Locke Lord has a rich and long-standing tradition of giving back to our communities through pro bono projects. We consider it an obligation and part of our responsibility as lawyers and as human beings to provide legal services to people who cannot afford them.
From complex political asylum cases that seek safety for people persecuted in their native countries to simple tax matters that make huge differences in the lives of everyday people, we attack each case with commitment and high-quality legal counsel. The American Bar Association Code of Professional Responsibility, Ethical Consideration EC 2-25, says: “Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, should find time to participate in serving the disadvantaged.” At Locke Lord, these are more than just words and, to our lawyers, pro bono truly matters. Here are just a few recent examples of our pro bono activities across several of our offices:
In Boston, we have assisted numerous artists, authors and arts organizations with various legal issues for more than 15 years through the Arts & Business Council Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts program. The Arts & Business Council provides quality direct legal and business services and ongoing educational programs to the creative community within Massachusetts. Since the 1980s, we have provided real estate legal services to Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which works with homeless teens in Boston, providing counseling, support and housing, and promoting education and job training.
In Chicago, Locke Lord lawyers handle numerous political asylum matters on behalf of the National Immigrant Justice Center, logging hundreds of pro bono hours to help individuals and families who seek political asylum in the United States because of persecution in their home countries. Chicago’s pro bono efforts also include work for Just The Beginning, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to offering pipeline programs directly aimed at inspiring young students and increasing diversity in the legal profession and judiciary. Chicago’s pro bono efforts also go toward intellectual property issues with Lawyers for the Creative Arts and legal matters for Equip for Equality and Cabrini Green Legal Aid. The Chicago office was honored for its noteworthy pro bono contributions by its inclusion in the Public Interest Law Initiative’s 2016 Pro Bono Recognition Roster and as the 2015 Volunteer Law Firm of the Year by the Center for Disability & Elder Law.
- National Immigrant Justice Center: Our political asylum clients are persecuted for religious, ethnic or political reasons and flee to the United States to save their lives. We represent clients from around the world, including from Darfur, the Central African Republic, Chad, Guatemala, Mali, Sierra Leone, Tibet and Zimbabwe, to name just a few. Read about one of our latest cases here.
- Re-Sentencing Hearing for Juvenile Mandatory Life Sentence Inmate: Locke Lord lawyers served as pro bono legal counsel to a Chicago-area man previously sentenced to life without parole for a crime committed as a juvenile. Read more about the case here.
- St. Procopius Legal Clinic: For more than 30 years, Locke Lord lawyers have provided legal advice to low-income residents who live in the neighborhoods around St. Procopius Church. We help with matters of family law, collections defense and landlord/tenant disputes, coordinating with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.
- Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind: Our lawyers help blind and visually impaired clients with tax matters, guardianship, bankruptcy, insurance disputes, employment issues and other legal challenges.
- Center for Disability and Elder Law: We help the Center’s clients with guardianship cases.
- Ladder Up: Lawyers prepare tax returns for low-income families through the Tax Assistance Program.
- Lawyers for the Creative Arts: We help disadvantaged artists who need assistance with disputes involving intellectual property.
- Consumers in Pet Store Lawsuit: Locke Lord, along with co-counsel from the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States, reached a settlement in a pro bono consumer lawsuit against Furry Babies, Inc., a Chicago-area pet store chain. Read more about the case here.
Our Dallas lawyers have, for many years, provided services on all types of civil matters through their longtime partnership with the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP), which recognizes Locke Lord's volunteerism and sponsorship each year at its Pro Bono awards gathering. The DVAP bestowed its highest honor, a Gold Award, to the Firm.
- Texas Appleseed: Texas Appleseed awarded Locke Lord with its Pro Bono Leadership Award recognizing the Firm’s work leading to landmark reform of the criminal justice system in Texas. A team of nearly 40 Locke Lord lawyers — led by Dallas Partner Kip Mendrygal — interviewed prosecutors across Texas, analyzing their criminal discovery practices and finding systemic inconsistencies from county to county regarding what information was provided to defendants during discovery. This research led to the passage of the Michael Morton Act, a state law requiring prosecutors turn over all evidence to defense lawyers in criminal cases.
- South Dallas Legal Clinic: Our lawyers help low-income families by staffing the clinic and assisting clients with a broad range of consumer and domestic relations matters, including divorces, child custody, consumer credit and probate matters.
- Dallas Housing Crisis Center: Locke Lord lawyers staff this clinic at least once a month and assist low-income clients with a broad range of housing issues, including tenant/landlord disputes, contract interpretation, residential health and safety and related issues.
- Locke Lord participates in the Northern District of Texas (Civil Division) Pro Bono Civil Case Panel, where lawyers assist indigent clients in a broad range of civil matters pending in Dallas federal court.
- Texas Muslim Women's Foundation: Locke Lord lawyers provide a variety of legal services for this one-of-a-kind organization, one of the few in the country that provides social services to victims of domestic violence who are predominantly from the Muslim community. Besides serving as the organization's pro bono general counsel, Locke Lord also successfully worked toward a major grant to fund the group and toward securing donated apartments as transitional living for clients of the group. The Firm was also a supporter of the Foundation’s Peace in the Home program campaign from which funds were used to complete a domestic violence shelter.
Houston's lawyers work closely with the Houston Bar Association and its many community programs, providing everything from free legal advice over the phone to sponsoring legal clinics at youth centers and other facilities around Houston so disadvantaged residents can seek face-to-face advice on any number of legal questions.
- Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program: Locke Lord was named an Equal Access to Justice Champion during the 2016-2017 Bar year for being a model for pro bono legal services in the community.
- Legal Lines: Lawyers volunteer to staff a phone bank each month to handle a variety of legal issues.
Our lawyers in Austin help seek resolutions of all kinds of legal issues, including representing the rights of individual homeowners, participating in a court pilot program handling jury cases and representing criminal defendants in federal cases pursuant to court appointments.
- Alliance for Healthcare Representation: We handle Medicaid appeals for children and also represent clients for the group Texans for Safe Reliable Transportation.
- Volunteer Legal Services for Central Texas (VLS): Our lawyers deal with civil and family law disputes of all kinds, including staffing a regular family law clinic. Locke Lord received a 2016 Judge Suzanne Covington Pro Bono Service award on behalf of VLS based on the number of pro bono cases handled by Locke Lord lawyers during the year as well as the level of financial support provided by the Firm and individual lawyers.
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services: We assist the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in defending appeals of cases in which the rights of parents who abuse or neglect their children have been terminated by a trial court.
- Texas State Bar Appellate Section Pro Bono Pilot Program: Our lawyers volunteer to navigate the often complex appeals process for clients who cannot afford legal representation.
The New Orleans office of Locke Lord gives pro bono legal assistance to the New Orleans Boys Club chapter, including work on the group's corporate restructuring.
In New York, our lawyers regularly hold free consultations with self-represented litigants in the areas of custody, support, visitation, guardianship and paternity on behalf of the New York City Family Court’s Self-Represented Litigants Project.
Locke Lord's volunteer work in Washington, D.C., includes pro bono legal services to help children in the nation's capital and to help military veterans.
- Children's Law Center: Our lawyers are appointed by the D.C. Superior Court to serve as guardians ad litem representing the best interests of children in complex child custody cases. In their roles as guardians ad litem, the lawyers work collaboratively with families, schools, social services agencies, law enforcement and the courts.