Pro Bono Facts At-A-Glance
Total number of pro bono hours worked by Schiff Hardin lawyers in 2011
Percentage of Schiff Hardin associates who did pro bono work in 2011
Percentage of Schiff Hardin partners who did pro bono work in 2011
Percentage of total firm billable hours spent on pro bono matters
Number of Christmas presents that Schiff Hardin lawyers and staff delivered in 2011 to children at the Alex Haley Academy in Chicago
Number of Schiff Hardin lawyers and staff who participated in National Rebuilding Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012, renovating and painting the home of an elderly man in Chicago
In a famous article, the late Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. called on the bar — and particularly lawyers in private practice — to do their part to secure "freedom and equality of rights and opportunities, in a realistic and not merely formal sense, to all the people of this nation."
This is a lofty and ambitious goal, but one that we're willing to undertake. That's why we have met the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Challenge for large law firms for the last three years by devoting more than three percent of total annual billable hours to pro bono activities.
Our pro bono work is far-ranging. We represent institutions seeking social or legal change, immigrants seeking asylum, criminal defendants challenging their convictions, and indigent people facing eviction. We take on causes that affect society as a whole and serve individuals who have nowhere else to turn.
Recent pro bono accomplishments of which we are particularly proud include the following:
- We convinced a Georgia court to vacate our client’s death sentence on the grounds that he is mentally retarded. The ruling represented the first time a Georgia court had found that an inmate was mentally retarded beyond a reasonable doubt.
- We intervened on behalf of The Humane Society of the United States, the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation, to assist the State of California in defending a statute banning the practice of shark finning.
- We represent Broadway in South Africa, an organization that brings working singers, dancers, and musicians from New York to work with South African children, in connection with its formation as a not-for-profit corporation and other corporate, tax, and entertainment-related activities.
- One evening a month since 1979 we have staffed a Chicago Volunteer Legal Services street clinic in the Rogers Park neighborhood, providing free legal services to members of the community facing landlord-tenant disputes, bankruptcies, and foreclosures. Schiff Hardin was the first law firm to adopt a CVLS clinic.
- Working with the ACLU, we represent a gay couple who are challenging a bed and breakfast’s refusal to host a civil union ceremony and reception.
- We persuaded a federal district court to reduce our pro bono client’s sentence by ten years after challenging how the Sentencing Guidelines’ career offender provisions applied to his case.
- We acted as pro bono counsel to a City of Chicago/Cook County committee established to save money and improve services. In July 2012, the Cook County Board President announced that the initiative had already saved the City and County $33.4 million.
- In collaboration with the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, we obtained a new trial for an Indiana client based on advances in fire science showing that she couldn’t have set the fire that was the basis for her arson conviction.
For a more complete listing of Schiff Hardin’s pro bono commitments, visit our pro bono pages.