Pro Bono Rank Firm
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Latham & Watkins (3)


Human rights and refugee work are at the center of Latham & Watkins’s pro bono efforts. There’s the work a team of Latham attorneys did to secure political asylum for a refugee from the Central African Republic who had been targeted because of his political activities. Then there’s the firm’s representation of a Sudanese doctor born, raised, and The Am Law Pro Bono 100educated in war-torn Darfur who was wrongly accused of assisting the rebels, beaten and tortured for information, and jailed for weeks at a time. After years of frustration, a team from Latham’s Chicago and New York offices successfully secured his asylum.

Case-by-case over the past nine years, Latham has built its pro bono work in human rights and representing refugees, so that pro bono counsel Amos Hartston says it now has the same kind of status as one of the firm’s stand-alone fee-earning practice areas. The nature of immigration law also fits with Latham’s steps to develop a firmwide practice. “It’s federal and that’s a benefit in developing a cross-office group,” adds Hartston. He says that attorneys at the firm clocked more than 50,000 hours on projects in this area in 2008.

The firm’s work ranges from individual representation to working with nonprofits on policy and advocacy projects. In one project, lawyers from the Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles offices carried out a wide-ranging review and analysis of the U.S. immigration court system together with nonprofit Appleseed. Due to be published this summer, elements of the report were presented to President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team last year. In another project, a team of attorneys helped WE-ACTx, an international community-based initiative focused on improving women’s and children’s access to HIV care and treatment in Rwanda, to develop Rwanda’s first “know your rights” handbook which describes the rights of women and of those who are HIV-positive.

—Richard Lloyd | July 1, 2009

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