NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2020

Dentons US LLP - Chicago, Illinois

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Ben Weinberg
Pro Bono Contact Title Pro Bono Partner
Pro Bono Contact Phone 312-876-3101
Pro Bono Contact Email
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year 3.39%
Average Hours per Attorney last year 53

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 88%
Percent of partners participating last year 56%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 70%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 71
Average hours per partner last year 38
Average hours per other lawyer last year 50
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 46%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 40,972
Does the organization maintain a written pro bono policy that sets forth the organization's commitment to pro bono? Yes
How does the organization define what constitutes pro bono legal work?

Dentons US LLP has adopted the AmLaw/Pro Bono Institute's definition of pro bono legal work.

Organization pro bono hours goals

Does the organization set annual goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed by the organization? Yes
If yes, what is that annual goal? 3%

Attorney pro bono goals

Does the organization set individual attorney goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed? Yes
If yes, what is that annual goal? 60 hours


Is an attorney's commitment to pro bono activity considered a favorable factor in advancement and compensation decisions? Yes
If yes, to what extent? Pro Bono activity has been one compelling factor to advancement to partner status.

Pro bono support services

Are full-time support services (word processing, online research Lexis/Westlaw, out of pocket costs) available for pro bono representation? Yes
If so, are there any limitations?
Are associates provided written evaluations of their work on pro bono matters? Yes
Does the organization employ one or more of the following structures to manage its pro bono program and to provide training and guidance to participating attorneys? (Check all that apply): Full-time attorney in a dedicated pro bono coordination/oversight role
Pro Bono Committee
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

The process is the same as billable work, but also via e-mail requests.

If an attorney is permitted to bring a pro bono case for possible consideration by the firm, who makes decisions about whether the firm will handle the matter? (check all that apply) Pro Bono Committee

Enabling pro bono or public interest work

Does the organization provide any of the following to enable its attorneys to participate in pro bono activities or work in a public interest setting? (Check all that apply): Fellowships
If so please describe

Summer associate pro bono opportunities

Are pro bono opportunities available for summer associates? Yes
Additional comments (Please use this space to provide any additional information about your organization's pro bono program including any special recognition or awards the organization has received for its pro bono work.)

At Dentons US LLP, we consider it our social responsibility as lawyers to provide access to justice to some of the most vulnerable members of society. In designing pro bono projects, we are first and foremost concerned with the impact our work has on the unmet legal needs of our local communities. Dentons provides pro bono assistance on many levels, including one-on-one legal counsel, class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of a group of individuals, and legal clinics in partnership with legal service organizations. This diverse approach makes our pro bono program unique and enables our lawyers to live up to their social responsibility.

Dentons US LLP has received recognition for its pro bono work from many of the leading legal aid organizations in the US, including Lawyers Alliance for New York, Public Counsel in Los Angeles, the Childrens Law Center in Washington, DC, the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) in Chicago, New York Legal Assistance Group, and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. In addition, the firm's Pro Bono Partner, Ben Weinberg, served as the 2016 Board President for the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo).

What are some of the areas in which your organization has performed pro bono work in the past year?

Lawyers and professionals at Dentons US LLP provide pro bono assistance in myriad areas, including domestic violence, disability rights, landlord/tenant, unemployment, social security, amicus briefs, and special education. The firm's Social Impact program focuses on several areas:

  • The firm created the Cook County Domestic Violence Appellate project, and firm lawyers from several US offices have won appeals on behalf of domestic violence survivors

  • Dentons US LLP's lawyers do impact work on behalf of underserved communities, with a special focus on people with disabilities

  • Dentons US LLP's lawyers are partnering with colleagues in the Middle East, UK, Europe, Canada, and Latin America to represent refugees fleeing horrible violence and chaos in the Middle East

Significant 2019 Cases

Rasho v. Walker

Dentons US LLP served as lead counsel in Rasho v. Walker (C.D. IL). Dentons US LLP, along with its non-profit partners Equip Equality and the Uptown Peoples Law Center, secured a major pro bono victory in a seven-year legal battle to improve the treatment of thousands of prisoners with mental illnesses currently incarcerated throughout the Illinois state correctional system. After the State of Illinois failed to live up to an agreed to a groundbreaking settlement, Dentons US LLP went to trial and secured a permanent federal court injunction requiring  the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to provide specialized healthcare and services for approximately 11,000 mentally ill people as well as create facilities and hire staff to treat this fragile segment of the prison population.

Fellowship sponsorship

Does your organization sponsor split public interest summer and/or post-graduate fellowships? No
Public Interest Fellowship Comments

Dentons funded a 2018/2019 Equal Justice Works Fellowship.