“The hallmark of the Firm is its dedication to the higher calling, that is, the lawyer’s obligation to assume an active role in the pursuit of a just and ordered society, in helping to solve the emerging problems of social, economic and political importance and to serve the public as his or her client, as she or he would serve a full-paying client.”
Bernard G. Segal, a founding partner of the Firm.
Since the founding of Schnader Harrison in 1935, one of the most distinguishing features of the Firm has been our commitment to pro bono and public service. Our pro bono heritage is reflected today in landmark litigation cases, in the support and encouragement we provide to all of our attorneys in their pro bono efforts, and in the pro bono awards and recognition that our lawyers have received, on both a local and national level.
We have institutionalized our commitment to pro bono service in the following ways:
10% of Time Credit. We allow any lawyer in the Firm to receive full credit toward his or her work expectations for matters devoted to pro bono, up to 10 percent of fee hours billed each year. For example, an associate billing 1,800 hours to fee matters in a given year would receive full credit for up to 180 hours of pro bono time in meeting his or her billable hour goal. Pro bono service is regarded as a favorable factor in partnership evaluations.
25-Hour Expectation. Most of our lawyers spend well over 25 hours each year on pro bono matters and our attorneys spend an average of about 60-70 hours on pro bono matters each year. But to encourage all attorneys to participate in pro bono matters, a number of years ago, the Firm established an expectation that all attorneys would spend at least 25 hours a year on pro bono matters.
3% ABA Commitment. As a Firm, we are a Signatory of the Pro Bono Institute Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge. As a Signatory of the Challenge, we pledge to devote at least 3 percent of our time on an annual basis to pro bono matters. This is the actual provision of legal services to the indigent, the disadvantaged, the needy, and the incarcerated, without compensation. This does not include serving on nonprofit boards, participating in bar associations, and being involved in our communities – all of which we also do.
Earl G. Harrison Awards. Each year, we present the Earl G. Harrison Pro Bono Award to a Firm attorney with a distinguished record of pro bono service. We also honor a Firm attorney or staff member who demonstrates an unfailing commitment to helping others in the community with the Earl G. Harrison Community Service Award.
We are very proud of our pro bono record, and we encourage you to read on.