Arnold & Porter’s website says that “Arnold & Porter believes that pro bono is, and must be, a core value and a defining characteristic of a great law firm.” Those are not just words on a screen, but a vision that the leaders and lawyers at Arnold & Porter live out every day. Pro bono is a fundamental part of the firm’s culture, values, and history. From the work of Abe Fortas on Gideon v. Wainwright, to the Buffalo Creek Disaster, to handling death penalty cases, voting rights cases, and assisting people with unemployment claims during COVID-19, the firm’s broad scope and deep commitment to pro bono are breathtaking.
In 2020, firm lawyers provided more than 121,000 hours of pro bono service. Arnold & Porter routinely ranks among the best firms in the country on the AmLaw Pro Bono Scorecard, and the firm was on the National Law Journal’s Pro Bono Hot List in 2018 and 2020. The firm was recognized by the DC Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services as being one of only 7 firms that had 50% or more of their attorneys dedicate 50 or more hours to pro bono in both 2019 and 2020. In 2021, the District of Columbia Courts named 257 Arnold & Porter attorneys to their 10th annual Pro Bono Honor Roll, including 148 attorneys who were granted the distinction of “High Honors” in recognition of providing 100 hours or more of pro bono service. The numbers speak volumes about Arnold & Porter’s commitment to pro bono service. But those numbers are not the sole reason for this award.
It is fitting that we recognize Arnold & Porter in this 50th Anniversary year because of the foundational role that Arnold & Porter has played in our history. Over the years, the firm has provided us with a place to hold meetings, store files, and host events. physical office space, We have held many Summer Forums, Litigation Skills Trainings, and Dinner & Discussion programs at Arnold & Porter. Before Washington Council of Lawyers had an executive director, it was an all-volunteer-run bar association. During that time, much of the vision and energy that kept us running was embodied in the commitment of longtime board members Phil Horton, Larry Schneider, and Marsha Tucker. And, once we hired an executive director, Arnold & Porter served as our office home for nearly two decades. Arnold & Porter lawyers have served in numerous leadership roles on our board. But it is not just our Arnold & Porter board members who have pitched in to support our work. Over the years, we have relied on assistance from Arnold & Porter’s AV department, receptionists, CLE department, secretaries, legal assistants, and pro bono lawyers, We also are grateful to Arnold & Porter for their consistent and generous sponsorships that fund the work we do. The firm’s longstanding support of our work and our mission has been the launching pad that has allowed Washington Council of Lawyers to blossom and expand into a vibrant and robust public-interest bar association for the District of Columbia. Arnold & Porter has helped us become #50YearsStrong.
We are grateful to Arnold & Porter for their longstanding support of Washington Council of Lawyers and inspired by the firm’s strong commitment to pro bono service. We hope you will join us in recognizing the firm at our Awards Ceremony on Thursday, December 2, at 5:00 pm ET. Register here.