More than 4,000 lawyers in the D.C. legal community reported serving at least 50 pro bono hours in 2012, according to an announcement from the D.C. court system.
The courts' second annual Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll recognized D.C. bar members and other lawyers approved to do pro bono work in the city who met the goal of completing at least 50 hours of pro bono work. According to court officials, more than 2,400 of those lawyers reported completing more than 100 pro bono hours.
In a joint letter, D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield and D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington said they were "delighted" by the results of this year's honor roll, which featured self-reported tallies from area law firms and attorneys. The number of lawyers on this year's list grew by nearly 20 percent from the inaugural honor roll last year.
"Although D.C. has an extraordinary legal services network, the city desperately relies on attorneys in private and government practice to assist the thousands of indigent District residents who cannot afford counsel," the chief judges said. "We have long recognized that the D.C. legal community leads the nation in its commitment to pro bono service."
Of the more than 133 law firms that participated, Arnold & Porter led the group with the most participating attorneys—more than 230—followed closely by Hogan Lovells and Covington & Burling. The list also features solo practitioners and lawyers from government agencies and public interest groups.
Arnold & Porter partner Philip Horton, chair of the firm's pro bono committee, said via email they encourage attorneys to spend up to 15 percent of their total time on pro bono work and aim for full participation.
"This year is the 50th anniversary of our Firm’s most famous case-the Supreme Court’s decision in Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right to counsel for all persons accused of crimes-and we strive to make the goal of equal access to justice real, in both the criminal and civil context," he said.
The honor roll is supported by the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.
"At a time when many lawyers and law firms are continuing to experience economic pressures, it is deeply gratifying to see such a sharp rise in Honor Roll participation," said Georgetown University Law Center Professor Peter Edelman, chair of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission, in a statement. "It is a powerful statement of the dedication of our legal community to access to justice.”