Pro Bono Philosophy and Practice
Are there pro bono opportunities for nonlitigators?
Yes. We regularly work with nonprofit agencies that require nonlitigation, legal help. For example, we have drafted contracts, prepared employee handbooks, reviewed leases, and prepared applications for tax-exempt status. In addition, there are opportunities to engage in pro bono work for individuals that do not involve going to court, such as trust and estate work, copyright and other protections for artists, and representation of low-income students in expulsion hearings.
Do junior associates get supervision when handling pro bono matters?
Every pro bono file has a supervising partner or counsel. Also, many of our pro bono partners offer mentoring from other volunteer attorneys that may be more experienced in the subject matter.
Does R&C have a policy and/or expectations for attorneys regarding pro bono hours?
R&C has a formal, written pro bono policy. Generally, pro bono is voluntary, with the caveat that all first- and second-year associates are expected to bill at least 50 hours of pro bono time in each of their first two years. More than half of our partners and more than two-thirds of our counsel and associates performed some pro bono work last year. We strongly encourage summer associate involvement in pro bono matters, as well. As evidence of our commitment to pro bono work, attorneys receive billable hour credit for time spent on pro bono matters.
How are pro bono matters made available to attorneys?
Pro bono opportunities are made available through e-mails from the Pro Bono Committee or direct referrals to attorneys that have received training from outside referral agencies. In addition, if any attorney has a pro bono project they would like the firm to consider, an email to the Pro Bono Committee requesting approval of the matter is usually all that is required.
Is billable hour credit given for pro bono work performed?
What are some examples of pro bono work the firm has done?
What is R&C's commitment to pro bono service?
We take the ethical obligation to provide legal services to those that cannot afford them very seriously, and all attorneys at R&C are strongly encouraged to engage in pro bono work. As evidence of our commitment to pro bono work, attorneys receive billable hour credit for time spent on pro bono matters. In a more formal way, R&C's commitment is demonstrated by its participation in the national Law Firm Challenge. As part of that challenge, we have pledged a yearly pro bono goal of 3% of attorneys' billable time. Lastly, a number of our attorneys serve on boards of directors for legal service providers.