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2014 D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative Report

(Report of the 2014 Results, July 2015)


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 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]  The number of firms participating in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative has grown over the years, with 61 firms participating in the Initiative in 2014. This report, covering calendar year 2014, is the thirteenth that the Initiative has issued.

Responses

In May of 2015, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program circulated a survey to all 61 firms participating in the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Initiative, gathered survey responses, and aggregated the statistics in this report. This reporting year, all 61 pledged firms responded to the survey, at least in part. [2]  The statistics below note participation accordingly.

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Aggregate Performance

  • Combined, the 61 reporting firms contributed 803,520 pro bono hours with 9,676 full-time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices--an average of 83 hours per attorney
  • The 60 firms [3] that responded in both 2013 and 2014 reported a total of 871,749 pro bono hours in 2013 and 797,838 in 2014, a decrease of approximately 9%. The firms reported 9,856 full-time equivalent attorneys in their D.C. offices in 2013 and 9,562 full-time equivalent attorneys in 2014, a decrease of about 3%. Average pro bono hours per attorney at these 60 firms were 88.5 in 2013 compared to 83.4 in 2014, a decrease of approximately 6%. [4]
  • 52 of the 61 firms provided enough information to verify whether they achieved the 3 or 5 percent benchmarks set by the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®. [5]  Those 52 firms had pledged to have pro bono hours account for an average of at least 3.4% of their total billable hours. In 2014, these firms actually contributed an average of 3.57% of their billable hours to pro bono work.
  • 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 83% of attorneys in the responding firms participated in pro bono work in 2014, consistent with the attorney participation in 2013 of the same firms.
  • In 2014, 38% of attorneys in the 61 reporting firms completed at least 50 hours of pro bono work, consistent with the results from 2013. 
  • Approximately 49% (30) firms track the number of pro bono hours that are dedicated to those of limited means. Twenty-eight firms reported 329,755 total pro bono hours, with 252,058 976%) 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, 96.7% (59) reported crediting non-partner attorneys’ pro bono hours toward billable-hours requirements and bonuses. Among these same firms, 60% (36) provide partner attorneys with billable credit.
  • Pro Bono Managers:    Of the 60 responding firms, approximately 88% of firms have oversight provided by the firm's Pro Bono Committee. A majority of firms have either a part-time or a full-time attorney managing the firm's pro bono program. 
  • Pro Bono Requirements:  Approximately 23% of firms set a minimum pro bono requirement for attorneys and 83% (49) report that partners are expected to perform pro bono service. A little over 90% 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 2014 Results
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arent Fox PLLC
Arnold & Porter LLP
Baker Botts LLP
Beveridge & Diamond
Blank Rome LLP
Bryan Cave LLP

Cooley LLP [7]
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
Covington & Burling LLP
Crowell & Moring LLP
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Dechert LLP
Dentons US LLP
Dickstein Shapiro LLP
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 [8]
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP [9] 
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 [10]
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Nixon Peabody LLP
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP [11]
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe 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
Squire Patton Boggs LLP [12]
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] 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. 
[3] To accurately compare year to year data, we only include firms that have responded in both the current and the previous year. This year 61 firms reported however only 60 of those firms reported in both 2013 and 2014.
[4] Cooley LLP participated in 2014 but not 2013, Bingham McCutchen LLP participated in 2013 and merged with Morgan Lewis &Bockius LLP in 2014. Cooley and Bingham McCutchen were not included in the comparison of reporting firms from 2013 and 2014.
[5]
Two firms submitted a percentage of pro bono hours but were not included in the count because these firms do not commit to a benchmark of 3% or 5%.
[6] Four 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] Dow Lohnes merged with Cooley, a non-participating firm in 2013 and is no longer a reporting firm. Cooley began reporting in 2014.
 
[8] Jones Day LLP is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.
[9] Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is not enrolled in the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®.
[10] Bingham McCutchen LLP merged with Morgan Lewis &Bockius LLP in 2014.

[11] Formerly known as Fulbright& Jaworski LLP.
[12] Formerly known as Patton Boggs LLP.

View the 2013 D.C. Bar Initiative Report.