Resources & Training

2012 D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report

(Report of the 2012 Results, July 2013)


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 hours, or alternatively, 60 or 100 hours for every lawyer in the firm, and to report their progress annually to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. 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] By 2009, an additional 23 firms joined the initiative, bringing the number of participating firms up to 64. As of 2012, a total of 62 firms participate in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative annually.[2] The reporting year 2012 marked the 11th year of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative.

Responses

In May of 2013, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program circulated a survey to all 62 firms participating in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative, gathered survey responses, and aggregated the statistics in this report. This reporting year, all 62 of the 62 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 62 reporting firms contributed 825,415 pro bono hours with 10,139 full–time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices—an average of 81 hours per attorney.
  • The 61 firms that responded in both 2011 and 2012 reported a total of 776,234 pro bono hours in 2011 and 824,525 in 2012, an increase of about 6%. The firms reported 9,979 full–time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices in 2011 and 10,045 full–time equivalent attorneys in 2012, an increase of about .7%. Average pro bono hours per attorney at these 61 firms were 78 in 2011 compared to 82 in 2012, an increase of approximately 5.5%.
  • 56 of the 62 firms provided enough information to verify whether they achieved the 3 or 5 percent benchmarks set by the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge ®.
  • The 54 reporting firms enrolled in the Pro Bono Challenge® pledged to have pro bono hours account for an average of at least 3.4% of their total billable hours. In 2012, these firms actually contributed an average of 4.6% of their billable hours to pro bono work.
  • In 2012, 9 of the 54 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%.
  • 80.5 percent of attorneys participated in pro bono work in 2012; an approximate 2% increase in attorney participation from 2011.
  • Based on the responses of 62 firms, approximately 90% of all non–partner attorneys and 69% of partners in these firms participated in pro bono work.[4]
  • In 2012, 48% of attorneys who performed pro bono service from the 62 reporting firms each completed at least 50 hours of pro bono work. Of the 61 firms reporting in both 2011 and 2012, 48% of attorneys each contributed at least 50 hours of pro bono work in 2012, a two percentage point increase from 2011.

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Management Practices

Pro Bono Hours Credited Toward Billable/Bonus Targets: Of the 62 firms that reported on their respective pro bono/billable hour policies, 93.5% (58) reported crediting non–partner attorneys’ pro bono hours toward billable requirements and bonuses. Among these same firms, approximately 60% (37) provide partner attorneys with billable credit.

Pro Bono Managers: Over half of reporting firms have either part–time or full–time attorneys managing the firm’s pro bono program. Twenty–three percent of reporting firms have either a part–time or full–time non–attorney managing the firm’s pro bono program.

Budgeting for Pro Bono: Forty–two percent of the firms budget for pro bono goals.

Pro Bono Requirements: Some firms set a minimum pro bono requirement, and 73% (45) report that partners are expected to perform pro bono service. Seventy–four percent of firms communicate a pro bono expectation during new attorney orientation.

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program 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 2012 Results

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arent Fox PLLC
Arnold & Porter LLP
Baker Botts LLP
Beveridge & Diamond
Bingham McCutchen LLP
Blank Rome LLP
Bryan Cave LLP
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Dechert LLP
Dentons US LLP[5]
Dickstein Shapiro LLP
DLA Piper US LLP
Dow Lohnes PLLC
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[6]
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP[7]
King & Spalding LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
K&L Gates LLP
Latham & Watkins LLP
Mayer Brown LLP
McDermott, Will & Emery LLP
McKenna Long & Aldridge 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[8]
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Patton Boggs LLP
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Reed Smith LLP
Shearman & Sterling LLP
Sidley Austin LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom 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] Howrey LLP dissolved in 2011 and Dewey & Leboeuf LLP dissolved in 2012, reducing the total number of reporting firms from 64 to 62.
[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] Total non–partners and partners are calculated by full–time equivalent as of December 31, 2012, whereas attorneys participating in pro bono work are calculated by actual head count.
[5] Formerly known as SNR Denton LLP.
[6] Jones Day is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.
[7] Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.
[8] Formerly known as Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.