Pro Bono

Our Firmwide Commitment and Effort

Dechert has a longstanding tradition of providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations who cannot otherwise afford legal counsel. Lawyers in all our offices and in all our practice groups make a difference every day by contributing their talents to providing pro bono legal services.

The firm recently held its annual Pro Bono Recognition and Awards ceremony, where three individuals and two teams were honored with the 2020 Samuel E. Klein Pro Bono Award.

Among the honorees were:

— The Philadelphia-based team Stephen Brown, James Figorski, Tiffany Engsell and Stefanie Tubbs, for their efforts in securing a US$4.15 million settlement on behalf of Shaurn Thomas, who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

— Nicole Delgado, for her work on behalf of mobile park tenants and elderly homeowners in Los Angeles.

— Michael Lehmann, for his many years of pro bono work on behalf of nonprofit organizations.

— Joseph Abraham, Timothy Dewberry and Jacob Porter, for their work with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty in advocating against the criminalization of homelessness in both Houston and Austin, Texas.

— Hélène Lenoury, for her work on behalf of unaccompanied minors in France and the many obstacles they face in obtaining asylum.

Pro Bono Awards

Dechert is a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® and we are committed to spending three percent of our total billable time annually on pro bono work. In addition, we are a signatory to the United Kingdom’s Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work. As a result of this dedication, Dechert lawyers commit thousands of hours annually to pro bono service.

We approach pro bono efforts with the same energy, enthusiasm and resources as work for commercial clients, and associates receive billable hour credit for their pro bono work. We require all lawyers to perform at least 25 hours of pro bono work per year to ensure universal participation in our pro bono program.

A Diverse Pro Bono Practice

Our firm has a dedicated partner focused full time on managing the firm’s pro bono program. She works with a pro bono committee consisting of representatives from every Dechert office. Our lawyers handle hundreds of pro bono matters covering issues such as civil rights, international human rights, child advocacy, special education, access to public benefits, asylum, landlord-tenant matters and the representation of numerous nonprofit organizations. We strive to find projects that make a difference and that match the personal interests of our lawyers.

Recognized for Pro Bono Contributions

Over the years, Dechert and individual Dechert lawyers have been recognized on numerous occasions for pro bono contributions. Firm recognition has included:

  • The American Lawyer – Ranked #1 for international pro bono and #11 for U.S. pro bono (2020)
  • Law360 Top Firm for Pro Bono (2016)
  • American Bar Association's 2014 Pro Bono Publico Award
  • American Civil Liberties Union – New Jersey’s Legal Leadership Award
  • Citizens Bank Pro Bono Award (Philadelphia)
  • City Bar Justice Center’s Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Pro Bono Service
  • District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, Forty at Fifty recognition
  • First Judicial District’s Pro Bono Roll of Honor
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society and Council Service of Philadelphia – honored for representation of abused spouses under the Violence Against Women Act
  • Lawyers Clearinghouse Pro Bono Award
  • The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – recognized for contributions to the 2008 Election Protection program
  • The Legal Intelligencer and Volunteers for the Indigent Program’s Unsung Hero Award 
  • Mazzoni Center's 2013 Amicus Award for Diversity and Pro Bono Work
  • National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s Pro Bono Counsel Award
  • National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s 2013 Beacon of Justice Award
  • New York City Family Court Volunteer Attorney program’s Pro Bono Service Award
  • New York City Pro Bono Center’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Month – honored for work with the Legal Aid Society’s landlord-tenant pro bono partnership
  • New York Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award
  • Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program’s Chancellor Award and Volunteer of the Month
  • The Pro Bono Project’s Distinguished Service Award (New Orleans)
  • Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project’s Pro Bono Attorney of the Year
  • State Bar of California’s Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services Award
  • Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s Outstanding Achievement Award