services, or time spent serving on boards or raising funds for charitable institutions.

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