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2015 D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report

(Report of the 2015 Results, August 2016)


Background

In 2001, 41 of the District’s largest law firms joined the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative and pledged to provide pro bono legal services at specified levels. The participating firms agreed to an annual pro bono commitment of either 3% or 5% of total client billable hours, or alternatively, an average of 60 or 100 hours for every lawyer in the firm. Additionally, those firms agreed to report their progress annually to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center. These standards were created by and are used with permission from the Pro Bono Institute and modeled on the Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®. [1]  The number of firms participating in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative has varied over the years, with 60 firms participating in the Initiative in 2015.

Responses

In May of 2016, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center circulated a survey to all 60 firms participating in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative, gathered survey responses, and aggregated the statistics in this report. [2] This reporting year, all 60 pledged firms responded to the survey, at least in part. [3]  The statistics below note participation accordingly.

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Aggregate Performance

  • Combined, the 60 reporting firms contributed 775,792 pro bono hours with 9,641 full-time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices--an average of 80 hours per attorney
  • The 59 firms [4] that responded in both 2014 and 2015 reported a total of 796,301 pro bono hours in 2014 and 771,820 in 2015, a decrease of approximately 3%. The firms reported 9,544 full-time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices in 2014 and 9,562 full-time equivalent attorneys in 2015. Average pro bono hours per attorney at these 59 firms were 83.4 in 2014 compared to 80.7 in 2015, a decrease of approximately 3%. [5]
  • In 2014, 10 of the 52 reporting firms enrolled in the Pro Bono Challenge® contributed 7% or more of their billable hours to pro bono work, more than double the average pledge of 3.4%
  • Approximately 84% of attorneys in the responding firms participated in pro bono work in 2015, an increase of 1% from attorney participation in 2014 of the same firms. 
  • In 2015, 37% of attorneys in the 59 reporting firms completed at least 50 hours of pro bono work, a 1% decrease with the results from 2014. 
  • Approximately 57% (34) firms track the number of pro bono hours that are dedicated to those of limited means in their D.C. office. Twenty-seven firms reported 278,643 total pro bono hours, with 212,935 (76%) hours being provided to those of limited means. [6]

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Management Practices

  • Pro bono hours credited toward billable/bonus targets:  Of the 60 responding firms, 68% (41) reported crediting pro bono hours toward billable-hours requirements and bonuses.
  • Pro Bono Managers:    Of the 60 responding firms, approximately 88% of firms have oversight provided by the firm's Pro Bono Committee; this is consistent with last year. A majority of firms (68%) have a full- time attorney managing the firm's pro bono program. 
  • Pro Bono Requirements:  Approximately 17% of firms set a minimum pro bono requirement for attorneys, and 75% (45) report that partners are expected to perform pro bono service. A little over 88% of firms communicate a pro bono expectation during new attorney orientation.
  • Pro Bono Budget: Of the 60 responding firms, 50% reported including pro bono goals in the firm's budget.

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center thanks the Pro Bono Institute for permission to use and affiliate with the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®. The Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® name is the property of the Pro Bono Institute and may not be further used or cited, in whole or in part, without prior written permission from the Pro Bono Institute.

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Firms Reporting 2015 Results
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arent Fox PLLC
Arnold & Porter LLP
Baker Botts LLP
Beveridge & Diamond
Blank Rome LLP [7]
Bryan Cave LLP
Cooley LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Dechert LLP
Dentons US LLP [8]
DLA Piper US LLP
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Epstein Becker & Green
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Foley & Lardner LLP
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Hogan Lovells US LLP
Holland & Knight LLP
Hunton & Williams LLP
Jenner & Block LLP
Jones Day LLP [9]
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP [10]  
King & Spalding LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
K&L Gates LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott, Will & Emery LLP
Miller & Chevalier Chartered
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky & Popeo PC
Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Nixon Peabody LLP
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
Perkins Coie LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Reed Smith LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Squire Patton Boggs LLP
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP
Venable LLP
Vinson & Elkins LLP
Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
Wiley Rein LLP
Williams & Connolly LLP
WilmerHale LLP
Winston & Strawn LLP
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP 


Notes
[1] Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® standards- http://www.probonoinst.org/resources/what-counts/ 
[2] Two of the 61 firms from the previous reporting year merged with 2 other reporting firms. An additional firm joined this year, which accounts for the change in number of reporting firms to 60.  
[3] Some firms have policies against providing information on their number of billable hours. As was the case last year, not all firms responded to all questions.
[4] To accurately compare year to year data, we only include firms that have responded in both the current and the previous year. This year 60 firms reported, however only 59 of those firms reported in both 2014 and 2015.
[5] Perkins Coie LLP participated in 2015, but not in 2014. Dickstein Shapiro LLP participated in 2014 and merged with Blank Rome LLP in February 2016. Blank Rome did not report on the attorneys from Dickstein Shapiro LLP who joined the firm for this report. McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP were included in the comparison of reporting firms from 2014 and 2015.

[6] Seven firms reported having the ability to track the number of pro bono hours dedicated to those of limited means but were unable to provide a specific number of hours for their D.C. office and thus were not included in the total number of pro bono hours. Not all firms track the number of hours dedicated to those of limited means. 
[7] Dickstein Shapiro LLP merged with Blank Rome LLP and is not included in this report. 

[8] McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP merged with Dentons US LLP and is included in this report as reported by Dentons US LPP.
[9] Jones Day LLP is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.
[10] Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.

View the 2014 D.C. Bar Initiative Report.