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Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms | Colorado Law Firm Group | Crowell & Moring LLP | Dorsey & Whitney | Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson | Hale and Dorr | Hogan & Hartson | Holland & Knight | Leonard, Street & Deinard PA | Morrison & Foerster LLP | Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom | Sullivan & Cromwell | Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan | Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz | Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering

Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms
The Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms was formed in 1987 to:

  • Assist Chicago law firms in developing strategies to identify, recruit, hire, retain and promote to partnership minority lawyers

  • Assist minority law students in obtaining employment in large law firms in Chicago, and

  • Serve as a support group for minority lawyers in large firms by providing a forum in which those lawyers can exchange ideas, suggestions and strategies regarding problems encountered in the large law firm setting

The Chicago Committee presents independent programming as well as programming in cooperation with various national, state, city and minority bar organizations and law schools. Its goals are to:

  • Develop strategies to assist law firms in identifying, recruiting, hiring, retaining and promoting to partnership minority lawyers

  • Provide minority lawyers with a mechanism for support, feedback and networking

  • Assist minority law students in obtaining summer associate positions and permanent employment in large law firms

  • Educate lawyers, law firms and the legal profession about the importance of diversity within the legal profession

  • Encourage the development of similar committees throughout the country

The Chicago Committee collects, develops and disseminates strategies to assist firms in recruiting and hiring minority lawyers. Its publications include: "Strategies for the Development of Minority Recruitment and Retention Programs in Law Firms"; "When Bigger is Better," about the pros and cons of large firm practice; and "My Firm's Better Than Your Firm," about the differences among firms. It also conducts a Road Shows Program, as part of an ongoing effort to increase the pool of talented minority applicants for its member firms. The Road Shows Program consists of panels of three to six minority lawyers who visit various law schools outside Chicago to discuss large firm practice and to encourage students to consider Chicago's large law firms as a place to launch their careers.

The Chicago Committee maintains a list of more than 250 minority associates and over 100 minority partners at the 50 largest law firms in the city of Chicago. We organize annual meetings of minority partners in large Chicago law firms. And we conduct on-campus panel discussions with minority law students at schools in Chicago and around the country to describe large firm practice, to explain the credentials necessary for employment with large firms, and to encourage minority law students to apply for employment with large Chicago firms. A variety of other programs, including a tips seminar and luncheons with minority judges and other role models, provide summer associates with information concerning pitfalls, problems, and strategies for success, mentors to contact, and background information on the firms and the City, and educate them about the legal profession and the Chicago legal community.

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Colorado Law Firm Group
Pledge to Racial and Ethnic Diversity
The Pledge to Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Colorado law firms was originally signed in April, 1993. Our purpose then was to set forth clear, realistic and attainable goals for the enhancement of racial and ethnic diversity in Colorado law firms. We agreed to join together in this undertaking because it was apparent to each of us that, despite individual efforts and good intentions, we had been unsuccessful in achieving the level of diversity that we wanted and should have attained.

We of the Colorado legal community take great pride in our profession. Ours is a profession representing the rights of the privileged, the underprivileged, the many, and the few. We, as attorneys, should understand better than most the meaning of the words "Equal Opportunity." Yet we are acutely aware that, in Colorado, as elsewhere, equal opportunity in the legal field has not been fully available. We have made progress in the seven years since the Pledge was first signed, yet there are still far too few attorneys of color recruited, hired, trained, retained, and invited to join the partnership ranks in Colorado law firm-large, medium or small.

We believe that Colorado law firms must make positive and determined efforts to remedy this failure. We remain committed to recruiting, hiring, training, retaining, and inviting to partnership African American/Black, Asian Pacific American, Native American Indian, and Hispanic attorneys.

We have learned since the Pledge was first signed that the necessary changes will not be achieved by words alone. We now believe that in order to achieve the goals stated in the Pledge, it is necessary for us to not only commit philosophically to those goals, but to commit resources towards activities which we as a group believe will have a positive impact.

We are but a microcosm of the greater society within which we live. However, we propose to lead rather than follow, move forward rather than stand still. Although the specific goals set forth in this Pledge are directed toward attaining racial and ethnic diversity in Colorado law firms, each signatory believes that diversity, in its many facets, including, without limitation, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, differently-abled, and gender enriches us all.

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"To my clients I will be faithful, and in their causes, zealous and industrious. Those who can afford to compensate me, must do so; but I shall never close my ear or heart, because my client's means are low. Those who have none, and who have just causes, are, of all others, the best entitled to sue, or be defended; and they shall receive a due portion of my services, cheerfully given."

David Hoffman
A Course of Legal Study

Crowell & Moring LLP
In response to President Clinton's Call for heightened pro bono assistance to communities of color and, in particular, in response to the One America Program, Crowell & Moring LLP has accepted additional cases from both national and local civil rights organizations, including the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

  • The Firm filed an amicus curiae brief before the California Supreme Court on behalf of the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium and other national and community organizations committed to ensuring equal opportunity to Asian Pacific Americans. High Voltage v. City of San Jose will decide whether San Jose's outreach program for contractors who hold contracts with the City violates Proposition 209's mandate that the state shall not grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of ethnicity or national origin.

  • Representing the Equal Rights Center and two African American residents of Southeast, D.C., Crowell & Moring, along with the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, filed suit in federal district court alleging that Diamond Cab Company discriminates in its services by failing to dispatch cabs for black Southeast sector residents. The Firm also went to trial in federal district court on a case filed a year ago in which it represents two individuals alleging similar discrimination in being refused taxicab service to a Northwest location. Verdict in favor of plaintiffs was returned for $120,000.

  • The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law requested the Firm's assistance in the preparation of an appellants' brief in the D.C. Circuit on behalf of several members of a class of African American farmers, which had settled a lawsuit based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's denial of loans to them because of their race.

  • The Washington Lawyers' Committee enlisted the Firm's assistance in a 5th Circuit case challenging the constitutionality of the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988. The Firm filed two amicus curiae briefs, one on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association, and the other on behalf of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and other groups that represent the interests of people with disabilities. The case was brought by a community home for Alzheimer's patients after authorities in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana refused to make a modest accommodation in their zoning regulations to allow five unrelated residents to live in a home instead of the four permitted by the zoning regulations. The briefs emphasized the importance of eliminating segregation of those with disabilities and the impact of housing discrimination on interstate commerce.

  • The Firm represented three chiefs of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe in bringing suit against the Bureau of Indian Affairs ("BIA") to obtain recognition for their Three Chief Tribal Council as the legitimate governing body for the tribe. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ended nearly four years of dispute, ruling that the Government had acted arbitrarily in failing to recognize the Three Chief Tribal Council, a governing system that had been in place for nearly 200 years, as the legitimate government rather than a newly proffered Constitutional Council favored by the BIA.

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Dorsey & Whitney
Dorsey & Whitney has long been committed to providing legal services to low-income individuals, and performing transactional pro bono work for the community and non-profit groups. In addition to structured pro bono programs in the areas of Housing, Family Law, Native American Issues, and Transactional Matters, Dorsey & Whitney also supports broad scale pro bono cases in areas such as environmental protection, death penalty, political asylum, and international human rights. Dorsey & Whitney continues to search for innovative ways to staff and administer law firm pro bono programs, and shares this information in a comprehensive pro bono policy handbook.

An example of the Firm's pro bono work is Thomas County Branch of the NAACP v. City of Thomasville School District. As a result of legal representation by Dorsey & Whitney, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, some 2,500 African American school children in Thomasville, Georgia are entertaining the possibility of equal schooling for the first time. In Thomasville, African American children are segregated from white students and receive far inferior educational instruction. They attend segregated schools or are segregated from white children in schools with substantial numbers of both white and black students, while the most experienced teachers are assigned to schools with white students. In addition, white students are predominately placed in gifted and talented classes, yet black students have few educational resources, such as books and computers. On October 2, 1998, the Lawyers' Committee and Dorsey & Whitney filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nine parents of African American school children and the county. The complaint charged the Thomasville school system with operating racially segregated and unequal schooling for white and black students. Dorsey & Whitney and Lawyer's Committee are continuing discussions with the school district regarding resolution of this case.

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Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson
Strategies for the Recruitment and Retention of a Diverse Associate Body

Recruitment

  • Outreach to student organizations, by letters and recruiting brochures to students of color and their organizations at target law schools

  • Financial sponsorship and speakers to student organizations at target law schools

  • With fellowship partners NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. (LDF), and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) programs presented at law schools, including how private law firms and public interest organizations can work together on civil rights issues

  • Minority attorneys actively participate in all phases of the firm's recruitment process, including diverse teams sent to law school on-campus events, and diverse membership of the Recruitment Committee

  • Participation in student of color job fairs

  • A Fall dinner for local students of color who have Fried, Frank offers

  • Inclusion of Firm's Diversity Statement in recruiting materials

  • All summer associates given the opportunity to state factors important to them as they are matched with associate advisors. Students of color often request to be matched with attorneys of color

  • Consideration of the status of minority students at every phase of recruitment process

  • Teams of attorneys assigned to follow-up with students of color. The closing teams suggest call-back interview schedules, organize lunches/dinners, etc.

  • Participation in the SEO Career Program, which places students of color in law firms for summer internships

Retention

  • Diversity Committee and its working groups serve as a forum for discussion of issues relating to diversity at the Firm

  • Hand-picked advisors for new associates

  • An annual dinner for attorneys of color in Firm's domestic offices

  • Encouragement of minority attorneys to actively participate in bar associations, including minority bar associations

  • Diverse attorney participation in the Firm's orientation programs for new entry-level and lateral associates

  • Associates Committee includes attorneys of color among its leadership

  • Sponsorship of language discussion groups in French, Spanish and Mandarin

  • Regular meetings for associates who came to the United States for their education or to start their careers

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Hale and Dorr
Hale and Dorr encourages leadership and support on the part of our attorneys through matching gift programs and service on boards and committees. We are a charter signatory to the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Challenge. Each year, Hale and Dorr contributes an amount of pro bono legal services equivalent to approximately 50 hours per attorney. In addition, we sponsor these programs:

Hale and Dorr's Youth and Education Initiative: In 1997, the Firm partnered with four different organizations to provide a wide menu of volunteer opportunities, and to work with organizations that would benefit significantly from a model that incorporates financial support, volunteer service, and in-kind support. In addition to specific volunteer programs, non-lawyer managers and directors offer advice and assistance in their areas of expertise, including human resources, information technology, finance, accounting, graphics and office systems. The Firm hosts several trainings, meetings and events for the non-profits, and attorneys serve on advisory boards. Incorporating these diverse voluntary efforts into one program, our unique model has helped build the infrastructure of our four partner organizations, which may, in the long run, be our most important contribution. The Youth and Education Initiative provides for inner city youth a more positive exposure to law and the judicial system, and gives them an opportunity to feel empowered in their day-to-day lives.

Our partners include Citizens Schools, which provides summer and after-school educational opportunities for more than 1600 middle school children who participate in apprenticeships taught by more than 1200 citizen volunteers. Hale and Dorr has taught apprenticeship classes in law, puppet making, and reading, and introduced Citizens Schools to the Federal Court Public Education Project. Another partner, Teen Empowerment, seeks to provide young men and women (ages 14-20) the opportunity to develop and demonstrate leadership skills in their communities. Hale and Dorr's summer internship program employs three Teen Empowerment students. The interns' summer experience culminates in a mock trial with summer interns from Cathedral High School. Hale and Dorr also participates in Teen Empowerment's annual Peace Conference in Boston. And another partner, Cathedral High School, serves the educational activities of high school students from over 21 different ethnic backgrounds. Hale and Dorr holds two annual college application workshops there, and an annual Career Day. In addition, attorneys from the Firm have helped Cathedral High students prepare for a state-wide mock trial competition.

The success of our Youth and Education initiative is due to many factors. First, this Initiative was championed and supported by the Firm's Managing Partner, and other senior partners have provided significant time, leadership, and visibility to the effort. Second, the Firm allocated resources to manage the relationships with the non-profit organizations, including hiring a full-time Public Services Manager with experience in the non-profit world. Third, the Firm also assembled teams led by partners, but including associates and staff, to work with each organization and with the Public Services Manager to further develop the Initiative and ensure that the volunteer experiences are fulfilling, efficient, and add value for both Hale and Dorr and the organizations.

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Hogan & Hartson
The Hogan & Hartson Community Services Department ("CSD") handled hundreds of pro bono matters in 1999, ranging from individual representation of indigent clients to large cases of nationwide import, and from litigation at all levels of the state and federal courts to transactional matters of varied size and complexity.

Much of the firm's pro bono work continued to focus on the special needs of the District of Columbia. We assisted the District itself in its effort to reform its child support enforcement system, in complex litigation involving Dupont Circle, and in efforts to reform the system for delivering medical care to inmates of the D.C. Jail. We continued to work toward successful opening of the Developing Families Center, an organization that will operate a comprehensive service center for low-income and troubled families in Northeast Washington. And we focused on the needs of District children not only by assisting the Developing Families Center and by helping reform the District's child support enforcement system, but also by taking on scores of individual domestic matters involving child custody and support and protection against domestic violence.

Our work for equality and civil rights continued on numerous fronts. We continued our battle on behalf of the African American community threatened for a second time with dislocation by the siting of a new Route 50 on Maryland's Eastern Shore, a battle that has now resulted in a very favorable settlement with federal and Maryland highway officials. Once again, we handled voting rights matters around the South, from North Carolina to Augusta, Georgia, to Bossier Parish, Louisiana. We continued to pursue equal justice in public accommodations through our monitoring role in the Denny's litigation and through efforts to combat discrimination at Motel 6's across the country. We represented a whistleblower who was fired for complaining about the practice of the United States consulate in Brazil of adjudicating visa applications based on race and ethnicity. We handled innumerable asylum and other alienage and immigration matters as well, including our role as class counsel in a Seattle case seeking to prevent the INS from stripping citizenship from naturalized citizens without having to go to court first.

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Holland & Knight
Holland & Knight is committed to providing equal access to the legal system. The Firm's pro bono goal is to devote three percent of our total billable hours to pro bono work. The Firm has a pro bono partner in all 22 Holland & Knight offices, and our Community Service Team focuses on pro bono cases involving significant issues, and those that impact significant numbers of people. The Firm considers all approved pro bono work in evaluations, advancements, and compensation decisions involving our associates and partners.

The following is one example of Holland & Knight's commitment in this area:

In the 1920s, Rosewood, Florida, was a prosperous working class African American community whose residents were independent, free and industrious people. In 1923, however, the community was decimated by an allegedly revenge attack by whites. At least six African Americans were killed, and the town was burned to ashes. The governor and the local sheriff ignored the events. The surviving African Americans escaped into the nearby wilderness. In 1992, Holland & Knight filed a claims bill to compensate the twelve known Rosewood survivors for their losses. As a result, a study was commissioned to determine the events of the Rosewood Massacre. The claims of the survivors that the state was on notice of the likelihood of an attack on Rosewood and failed to act to prevent the tragedy were substantiated. Compensation in the amount of $2.1 million has been distributed to the survivors and their descendants.

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Leonard, Street & Deinard PA
Having signed onto the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, Leonard, Street looked for an innovative pro bono project to meet the Challenge's goal for volunteer service. Learning that the Community University Health Care Center sought to provide more comprehensive services, including legal assistance and advocacy, to its patients and other community residents, Leonard, Street hired a full-time coordinator to establish a full-service legal assistance clinic at the health care center.

Located in a marginalized district of Minneapolis, nearly 95% of the clinic's patients have household incomes at or below the poverty level, the majority are persons of color, and more than a third are Asian refugees. Through the clinic, hundreds of clients have received assistance with family law, housing, consumer, employment, immigration, and public benefits issues. Firm lawyers also write a regular column on legal rights in the neighborhood newspaper, and publish brochures on common legal topics that are translated into several languages. They also work closely with community nonprofit groups to sustain affordable housing in the neighborhood, and deal with environmental hazards.

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Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster has a strong record of commitment to excellence and, in pursuit of excellence, to the advancement of lawyers of color and women in the legal profession. Seven percent of our partners, 31% of our associates, and 41% of our summer associates are lawyers of color. Our firm-wide Diversity Task Force and diversity program have provided diversity awareness training programs for lawyers and staff in each of our U.S. offices. Recommendations coming from these programs, including mentoring and educational programs, are implemented by each office's Diversity Committee. The Morrison & Foerster Foundation funds four three-year Minority Law Student Scholarships awarded through the Bar Association of San Francisco Endowment Fund to encourage students of color to attend Northern California public law schools. Other scholarship funding includes the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Summer Test Program at Howard University.

Morrison & Foerster also has a long history of commitment to providing free legal services to indigent persons and in matters of public interest. Our attorneys have volunteered their time and expertise in class action cases to benefit tens of thousands of people, and in thousands of other cases to help individuals who otherwise would have been denied access to the justice system. Pro bono activities at our offices around the country cover the full range of public interest work, from staffing legal service clinics and counseling over 150 nonprofit organizations to handling high-impact litigation. Our greatest efforts have focused on assisting children in poverty, school education issues, civil rights and civil liberties cases, international human rights and political asylum matters, and issues of housing and homelessness.

Morrison & Foerster believes it is an essential part of a lawyer's professional responsibility to perform pro bono work and engage in other activities that benefit the community. The firm handles pro bono engagements according to the same standards of practice applicable to paying clients, including the same supervision, support and staffing. All time spent on client pro bono work counts towards an attorney's minimum hours expectation. Pro bono work also receives the same consideration during associate evaluations. Morrison & Foerster is a Charter Signatory to the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Challenge. In 1999, our partners and associates expended over 47,000 hours representing pro bono clients, which is equivalent to almost 4% of our billable time. Approximately 117 partners and 204 associates participated in pro bono activities.

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"Equality... is a difficult and elusive goal. In our nation, it has been the cause of a civil war, powerful political movements, and countless violent uprisings."

David Cole
No Equal Justice

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Skadden, Arps has a strong commitment to providing legal services to individuals and non-profit organizations that cannot afford to pay for representation. The firm has handled cases in a wide range of areas including housing, government benefits, political asylum, divorce, domestic violence, real estate, criminal appeals, and employment discrimination.

In a current non-litigation case, Skadden, Arps is representing the Community Development Bank, N.A. involving its establishment and regulatory approvals. Additionally, the firm sponsors two externships with the Legal Aid Society's Community Law Office, and Lawyers Alliance for New York.

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Sullivan & Cromwell
In Leesburg, Florida, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law, with Sullivan & Cromwell serving as co-counsel, secured a far-reaching consent decree for the Pine Street African American community in Tri-City Branch NAACP v. City of Leesburg. Civil rights laws were used to challenge the city's long neglect, and more recently, the outright destruction of portions of the African American community. The litigation employed the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to challenge residential segregation, zoning practices, municipal housing assistance policies, discriminatory community development and municipal expenditures, and building code enforcement practices that have segregated the African American community and choked off investment and opportunity. The consent decree promotes "desegregative housing choices and other economic opportunities" and provides funds for the first community development corporation (CDC) ever established for the Pine Street community. This CDC will formulate a comprehensive development plan for the area involved in dispute.

This is just one example of Sullivan & Cromwell's commitment to providing pro bono service to people of color. Through a formal pro bono program, the Firm undertakes both litigation and transactional matters, and represents individuals as well as non-profit and charitable organizations. The Firm considers work performed on pro bono matters in our attorney evaluations.

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Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan
Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan is committed to providing pro bono services to low-income individuals, as well as to educational, charitable, and professional organizations. We organize these activities through our Bar and Public Service Committee. The Firm's pro bono goal is 50 hours per attorney per year, and time spent on pro bono matters is credited to our associates and partners in the same manner as billable hours. Additionally, the firm sponsors two National Association for Public Interest Law (NAPIL) Fellows; as well as a Thrower Fellow, a firm associate who works at Atlanta Legal Aid for approximately four months each year.

Sutherland, Asbill's Washington, D.C. office handles cases referred to it by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Clinic, and Lawyers for Children, among others. Sutherland lawyers in our Atlanta office have staffed the Atlanta Legal Aid Society's Saturday Morning Program, assisted the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation in providing free legal services to the indigent, volunteered for the "1000 Lawyers for Justice" project, and defended indigent persons in the criminal legal system in Fulton County, Georgia, among others activities.

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Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz encourages its attorneys to perform pro bono work. Attorneys at the firm handle both litigation and transactional matters for indigent members of the community in an effort to provide equal access to the legal system. In one notable case from the past year, the Firm represented a broad coalition of civil rights organizations in submitting an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in Brzonkala v. Morrison, in which the constitutionality of the Federal Violence Against Women Act was defended.

The firm is committed to promoting diversity. We are a signatory to the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention, and have recently signed the Reaffirmation of these goals. In addition to the Statement of Goals, the firm has significantly increased the percentage of persons of color who have been hired as associates in the past three years.

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Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering
Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering's role in establishing Washington D.C.'s City First Bank offers an example of how lawyers can help inner-city residents secure financial stability and improve their communities. Committing more than 3,000 hours of pro bono time and the specialized skills of more than thirty of its lawyers to this project, Wilmer, Cutler used its expertise in banking and regulatory work, as well as corporate, tax and other business practices, to address a systemic problem in the District's poorest neighborhoods: The unavailability of loans at reasonable rates for potential homeowners and small businesses. Thanks to community leaders' vision and the firm's expertise, the concept of a community bank-first envisioned at a meeting in 1993-became a reality. City First Bank offers credit and financial services to individuals, businesses and nonprofits, and provides the financial resources to leverage the human capital already available.

As evidence of Wilmer, Cutler's ongoing commitment to pro bono work, the Firm has created and staffed the full-time position of Pro Bono Counsel, who coordinates and administers pro bono matters for the Firm, and helps develop new pro bono projects. Wilmer, Cutler's pro bono work often involves civil rights issues, representation of persons on death row, and matters affecting persons of modest means; as well as assisting organizations that serve them in such areas as landlord-tenant law, child custody matters, and social security and welfare controversies.

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