Hogan Lovells celebrates 50th anniversary of independent Pro Bono practice

Washington, D.C./London, 1 December 2020 – Global law firm Hogan Lovells is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Pro Bono practice, using a multimedia approach to highlight its impact, achievements, and major client matters.

In 1970, the law firm was the first to establish a stand-alone pro bono practice. Since then, the firm’s lawyers have devoted more than 2 million hours on behalf of pro bono clients and won more than 80 awards for these efforts.

"Pro bono work has been and continues to be one of the core values of our firm," said T. Clark Weymouth, Head of Hogan Lovells' Americas Pro Bono practice. "Our practice has impacted lives, created meaningful access to justice, and helped to shape social progress," said Weymouth.

Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business, Susan Bright, said: "We are proud of what we've accomplished in the past 50 years.  Our commitment to providing legal representation to those in need and to delivering a positive impact in the communities in which we live and work remains one of our key strategic priorities under the leadership of our new CEO Miguel Zaldivar."

Appellate practice Co-Head and Hogan Lovells Board member Cate Stetson commented: "Our commitment to pro bono work is an ingrained part of our firm culture, and a crucial component of our shared profession."

Stetson moderated a lively panel discussion during a virtual celebration of the Pro Bono practice's golden anniversary. She also hosted the 10-episode podcast series that was created to take a more in-depth look into some of our most impactful work. 

"The 50th anniversary of the Pro Bono practice highlights the firm's long commitment to providing legal representation to those who need it most," said Partner Amy Roma, who has led several high-profile pro bono matters for the firm, including the transportation of donated personal protective equipment to New York and Massachusetts from China earlier this year using a plane owned by the New England Patriots. "This tradition keeps us connected to our communities and gives everyone at the firm the opportunity to give something meaningful back. It is central to our culture and heritage."    

In the five decades since the firm established its stand-alone Pro Bono practice, it has represented thousands of individuals, groups, and organizations in an effort to advance racial justice, tackle miscarriages of justice, and challenge discriminatory public policy. 
A few of the firm’s notable pro bono achievements in the last 50 years include:

Americas

  • Representing clients in two lawsuits against the Washington, D.C., Police Department after a raid on the Black Panther Party's headquarters (in the practice's very first matter). After years of advocacy, one of these clients received what was at the time the largest individual settlement of its kind in the history of the District.
  • Winning a 16-year battle and a settlement on behalf of more than 100 African American agents who were racially discriminated against by the United States Secret Service.
  • Representation of John Errol Ferguson, a severely mentally ill death row inmate whom the firm represented in post-conviction proceedings for more than 25 years. In October 2012, in a race against the clock, a team of Hogan Lovells professionals succeeded in obtaining a stay of the execution from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Winning a 14-year dispute over residential segregation in Nassau County, NY, which deliberately steered family-occupancy affordable housing to communities of color, many with already-struggling school systems, and away from white communities, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

EMEA

  • Working alongside two Irish nonprofits,  the Adoption Rights Alliance and Justice for Magdalenes Research, on The Clann Project. This three-year investigation into Ireland’s Mother and Baby Homes, where for many years unmarried mothers and their children were sent, gave hope to many women and children harmed by these historical abuses. The Irish government implemented our findings and recommendations earlier this month.
  • Representing Yazidi women subjected to violence by an Australian national and member of Islamic State. Hogan Lovells acts pro bono for Lotus Flower, a UK charity led by genocide survivor Taban Shoresh, and six Yazidi survivors who were victims of sexual violence and enslaved by identified ISIS foreign fighters.
  • Representing the families  of victims killed in the Westminster and London Bridge terror attacks. Hogan Lovells has specialist expertise in this area having represented families impacted by terror related incidents, as well as employees working in hostile environments, and on obtaining compensation for victims of crime and terrorism. 
  • Advising The Felix Project, London's biggest distributor of surplus food, on its acquisition of FareShare's London operations, a deal which makes Felix the largest end-to-end food redistribution charity in Europe.  
  • A team from our German offices provided social enterprise Discovering Hands® with comprehensive legal advice to help them to grow their business. Discovering Hands® trains blind women to become Medical Tactile Examiners (MTEs), as their superior sensitive touch gives them a higher precision rate, enabling them to detect breast cancer earlier than the average doctor.

Asia Pacific

  • Our Shanghai office worked with 3M China and organized a pro bono workshop for local social enterprises. We collaborated with Non Profit Incubator, the largest intermediary organization that supports social enterprises in China, as well as TrustLaw, to extend the reach of local social enterprises and to utilize their expertise in designing the program.
  • Our Vietnam offices succeeded in securing funding from the UK's Home Office that will support the activities of two nonprofits working to counter child trafficking from Vietnam to the UK. 

The podcast series can be accessed here, an overview of the of the Pro Bono practice's 50-year history is here, and our Impact of Pro Bono Work at Hogan Lovells video is here.


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