New Perimeter Commits 13,000 Hours, Global Resources to Advance Pressing Social Causes; Pledge of $5 million Expands Aggregate US Commitment to $23 Million; Initial Project Underway With The Global Fund
Washington, DC– February 28, 2005 – DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, one of the world’s leading law firms, today announced the creation of a non-profit entity to support major international pro bono projects. The initiative, named New Perimeter, is the first of its kind in the US legal industry, and is established as a nonprofit subsidiary of DLA Piper dedicated exclusively to international pro bono work.
The firm is committing 13,000 attorney hours in the first year of the program at a value of over $5 million, which will expand the firm’s aggregate US pro bono commitment in 2005 to approximately 80,000 hours or an aggregate value of $23 million. The initiative invites lawyers from across the firm’s global network to provide legal support for projects of global concern, including health care, hunger, law reform, human rights, housing and economic development.
In its initial project, New Perimeter is providing support to The Global Fund — which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in some of the world’s poorest countries — by establishing systems and processes to ensure the appropriate use of grant funding around the world.
“This is a major commitment by the firm to meet the legal needs of developing countries and important causes around the world,” said Senator George J. Mitchell, Chairman of DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary.
Lee I. Miller, the firm’s co-CEO, added, “As the firm has expanded to meet the global needs of our clients, our pro bono initiatives will complement this vision by contributing to improving quality of life in areas of need.”
An Ambitious, Innovative Agenda
New Perimeter builds on the long-term commitment of DLA Piper to pro bono work. The domestic US program, aggregating approximately 55,000 hours in 2004, will continue in full force. By dramatically expanding the scope of the firm’s activities into the international arena, the firm is providing unprecedented financial and legal resources to support important social issues within the independent and flexible framework of the nonprofit subsidiary structure.
The program was developed after discussions with a range of organizations and experts on international development and human rights. One of those consulted was Tom Tierney, the director of BridgeSpan, an affiliate of Bain, the international management consulting firm. BridgeSpan provides reduced fee services to non-profits and foundations. Mr. Tierney commented, “This is a unique and innovative idea for bringing the highest ideals of the legal profession to bear on some of the world’s most pressing problems.”
New Perimeter will be headed by Sheldon Krantz, a partner at DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary who, with Lisa Dewey, has directed the firm’s pro bono initiatives for many years. It will be guided by an advisory board made up of distinguished jurists and scholars with strong international experience.
Advancing the Global Fund’s Mission
The first New Perimeter project is being undertaken at the request of The Global Fund, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in some of the poorest countries of the world. DLA Piper will assist the Fund in creating systems and processes to prevent and detect inappropriate use of grant funds around the world.
“The firm’s commitment of exceptional legal expertise to international public interest work is truly remarkable,” said Richard Feachem, Executive Director of The Global Fund. “This partnership epitomizes the kind of public-private initiative that delivers exceptional efficiency and much-needed value to an organization like ours.”
With support from a number of governments, including the United States, and private support from foundations, such as the Gates Foundation and others, The Global Fund has already received pledges in excess of $5 billion for its efforts. The Global Fund serves as a financing entity, one that relies upon public-private country coordinating mechanisms to prepare proposals and to identify grant recipients to administer the programs. Local Fund Agents, typically major in-country accounting firms, are then selected to monitor progress reports and disbursements. Strong legal expertise is vital to the Global Fund’s success, and the pro bono commitment of the firm delivers that expertise at a substantial premium.
In addition to The Global Fund, the projects being developed to begin in 2005 include:
Assisting the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo with developing a civil and criminal legal system for that country, an essential step in the nation-building process
Partnering with the IBA and Open Society Institute South Africa to create a Human Rights Legal Development Center to support human rights advocacy throughout countries in Africa, in partnership with the International Bar Association
Developing a new model for international food distribution expanding on the domestic hunger movement, in cooperation with America’s Second Harvest (A2H) and Rotary International
For participation in the pro bono program, the firm will select lawyers who have experience with the particular region or subject matter; have experience working in other countries and cultures; and can commit substantial time to these projects. Firm participants will receive full credit. New Perimeter will also provide opportunities for other organizations or individuals with needed expertise to participate in the various projects, and indeed the firm would welcome collaborative relationships to enhance the services provided to each project.
Mr. Krantz commented, “We have already begun assembling teams to work on various New Perimeter projects, and I have been struck by two things: first, the depth of talent within our own ranks, including for instance a lawyer who interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and second, the passionate interest in this work among our lawyers. About 40% of those who have committed to work on New Perimeter projects, for instance, are partners. And these commitments are not light – this project will require each of them to commit to a minimum of 500 hours in the next year and a certain number of trips abroad.”
The first members of the Advisory Board were announced today. They are:
As noted above, Mr. Krantz is a partner in the firm who has guided its pro bono activities for many years. He is a white collar defense litigator whose particular areas of focus include environmental law, health care, FDA, export controls, civil and criminal RICO, legal ethics, legal malpractice, corporate compliance programs, and federal sentencing guidelines. Mr. Krantz is a former chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and served as Dean of the University of San Diego Law School prior to joining the firm. In 2003, he was named the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by the D.C. bar.
Retired Judge Patricia Wald
Judge Wald will serve as a co-chair of the Advisory Board. Judge Wald served for 20 years on the DC Circuit, including a stint as the Chief Judge. She had a distinguished career prior to that time, including serving as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs during the Carter Administration. After leaving the federal bench, Judge Wald served for two years in the Hague as a judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is also currently a member of the President’s Intelligence Commission.
Esther F. Lardent
Ms. Lardent is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pro Bono Institute, the leading organization promoting pro bono among law firms and the corporate community in the US. She is considered to be the country’s leading expert on the pro bono concept and is regularly approached for advice by both the legal and corporate sectors. Ms. Lardent also currently serves as Chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration Policy, Practice and Pro Bono and previously served on the ABA’s Board of Governors, as Chair of its Consortium on Legal Services and the Public.
Stephen B. Bright
Mr. Bright has served as the Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights since 1982. He also teaches regularly at the Yale and Harvard Law Schools, among others, and has taught a course on international human rights law at the Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria. The Southern Center for Human Rights is a legendary public interest legal project based in Atlanta, Georgia, which provides legal representation to persons facing the death penalty and to prisoners challenging unconstitutional conditions in prisons and jails throughout the South. The Center is also engaged in efforts to improve access to lawyers and the legal system by poor people accused of crimes and in prison and to bring about greater judicial independence. Mr. Bright has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the ABA’s Thurgood Marshall Award, presented at the ABA Annual Meeting in 1998.
Mark S. Ellis
Mr. Ellis is the Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA). The IBA, which is located in London, is the leading international organization of bar associations and individual lawyers in the world, with 200 member organizations and 17,000 members from 194 countries. Prior to joining the IBA, Mr. Ellis spent 10 years as the first Executive Director of the ABA Central and East European Law Initiative (CEELI). CEELI provided technical assistance to 28 countries in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union and to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. Mr. Ellis served as the appointed Legal Advisor to the Independent International Commission on Kosovo, chaired by South African Justice Richard J. Goldstone. He is also a consultant to the World Bank on investment policies in Central and Eastern Europe.
Professor Thomas F. Geraghty
Professor Geraghty is the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Director of the Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. The Clinic gives special emphasis to issues relating to children and family justice. In recent years, Professor Geraghty has worked in Tanzania, Uganda, and Malawi on research projects relating to juvenile justice, the legal problems of street children, the status of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, women in the legal profession, and freedom of the press. He has also been involved in training African lawyers in trial advocacy skills in cooperation with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Professor Geraghty already has a special relationship with our firm through his involvement with the Chicago office’s signature project on juvenile justice.
Mr. Jenkins is the Executive Director of the Opportunity Agenda (OA), a new NGO that has been created to frame public debate on fundamental values of opportunity and human rights in the United States. Prior to creating OA, Mr. Jenkins was the Director of Human Rights at the Ford Foundation. His previous positions include serving as Assistant to the Solicitor General at the US Department of Justice, where he represented the federal government in litigation before the Supreme Court; Assistant Counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, focusing on the civil rights of low-income people; and serving as Law Clerk to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun. Mr. Jenkins has also taught as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School.