Michelle Clardy Dobbs
Polsinelli is deeply committed to voluntarily providing legal services to individuals and nonprofit organizations that cannot afford representation. That commitment carries over naturally to an obligation in our communities to help ensure the people in those communities are able to secure and preserve their individual legal rights, particularly for those who can’t afford representation. As such, Polsinelli has established an active pro bono practice that focuses heavily in the area of children’s advocacy, with a large portion of our cases involving guardianships and adoptions. Specifically, the firm accepts court-appointed assignments on behalf of indigent clients in the areas of child abuse and neglect, family disputes, and criminal representation.
Over the past fiscal year, Polsinelli attorneys dedicated 33,571 hours toward the firm’s overall pro bono efforts, with approximately 598 attorneys performing more than 20 hours of pro bono work during the course of the year. 75 attorneys devoted more than 3,000 hours to pro bono work in the area of children’s advocacy.
Additionally, several Polsinelli offices and individual attorneys have been acknowledged for service in children’s advocacy, including legal advice and actions surrounding asylum, immigration, juvenile delinquency, and adoption programs.
In recognition of the firm’s pro bono efforts and commitment of resources, the Children’s Law Center named Polsinelli as its 2016 Law Firm of the Year. Also as a nod to Polsinelli’s commitment to pro bono in the area of children’s advocacy, the firm was one of only 20 law firms honored by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association with the 2014 Beacon of Justice Award.
Polsinelli has been a sponsoring law firm of the Pro Bono Institute since 2010. The firm is also very active in each of its office’s bar and civic communities, including urban renewal programs and entrepreneur start-ups in low income neighborhoods.
The Children’s Law Center for Maricopa County Arizona awarded Polsinelli the law firm of the year award. Many of the Phoenix lawyers represented indigent families on a variety of matters, including adoptions, guardianships, custodial rights, and other related family law concerns. Polsinelli attorneys are heavily involved in this program that provides an avenue for individuals who cannot afford the services of an attorney to secure guardianship of a minor child, or to adopt a child due to changes in family circumstances.
In March, 2014, several Denver attorneys worked together to file an amicus curiae brief in two same sex marriage cases in the Tenth Circuit on behalf of prominent Western Republicans who support same sex marriage. The team worked closely with GLAD and the Gill Foundation on the brief, as well at the national media team out of NY and DC. The brief received extensive press coverage.
Through its financial investment and the investment of attorney hours, Polsinelli actively supports Legal Aid of Western Missouri. The organization provides free civil legal assistance to people who need it, however, cannot afford it.
Through the efforts of several Polsinelli attorneys, the firm assisted a local church in its efforts to recover and rebuild from a catastrophic fire that was deemed an accident caused by a service company worker in 2011. The firm represents churches in pro bono matters, many of which involve first party insurance recovery claims.
Nearly $300,000 in attorney time will be provided to the building of the new Irish Arts Center in New York City. This $54 million project will sit on land donated by the city of New York City. Several Polsinelli attorneys located across the country have been heavily involved with the project, providing legal services to include real estate, tax, finance, non-profit, labor and employment, and construction. The project is being funded by donations and fundraising efforts have been significantly influenced by celebrities like Liam Neeson, Bono, Pierce Brosnan, Gabriel Byrne, and philanthropist, Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
Publications & Presentations
Polsinelli Wins Asylum For Child Immigrants With Big Dreams
February 14, 2018
Polsinelli's Pro Bono Commitment in 2016
December 21, 2015
Polsinelli's Commitment to Pro Bono Projects Nationwide
December 9, 2013
Polsinelli Partners With Legal Aid of Western Missouri to Turnaround Apartment Complex
August 30, 2013
Polsinelli Litigator Phillip Zeeck Honored with Pro Bono Publico Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service and Professional Character
August 15, 2018
Lawrence, KS Chemistry Professor, Syed Jamal, Wins Remand from the Board of Immigration Appeals
August 14, 2018
National Law Firm Joins High-Profile Immigration Case to Help Syed Jamal Seek Release from Detention and Reunification with his Family
March 8, 2018
Awards & Recognition
Polsinelli Shareholder Melissa Ho Receives 2017 Children’s Law Center Clinic Award
October 20, 2017
Polsinelli Names Shareholder Michelle Clardy Dobbs Director of Pro-Bono Services
September 8, 2017
"We are committed to advancing the rights of the underprivileged because it is the right thing to do and because we have an obligation to our communities and the legal profession to ensure that justice is served.”
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