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pro bono: Policy

JUSTICE FOR ALL

 

Through its Center for the Public Interest, Brown Rudnick supports access to justice by strongly encouraging the provision of legal assistance on a free or "pro bono" basis to appropriate individuals and non-profit organizations who otherwise might have great difficulty obtaining legal help. The Firm recognizes that provision of pro bono service is personally and professionally rewarding, as well as an important contribution to the assurance of equal access to justice in our communities.

Brown Rudnick has a longstanding commitment to working in the public interest, especially with regard to providing pro bono legal representation to the poor and disadvantaged. The creation of our Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest is a further tangible expression of that commitment, and one that, in a very short time, has earned credibility within the Firm while favorably distinguishing us externally.

Commitment to providing pro bono legal representation to the poor and disadvantaged is part of the character of our Firm. We urge all of our attorneys and paralegals to make a personal commitment to providing such representation in the new fiscal year.

PRO BONO POLICY OF BROWN RUDNICK LLP

Brown Rudnick LLP encourages and supports the participation by all of its attorneys in pro bono publico activities. We aim to maintain a clearly articulated and commonly understood policy that unequivocally states the Firm’s commitment to pro bono work.

 

To underscore our institutional commitment to pro bono activities, the Firm will use its best efforts to ensure that our professionals will annually devote, at a minimum, an amount of time equal to 3% of the Firm’s total billable hours, or 60 hours per attorney, to pro bono work.

 

In recognition of the special needs of the poor for legal services, the Firm’s pro bono activities should be particularly focused on providing access to the justice system for persons otherwise unable to afford it. As used in this policy, the term pro bono refers to activities of the Firm undertaken normally without expectation of fee and not in the course of ordinary commercial practice and consisting of (i) the delivery of legal services to persons of limited means or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; (ii) the provision of legal assistance to individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights; and (iii) the provision of legal assistance to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization’s economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate.

 

Accordingly, in meeting the voluntary goals described above, our goal is that a majority of the minimum pro bono time contributed by our Firm should consist of the delivery of legal services on a pro bono basis to persons of limited means or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means.

 

Recognizing that broad-based participation in pro bono activities is desirable, the Firm will use its best efforts to ensure that a majority of both partners and associates in the Firm participate annually in pro bono activities.

In furtherance of these principles, we aim:

  1. To provide a broad range of pro bono opportunities, training, and supervision to attorneys in the Firm, to ensure that all of our attorneys can avail themselves of the opportunity to do pro bono work;
  2. To ensure that the Firm’s policies with respect to evaluation, advancement, productivity, and compensation of its attorneys are compatible with the Firm’s strong commitment to encourage and support substantial pro bono participation by all attorneys; and
  3. To monitor the Firm’s progress toward the goals established in this statement and to report its progress annually to the members of the Firm and to the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Project.

 

This Firm also recognizes the obligation of major law firms to contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services free of charge to persons of limited means.

 

In furtherance of the foregoing policy:

 

Pro Bono Committee. The Pro Bono Committee will consist of Firm personnel designated by the Firm’s Chief Executive Officer.  The CEO has designated the Firm’s Administrative Partner, as Chair, and the Executive Director of the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest, who will generally exercise approval authority on behalf of the Pro Bono Committee.

 

Pro Bono Engagements. The Firm will undertake pro bono engagements consistent with the foregoing policy, subject to supervision by a partner and advance approval by the Pro Bono Committee.

 

Case Opening Process. Lawyers seeking to open a pro bono engagement should first access the approval forms located on the intranet site for the Brown Rudnick Center for the Public Interest at: http://bos-intweb.brfg.com/Open/Intake/Default.aspx If the engagement is approved as a pro bono engagement, all regular Firm procedures for opening a matter (conflict check, engagement letter, etc.) shall then be followed.

 

Partner Supervision. All pro bono engagements will be actively supervised by a partner (as are billable engagements) who will monitor and report on performance.

 

Annual Budget; Monitoring and RenewalEach pro bono engagement will have an annual (fiscal year) budget regarding the anticipated time and cost, submitted by the supervising partner and approved by the Pro Bono Committee.  A new budget will be submitted for approval each fiscal year.

 

Supervising partners are responsible for monitoring actual performance as compared to budgeted performance and advising the Pro Bono Committee and the Associate Development Managers if they anticipate significant variation from the budget.

 

The Associate Development Managers and the Pro Bono Committee will monitor and consult with the supervising partners regarding the budget.

 

The budget is not a limit on the work that will be performed in the pro bono engagement; rather, it is a guide for planning and discussing performance.  All work on pro bono engagements should fully satisfy our ethical and contractual obligations to our clients, regardless of the amount of any initial or adjusted budget.

 

Associate Hours Calculations. All hours recorded by an associate to an approved pro bono engagement shall be considered “Eligible Hours” under the Firm’s policies regarding performance and compensation.

 

Performance Evaluations for Partners, Associates, Paralegals, and other Firm personnelEvaluation and compensation decisions for all partners, associates, paralegals, and other Firm personnel will take into account their performance and contributions in pro bono Performance criteria shall be consistent with criteria applying to other cases, and will include, without limitation, assessments as to productivity, efficiency, adherence to stated expectations (including expectations reflected in the budget), communication, and other contributions.  As stated above, all hours recorded by associates to an approved pro bono engagement shall be considered “Eligible Hours” under the Firm’s policies regarding performance and compensation, even if those hours exceeded the budgeted amount.

 

 

 

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