Cleary Gottlieb believes that the practice of law is a privilege, one that carries with it the responsibility to apply our talents for the benefit of less privileged individuals and communities. Throughout the firm’s history, our lawyers have dedicated themselves to improving the community and helping people by providing pro bono legal counsel and by embracing public works. Cleary Gottlieb’s founding spirit and conviction live on today with the firm dedicating more than 90,000 hours worldwide to pro bono and public service efforts annually. The firm seeks pro bono and community service opportunities in all of its offices.
In New York, our lawyers provide pro bono counsel to clients on a range of matters, including immigration law, criminal defense and death penalty cases, family law, art and entertainment law, not-for-profit law, housing litigation and affordable housing development. We work with many different public interest organizations to ensure a diverse range of pro bono opportunities for our lawyers.
Our Washington, D.C. practice similarly has a dynamic pro bono program and works regularly with a number of national and local legal services, civil rights, and community organizations. Among many other recent matters, our lawyers have actively defended the rights of the homeless, represented individuals seeking asylum, fought for better access to public facilities for people with disabilities, and served as guardians ad litem in child neglect and abuse proceedings, as well as helped community organizations incorporate under tax-exempt status and helped international micro-lenders expand their programs.
In London, Cleary Gottlieb was the second American firm to sign the Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work and is also active with LawWorks (formerly the Solicitors Pro Bono Group), the leading pro bono resource for legal volunteers in the United Kingdom. In addition to the range of pro bono work our lawyers engage in regularly, our London office supports Citizen Foundation’s “Lawyers in Schools” program in which lawyers inform and inspire students about the role of law in our society.
Additionally, in 1968, we became the first law firm to establish an externship program granting lawyers the opportunity to work at selected legal services organizations while receiving full salary and benefits from the firm. Currently, Cleary Gottlieb sponsors two public interest externship programs, whereby on a rotating basis firm associates are placed for four months in a full-time position at either MFY Legal Services, Inc. or Lawyers Alliance for New York.
Believing in the importance of giving back to the communities in which we practice, and in order to provide community service opportunities to all our staff, in 1991 Cleary Gottlieb initiated a “partnership” with Washington Irving High School (WIHS), a New York City school located in downtown Manhattan. For more than 20 years, both the legal and non-legal staff have helped prepare WIHS students for college and for adult life by mentoring, tutoring and advising them.
For additional information about our pro bono practice, click here