Ropes & Gray’s 14th annual Pro Bono Awards celebrated the firm’s strongest year on record for pro bono commitment. In 2016, 1,550 Ropes & Gray professionals in offices around the globe contributed more than 134,000 hours of pro bono service. Nearly 80 percent of the firm’s U.S. lawyers performed at least 20 hours of pro bono service, while the number of pro bono hours worked by attorneys in Asia and London doubled.
For the second year in a row, the Pro Bono Awards ceremony was a global event, with celebrations in Asia, London and all U.S. offices. The awards honor individual attorneys and teams that have performed outstanding public interest legal work.
The firm presented two team awards for outstanding pro bono service:
- In a project that aligns strongly with the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, a global cross-office team was recognized for its work on Project Validate, a pro bono initiative through which Ropes & Gray is partnering with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) to help transgender clients in new England obtain birth certificates and other identity documents that reflect each client’s post-transition name and gender. The team includes more than 175 attorneys and is led by securities & public companies associate Emily Oldshue (Boston). They are supervised by partner Jane Goldstein, co-head of the firm’s M&A group.
- An Asia-based team was honored for its work with Pathfinders, a nongovernmental organization in Hong Kong that offers social services and legal support to undocumented women and children. The team was also honored for its work with students at Hong Kong University on legal education curricula.
The firm presented one other individual award:
- Deborah Gersh, a partner in the Chicago office and co-chair of the firm’s health care practice group, received the Award for Outstanding Partner Pro Bono Service. Ms. Gersh was recognized for her work on behalf of Heartland Alliance, an anti-poverty organization in Chicago that advances human rights and helps endangered populations.
The continued growth of the global pro bono program highlights the collaborative way in which Ropes & Gray attorneys work across offices and practices, and it is a testament to the firm’s longstanding commitment to public service. From securing asylum for endangered immigrants, to helping people keep 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.
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