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Ropes & Gray Selected as a Law360 “Pro Bono Firm of the Year”

Tags: Pro Bono

Ropes & Gray was among a select group of firms chosen by Law360 as a “Pro Bono Firm of the Year” for its work on behalf of impoverished individuals, underserved communities, nonprofits and small businesses in 2015. The firm was profiled in Law360, which cited the firm’s long tradition of pro bono work and highlighted the expanding international scope of the firm’s program.

The award underscored the importance of pro bono service at the firm.

“If you’re going to be a Ropes & Gray lawyer, you must think of pro bono work,” pro bono co-chair Bill Sussman told Law360. “It’s part of who we are.” 

Ropes & Gray attorneys dedicated an average of more than 100 hours in 2015 to pro bono work, tackling numerous challenging issues on behalf of clients that included the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in the landmark marriage equality case at the U.S. Supreme Court, and a class of inmates at the New York City jails on Rikers Island, as well as a Massachusetts man, George Perrot, who was released from prison after serving 30 years for a crime he did not commit.

The firm’s pro bono work includes petitioning the Supreme Court to review the First Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Jane Doe v. Backpage.com LLC. A Ropes & Gray team represents three child sex trafficking victims in the case against Backpage.com, a website that transmits the vast majority of internet advertisements for illegal commercial sex in the United States, including online child sex advertising. In its petition, the firm asks the Supreme Court to limit the First Circuit’s expansive interpretation of the federal Communications Decency Act to website operators who serve as passive conduits for internet conduct.

And in a recent pro bono victory for same-sex couples seeking parental rights in New York, Ropes & Gray drafted and filed amicus briefs on behalf of a number of advocacy organizations (including NCLR, the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project) supporting the successful parties in two cases before New York’s highest court. The Court of Appeals held that a person who is not a biological or adoptive parent may obtain standing to petition for custody or visitation under state law.

The honor follows the firm’s selection as “Pro Bono Program of the Year” at the inaugural Chambers Diversity Awards in June.