At Polsinelli, we are deeply committed to our communities and facilitate a culture that embraces providing pro bono services to those in need. We encourage all of our attorneys to devote time to pro bono work by providing full billable credit for pro bono matters, and by creating pro bono partnerships with national and local legal service organizations to assist those in need.
A June 2017 study by the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) found that 71% of low-income households experienced at least one civil legal problem, including problems with domestic violence, veterans’ benefits, disability access, housing conditions, and health care. To help bridge this services gap, and create positive change, we have established a pro bono practice that focuses on providing legal services to individuals and nonprofit organizations that cannot afford representation. It is through this practice we hope to build and unite our communities.
Our pro bono practice is led by our director of pro bono, and supported by our pro bono liaisons and cause committees. Most offices have at least one local pro bono liaison that works with the pro bono director and local legal service organizations to address the needs of that particular community. Our cause committees are focusing on addressing ways in which our firm can use its national footprint to create a larger impact in these areas: (1) civil rights; (2) immigration/asylum; (3) housing/urban revitalization & economic development; (4) corporate governance & non-profits; and (5) families children & veterans. Each year we continue to focus on strengthening our partnerships with legal service organizations in our five focus areas to assist the most vulnerable in our communities.
Areas of law in which our attorneys frequently provide pro bono legal services include:
- Guardianships, adoption, guardian ad litem
- Corporate, real estate, tax counseling to non-profits
- Civil rights
- Immigration, asylum
- Landlord and tenant disputes
- Housing abandonment claims for urban revitalization efforts
- Estate planning, HC POA & advance directives
- IP pro bono patent work through the US PTO Pro Se Assistance Program
- Community economic development/microenterprise representation in struggling urban centers
- Indigent criminal representation in court appointed matters
- Serving as general counsel to non-profit organizations
We also volunteer our services at legal clinics across our communities to provide general legal advice. It is our goal that through our community-driven, people-centric pro bono practice, we will improve people’s lives and strengthen our communities as a whole.
In 2018, more than 410 attorneys and 80 paralegals, representing all of our 21 offices across the country, provided pro bono services to those throughout our communities. They recorded over 28,000 hours of pro bono work, benefiting more than 700 individuals and organizations coast to coast.
We have been a proud sponsor of the Pro Bono Institute since 2010. We are also very active in each of our office’s bar and civic communities, including urban renewal programs and entrepreneur start-ups in low income neighborhoods, further exemplifying our pledge to members in our communities.