Ropes & Gray’s public service commitment is a hallmark of the firm, rooted in the example set by the firm’s founders nearly a century and a half ago. From securing asylum for endangered immigrants to helping people stay in their homes to winning the release of the wrongly convicted, Ropes & Gray strives to provide the highest level of pro bono legal advice and support to those who need it most.
Ropes & Gray demonstrates its ongoing commitment to public service by actively encouraging its lawyers and summer associates to engage in pro bono work, and by valuing this work equally for purposes of associate reviews and compensation.
In 2018, almost 1,300 of our attorneys, summer associates, paralegals and other professionals worldwide donated more than 156,000 hours of pro bono legal services. Here are some highlights of recent pro bono work:
- In response to the family separation crisis, Ropes & Gray attorneys and support team members traveled to South Texas to help stabilize the chaotic situation. Since June 2018, the firm has represented more than 30 families—about 70 individuals—and has facilitated their release from detention centers and their reunion with loved ones. Firm attorneys are now helping these individuals navigate immigration courts and asylum processes.
- Partnering with Lawyers Without Borders, Ropes & Gray sends teams of attorneys to Africa to help train local justice officials. Most recently, attorneys visited Nairobi for a counterterrorism training program, and another team traveled to Kenya to train new prosecutors as part of the country’s efforts to strengthen its judicial system.
- Continuing the firm’s long, distinguished record of LGBTQ-focused pro bono service, Ropes & Gray has pursued numerous initiatives aimed at assisting transgender individuals on a range of pressing legal matters, including working with the Transgender ID Project and Immigration Equality.
- For almost nine years, a Ropes & Gray team has been assisting the Charles Street African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, an important Boston institution for nearly 200 years, with a variety of legal matters, including Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The church presented the firm with a “Corporate Citizenship” award for its ongoing representation.
- A Ropes & Gray litigation team secured an important victory on behalf of three individual student loan borrowers, including two former American Bar Association employees, in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Education that challenged the Department’s decision to retroactively refuse to honor loan forgiveness commitments it made to individuals who have dedicated their careers to public service.
The firm’s pro bono commitment is facilitated by an active pro bono committee, co-chaired chaired by partners Christopher Conniff, Andrew Dale, Amanda Raad and Jennifer Rikoski. The committee, with the firm’s director of pro bono services and her team, identifies and considers prospective initiatives. Each Ropes & Gray office also has a local designee to ensure that the firm is focused on pro bono work that is relevant to each city and community.