Thirty area law firms were honored today by the federal judiciary for their commitment to performing pro bono work during the past year.
The annual ‘40 at 50’ Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast recognizes firms in which at least 40% of attorneys performed 50 or more hours of pro bono legal work. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Royce Lamberth (pictured right) noted that when the event was first held in 2004, only seven firms qualified.
Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit also had high praise for the firms that met the 50-hour benchmark; Chief Judge David Sentelle couldn’t attend this year due to a conflict with another event.
Citing the city’s high rates of poverty and unemployment, Merrick told the attorneys that their commitment to providing free legal services was more important than ever.
“We are not powerless against these statistics,” he said in his remarks. “ I ask you to continue your partnerships with area legal service providers.”
More than 100 firms were eligible for consideration this year; to be eligible, firms must have a D.C. office and at least 25 attorneys.
Firms honored included: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Arnold & Porter; Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Covington & Burling; Crowell & Moring; Debevoise & Plimpton; Dewey & LeBoeuf; DLA Piper; Foley & Lardner; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Hogan Lovells; Hughes Hubbard & Reed; Jenner & Block; Jones Day; Kirkland & Ellis; Mayer Brown; McDermott Will & Emery; Miller & Chevalier; Morrison & Foerster; O’Melveny & Myers; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Patton Boggs; Reed Smith; Shearman & Sterling; Sidley Austin; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; SNR Denton; Steptoe & Johnson LLP; Williams & Connolly; Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr.
DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells and SNR Denton received special recognition for having more than 40% of partners perform more than 50 hours of pro bono work. DLA Piper and Sonnenschein received the same recognition during last year’s event.
Susan Hoffman, co-chair of the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, said she senses more firms are paying attention to the number of attorneys performing pro bono work, and not just the total hours performed.
“Firms want to be represented here,” said Hoffman, who oversees pro bono work at Crowell & Moring.
More scenes from the event after the jump.