Weil’s pro bono program aids those facing injustice and in need of quality legal assistance for which they lack resources. Our clients may be wrongfully convicted prisoners on death row or nonprofit organizations such as the U.K.’s leading disability charity, Scope. Aiding the less fortunate in need of legal assistance is not only an ethical obligation for all lawyers, but also a noble calling and a moral good. Weil would not be the firm that it is without this commitment. It is, quite simply, in our DNA.
Our pro bono work spans the spectrum of need. Our areas of focus include criminal justice reform, civil and constitutional rights, human rights and asylum, community and economic development and children’s welfare. In criminal justice, we celebrate a groundbreaking partnership with the Innocence Project that, with the help of more than 500 Weil lawyers, eliminated a decades-old backlog of requests for legal assistance from prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted and served years, some on death row, for crimes they did not commit. This important work will help expedite exonerations of inmates who might have waited years longer to have their cases reviewed.
Weil has also done significant criminal justice work related to gender-based violence. We secured the release of a victim of domestic violence who had been unjustly denied parole and assisted victims of human trafficking in vacating criminal convictions for prostitution offenses they were forced to commit, enabling them to rebuild their lives with a clean slate. In human rights and asylum, Weil helped numerous clients who were in fear for their lives reach safety. Many are members of the LGBTQ+ community who were persecuted for their sexual orientation or identity in countries where it is dangerous or even a capital crime to live openly as gay or transgender. We assisted organizations that promote access to reproductive health. Our Warsaw office provided crucial assistance to the only organization in Poland that supports victims of clergy abuse, and helped it deliver a report to the Pope himself.
In civil rights, our firm continues to be a trailblazer in religious freedom. We secured the right of Observant Jewish communities in New York and New Jersey to establish an eruv, a boundary of religious significance that enables freedom of movement on the Sabbath, and to build a house of worship free from discriminatory municipal regulations. We could not have achieved these significant results without our partnerships with extraordinary nonprofit organizations including the Innocence Project, the International Refugee Assistance Project and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice. Nor could we have done so without the skills and dedication of Weil attorneys, who this past year contributed more than 54,000 hours to pro bono service.
As you read through this sampling of our pro bono matters, we trust that you will agree that these are certainly Our Finest Hours. View the 2019 Pro Bono Annual Review.