January 05, 2015

Jenner & Block was recently named to The National Law Journal’s “Pro Bono Hot List,” one of only 10 firms nationwide to receive this honor.  Noting that as “law firms continue to expand their services globally, so too have their pro bono programs,” the NLJ’s “Special Report” focuses on the firm’s representation of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda.  The village, which opened in 2008, is home to 500 orphaned and otherwise vulnerable Rwandan youth; ASYV’s mission is to enable them to realize their maximum potential.

In the summer of 2013, the firm began representing ASYV in an unprecedented project that is now bringing much-needed electricity, powered through solar energy, to a million Rwandans – while generating income that will make ASYV financially self-sustaining.  The article notes that the transaction was the brainchild of Partner Patrick J. Trostle and the late Anne Heyman, the youth village’s co-founder.  A multidisciplinary team of 22 Jenner & Block attorneys advised ASYV on the complicated deal, which involved leasing approximately 20 acres of its 144-acre campus to Dutch energy company Gigawatt Global, for the building of an 8.5 megawatt solar plant.

Mr. Trostle told the NLJ, “We really had to create the documents from whole cloth.”  This included closing, land lease and investment documents that followed Rwandan real estate law, which is very different from U.S. law.  The team consulted with Rwandan counsel to confirm that the deal would work.

Danielle Burenstein, the village’s executive director, told the publication, “We simply could not have executed the deal without them.”

Late Jenner & Block partner Jerry J. Burgdoerfer was a key member of the team.  Other members of the firm’s core team included Partners Carter H. Klein and Michelle M. McAtee, as well as Associates Natalie K. Orpett and Marc A. Roualet.  Partners Donald I. Resnick, Lawrence S. Schaner and Geoffrey M. Davis and Associates Joseph D. Kline and Jared S. Manes also made valuable contributions.

The NLJ’s recognition of the firm’s pro bono efforts once again underscores the unwavering commitment to Jenner & Block’s core values and continuing efforts toward helping those most in need not only locally, but even across the world.