The term "pro bono" comes from the Latin pro bono publico, which means "for the public good." The ABA defines the parameters of pro bono for performing lawyers in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Model Rule 6.1 states that lawyers should aim to render--without fee--at least 50 hours of pro bono publico legal services per year, with an importance that these services be provided to people of limited means or non-profit organizations that serve the poor. The rule identifies that only lawyers have the special skills and knowledge wanted to secure access to justice for low-income people, whose enormous unmet legal needs are well documented. Almost every state has an ethical rule that calls upon lawyers to render pro bono services.
Her Justice (www.herjustice.org) – earlier called InMotion, Her Justice helps women in New York City who are suffering poverty and, often, domestic abuse. Lawyers deliver advice on immigration, orders of protection, and divorces, among many other things.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (www.vlany.org) –introduced in 1969, New York-based VLA offers legal representation to low-income individual artists and non-profit arts organizations. Partner firms include Akin Gump, Fitzpatrick, Gibson Dunn, Axinn, Hangley, Davis Polk, and Cravath.
My Sister's Place (www.mysistersplacedc.org) – My Sister's Place arrange residential shelters and a range of support services (including legal) to victims of domestic violence, and their children.
Human Rights First (www.humanrightsfirst.org) – recognized in 1978, In the beginning, Human Rights works with people at home and abroad whose human rights are at risk: for example, refugees, victims of crimes against humankind, and people who have been discriminated against. Offices are in Washington, DC, New York and Houston. Involving in pro bono chances for lawyers, the organization offers summer and semester internships to law students.
The Bronx Defenders (www.bronxdefenders.org) –services criminal defense, family defense, civil legal services, advocacy and other support to indigent residents of the Bronx..
The Innocence Project (www.innocenceproject.org) – was originated in 1992 by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld at Cardozo Law to absolve prisoners who DNA testing could prove innocence. Proposing litigation services and public policy recommendations, to date, it has helped clear over 300 people, including 18 on death row. Lawyers deal their pro bono services from firms including Winston & Strawn, Paul, Weiss, WilmerHale, Schiff Hardin, Weil Gotshal, Skadden and Fried Frank.
Ladder Up (www.goladderup.org) – supports low-income people in the Chicago area file tax returns and claim tax credits. Also offers financial backing workshops and advice on financial aid for college. Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis, Paul Hastings, and Reed Smith are Partner firms of Ladder Up.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) (https://supportkind.org) – co-founded by Angelina Jolie, DC-headquartered KIND provides legal representation to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in their deportation proceedings. KIND has offices in Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, New York and Seattle rather than DC.
Immigration Equality (www.immigrationequality.org) – be responsible for free legal services to LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants. Immigration Equality has a network of lawyers who provide pro bono and also proposes internship opportunities to law, grad and undergrad students.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) (http://tldef.org) – promotes transgender civil rights in areas including employment discrimination, equal access to health care, and helping with legal name changes.
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