Lawyers Hogan Lovells have put in place what may be the first pro bono program for AMLaw 100 firms that involve not just their lawyers, but non-lawyers as well, to engage in community service work.
Hogan Lovells employee over 5000 staff iin 25 countries and their proposal involves handling community service of 25 hours a year.
Employees will be able to count the 25 hours as part of their workday, according to Hogan Lovells CEO Stephen Immelt, with the expectation that the approximately 2,500 lawyers who work at the firm will spend their time on pro bono legal services, the American Lawyer reports.
Another ambitious component of the policy is that it applies equally to employees in the firm’s offices outside the United States.
Esther Lardent, president and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute in Washington, D.C., says global Am Law 100 firms have sometimes struggled to extend their pro bono commitment in countries where there is less of an infrastructure built up around the practice.
“The need is obviously out there,” she says. “But when you’re in a major firm, actually being able to connect with and find that work is very challenging.”
Hogan Lovells’ leaders acknowledge that fact.
“We realize that it’s going to take a while for it to get going,” says Crispin Rapinet, a commercial litigation partner in Hogan Lovells’ London office who co-chairs the firm’s Citizenship Panel. “In some offices, there’s more work to be done than others in terms of getting everyone engaged.”
He says the firm has been working to identify community groups and projects for employees to participate in that put their skill sets to use.
Other firms also require their lawyers to participate in pro bono projects. Dechert, for instance, imposed a minimum 25-hour requirement worldwide last year, and Arnold & Porter encourages all lawyers, no matter their jurisdiction, to devote 15 percent of their time toward pro bono projects, according to The American Lawyer’s Pro Bono issue last year. Shearman & Sterling has a mandate of 25 hours per year, but it applies only to lawyers based in the U.S., although lawyers in other countries are also encouraged to participate. Latham & Watkins has a single global pro bono policy for all attorneys, and the firm reports a 91 percent participation rate in the U.S., with a 62 percent participation rate at the firm’s international offices.
Read more at American Lawyer