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Partner Allison A. Torrence is a member of the firm’s Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety Law Practice as well as the Climate and Clean Technology Law Practice. She practices in the firm's Chicago office. In one significant pro bono case, she represents several non-profit groups that are challenging an air permit issued by the State of South Dakota.
Q: What kind of pro bono work do you do at the firm?
Allison: I have worked on a few different pro bono cases that were brought in by partners at the firm. The partners brought me on the case and gave me opportunities to take charge of the cases and get great experience.
Q: Describe one or two of the most significant pro bono cases you have worked on while at the firm.
Allison: The most significant pro bono case I have worked on involves the permitting of a major source of air pollution in South Dakota. We represent several non-profit groups who are challenging the air permit issued by the State of South Dakota. In this case, I have been involved in every aspect of the litigation. I have taken and defended depositions, presented expert witnesses at a hearing, cross-examined witnesses at a hearing, argued motions and made closing arguments.
Q: Why is it important to you to do pro bono?
Allison: It is important to do pro bono work because it is a great way to give back to the community and help those who would not otherwise be able to afford high quality legal services. All of my pro bono clients have been extremely grateful for the time and skill Jenner & Block has donated to their cases.
Q: How has Jenner & Block supported you in your pro bono practice?
Allison: Jenner & Block is very supportive of my pro bono practice. We have the full resources of the firm available to us, including amazing support staff.
Q: How has pro bono helped you professionally?
Allison: I have had amazing opportunities to develop my skills as a litigator through my pro bono work. I now have experience with depositions, expert witnesses, cross examination and oral arguments. Even as a young lawyer, I was able to manage pro bono matters and gain firsthand experience that helps me in all of the other aspects of my legal career.
Q: What would you tell others about your experience doing pro bono?
Allison: My pro bono work has been educational and has helped me gain the skills needed to be an effective litigator. It is also very personally rewarding to help out people who are in true need of legal assistance. On my current pro bono case, I represent a small non-profit organization. On my first trip to participate in a hearing on the matter, another associate and I arrived in the client’s small town the night before the hearing. We were surprised to be greeted by over 50 members of our client organization who came out to meet their legal team and thank us for our work. One member told me, “The happiest day in my life is when I heard that Jenner & Block had agreed to take our case.” It has been amazing to have such a deep and direct impact on these people’s lives.