July 09, 2010

For the third year in a row, The American Lawyer magazine named Jenner & Block the number one law firm in the country for pro bono service in its annual pro bono rankings.   More than 69,000 hours of pro bono service were provided by Jenner & Block attorneys in 2009 in a wide range of matters, from helping fledgling non-profits to representing the needy in courts across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Firm obtained the number one rank through a combination of having 161.1 average pro bono hours per attorney, and having 83.5% of its attorneys, representing 100% of associates and nearly two-thirds of partners, contribute more than 20 hours to pro bono matters. 

“This is a significant honor for our Firm,” said Susan C. Levy, Jenner & Block’s Managing Partner.  “It confirms the substantial commitment and effort our attorneys made in 2009 to helping the neediest in our communities, and reflects our unwavering dedication to the Firm’s core values.”

Jenner & Block’s long-standing tradition of providing legal services to those without the resources to pay for them has been recognized by The American Lawyer as one of the top ten programs in the country every year since 1990, and the Firm has ranked number one in the country four times -- in 2010, 2009, 2008 and 1998.

Among the wide variety of pro bono matters handled by the Firm during the past year were human rights and civil liberties issues; asylum and immigration matters; death penalty litigation and indigent defense including criminal trials; habeas corpus petitions and post-conviction appeals; not-for-profit incorporation; disability rights; fair housing and real estate matters; and domestic and family law.

Two notable pro bono asylum matters in 2009 resulted in significant United States Supreme Court rulings in favor of the Firm’s clients that will also be critically important and beneficial to tens of hundreds of vulnerable asylum seekers who are waiting for their cases to be resolved.  In all, 59 Jenner & Block attorneys represented a total of 21 asylum seekers last year, devoting more than 3,300 hours to their cases.

Also of note was the criminal defense case of Juan Rivera, accused of the 1992 murder of an 11-year-old.  Working with attorneys from Northwestern University School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, a team of Jenner & Block attorneys represented Mr. Rivera in a highly-publicized, month-long third trial, which the Chicago Tribune has called one of the Chicago area’s “most complex and controversial murder cases.”

Additionally, a team of more than a dozen Firm attorneys spent several thousand hours in their continuing representation of men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  For five years now, Firm attorneys have represented a total of 19 clients at Guantanamo; 17 of those men have been released; 2 clients remain imprisoned, and the Firm’s work goes on.

In another fundamentally important arena, 22 Firm attorneys devoted 1,827 hours to matters related to human trafficking, including precedent setting advocacy using the federal RICO statute on behalf of a woman trafficked into Wisconsin and held in forced labor for more than 19 years.

Click here to view the pro bono rankings as published in the July 2010 issue of The American Lawyer