By Gwendolyn Washington
Nonprofits serve a critical role in our communities. They provide programming that lifts up underserved and vulnerable populations and empower individuals to take action to help their communities. In doing so, nonprofits regularly navigate tricky legal issues, and pro bono assistance can be essential. Patrick Fuller, Counsel at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, understands the challenges that nonprofits face. Over the course of his career, Patrick has dedicated his pro bono practice to strengthening the capacity and compliance of nonprofits primarily working in DC, advising on a range of structuring transactions and corporate governance matters.
In his corporate practice, Patrick advises clients on a broad range of international, federal, and state bank regulatory, transactional, and enforcement matters. He has helped his clients structure business activities and corporate transactions, execute mergers, secure licenses and charters, raise capital from public and private markets, and develop compliance programs. He also has extensive experience in navigating complex strategic, structural, and compliance issues raised by U.S. regulatory reform initiatives. His clients include major U.S. and foreign banking organizations, private equity firms, asset managers, financial technology innovators, and trade associations. In addition to his corporate and pro bono practice, Patrick serves as Cleary Gottlieb’s Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair for the DC office.
For nearly a decade, Patrick has been a leader providing legal assistance to nonprofits. Over the years, Patrick’s work has encompassed projects involving nonprofit formation and tax-exempt status, corporate governance and compliance, conflicts of interest analysis, nonprofit mergers, contract drafting and more, supporting organizations that uphold human rights, provide programming for young people, and work to protect our natural environment.
He also works to inspire more junior associates to engage in transactional pro bono work – both within Cleary and for the broader DC legal community. This past year, in collaboration with the DC Bar Pro Bono Center, Patrick led a team of lawyers to encourage new volunteers to support the formation of local nonprofits. He ceded the stage to many of his newer colleagues to emphasize that this pro bono work can be learned and that junior lawyers truly can benefit these clients. Hundreds of volunteers watched the trainings live and have reviewed the materials in subsequent months. His team’s generosity acts as a force multiplier for transactional pro bono.
Patrick’s dedication and thoughtful guidance to his clients stands as a model for corporate attorneys as they consider how to successfully incorporate transactional pro bono work into their practices. Per Darryl Maxwell, Director of the DC Bar Pro Bono Center’s Nonprofit and Small Business Programs: “Patrick is a true advocate for nonprofits in DC. His thoughtful, inquisitive nature is a value-add to our clients and encourages other attorneys to engage.” We are so lucky to work with and learn from Patrick!
Gwendolyn Washington is a Pro Bono Attorney at Cleary Gottlieb and Board Member of Washington Council of Lawyers