Washington, D.C. – September 27 – The Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is delighted to announce that DLA Piper has been selected as this year’s John H. Pickering Award winner for its outstanding commitment to pro bono service. The award will be presented at PBI’s Annual Dinner in New York on November 4.
DLA Piper, a long-time supporter of pro bono, was singled out for the firm’s exceptional pro bono culture, including signature projects aimed at addressing a broad range of social problems and helping the most vulnerable members of society. Through New Perimeter, the firm’s non-profit affiliate dedicated exclusively to global pro bono work, DLA Piper addresses critical issues in developing and post-conflict countries around the world.
In the United States, DLA Piper’s signature projects focus on education, hunger relief, juvenile justice, access to justice, domestic violence, serving veterans and heirs’ property. Many of its offices are active in the firm’s largest signature project, Advancing Education’s Promise. Under this signature project, DLA Piper is assisting a number of communities — including Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, East Palo Alto and Washington, D.C. – that are designing Promise Neighborhoods under an ambitious new federal program. The goal of the program is to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone – an innovative project designed to transform a neighborhood by infusing it with social services and providing its children with exceptional education in neighborhood charter schools. Aside from assisting these communities on a wide range of complex legal issues arising from the program, DLA Piper is also providing pro bono legal services to families in the respective neighborhoods with the assistance of joint venture partners.
New Perimeter, the only law firm non-profit entity focused on global pro bono work, allows attorneys from DLA Piper’s offices around the world to provide legal assistance on a diverse series of projects in such areas as rule of law, human rights, economic development, hunger relief and supporting legal education in developing and post-conflict countries. DLA Piper attorneys are selected for New Perimeter projects on a competitive basis and work on cohesive project teams during a multi-year commitment that typically includes spending time in-country as a key element of their assignments.
During its initial five years, under the direction of a distinguished Advisory Board, New Perimeter has undertaken projects in a number of African countries, the Balkans, and Latin America. For instance, New Perimeter has committed significant time and resources over the past five years to help develop Kosovo’s judicial and prosecutorial systems. A team of DLA Piper attorneys have assisted working groups in drafting new laws to create a Kosovar court system and system of prosecution. The laws are now being enacted by the Kosovo Assembly this year. The DLA Piper team has also provided training to new Ministry of Justice legal officers on the principles of legislative drafting, legal ethics and persuasive advocacy.
“Seeing a firm that embraces pro bono work in the way that DLA has, both in the United States and abroad, is incredibly inspiring” said Esther Lardent, President and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute. “DLA’s New Perimeter project, specifically dedicated to global pro bono, has positioned the firm as a leader that is making a difference worldwide.”
“We are incredibly honored to receive this award from PBI,” said Sheldon Krantz, director of New Perimeter and a partner with DLA Piper. “DLA Piper’s commitment to pro bono has become an integral part of our firm culture. The support we receive from PBI has enabled us to grow the program in ways we could only imagine when we started doing pro bono, and the global component is especially rewarding for our attorneys.”
Given annually by PBI and the firm of WilmerHale, the award honors the memory of John H. Pickering, a WilmerHale founding partner and distinguished appellate lawyer known for his extraordinary commitment to pro bono and public interest law.
About DLA Piper
DLA Piper has 3,500 attorneys in 30 countries and 69 offices throughout the US, UK, Continental Europe, Middle East and Asia. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered attorney advertising.
About the Pro Bono Institute
Established in 1996, PBI is a non-profit organization with a mandate to explore and identify new approaches to the poor and disadvantaged unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. In doing so, PBI identifies and develops innovative programs and undertakes rigorous evaluations to ensure that these new approaches are workable and effective. PBI administers a number of projects designed to enhance access to justice, including: the Law Firm Pro Bono Project®, Corporate Pro BonoSM, Second Acts®, Global Pro Bono, and Public Interest Pro Bono.