Mayer Brown is a leader in developing innovative approaches to pro bono work. We were the first major law firm to develop and implement a pro bono strategic plan, and we strive to pioneer projects that will have a substantial impact, both locally and globally. Each year we donate tens of thousands of hours of legal services to the poor and disadvantaged and to the organizations that serve them. The firm’s commitment to pro bono has received many accolades, including most recently from The National Law Journal, which named Mayer Brown to its 2020 “Pro Bono Hot List.” The publication touts Mayer Brown’s pro bono work on restoring trust between police and communities in US cities, including the firm’s widely publicized contributions to the work of Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force.
The firm also encourages lawyers and staff to participate in all manner of community service activities. We take seriously our responsibility to the communities in which we live and work, and we are committed to being a good corporate citizen.
Mayer Brown strongly encourages every lawyer to participate in the pro bono program and provides credit for the hours they donate. In the United States, we are a signatory to the “Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge,” which commits us to devote 3 percent of total billable time to pro bono work. We are also a signatory to the “UK Joint Protocol on Pro Bono Work,” which stipulates that pro bono legal work must be carried out to the same standard as chargeable work.
Our program is managed by a Pro Bono Director in the United States and a CSR Manager in the United Kingdom, and it is overseen by the firm’s Global Pro Bono Committee, which is made up of lawyers from every office and almost every practice. In addition, there are local and regional pro bono committees to ensure a robust and diverse pro bono program.
Our Pro Bono Work
The guiding purpose of our program is to use the resources of one of the world’s largest law firms to attack systemic problems. We have formalized projects that allow us to maximize impact while still encouraging our lawyers to find individual cases and issues of importance to them.
Through our pro bono program, we not only help individuals to rebuild and restore their lives, we help to foster the industries and organizations that address the underlying issues and challenges. Some of the areas we cover are:
- Advice Clinics
- Affordable Housing
- Anti-Poverty and Economic Development Initiatives
- Appellate and US Supreme Court Litigation
- Arts & Culture
- Asylum, Immigration and Refugee Law
- Death Penalty
- Eviction Defense
- Indigent Criminal Defense
- Intellectual Property
- International Human Rights and Rule of Law
- Landlord/Tenant Real Estate Issues
- Mediation and Settlement Assistance
- Microentreprenuers and Small Businesses
- Microfinance/Social Finance
- Not-for-Profit and Charitable Organizations
- Prisoner’s Rights
- Public Benefits
- Veteran’s Benefits
In addition to donating time, the firm regularly makes financial contributions to public and legal services organizations, and was among the first large law firms to integrate charitable giving and the pro bono program.
Our Community Service Work
Our lawyers and staff participate in community service activities around the world, often partnering with both public interest and private corporate clients in a variety of activities.
One of the crucial ways we fulfill our social responsibility is through supporting education-related programs and organizations. These include reading, mentoring, and clean-up initiatives in schools in and around London, New York, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles.
In addition to serving on boards of directors of public service and civic organizations, our lawyers and staff in the United States, Europe and Asia also participate in programs to build homes, assist food banks, visit elderly centers, raise funds, and arrange donations of food, furniture and other items for community organizations.
What We Believe
We participate in pro bono and community service efforts around the world, believing them to be a critical component of our profession and an important factor in establishing our true excellence as a law firm.