NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2022

Fenwick & West LLP - Santa Monica, California

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Hilarie Atkisson
Pro Bono Contact Title Sr. Director of Corporate Social Responsibility/Pro Bono Counsel
Pro Bono Contact Phone (415) 875-2040
Pro Bono Contact Email [email protected]
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year 1.4%
Average Hours per Attorney last year 24

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 60%
Percent of partners participating last year 50%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 69%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 26
Average hours per partner last year 9
Average hours per other lawyer last year 51
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 30%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 14,747.9
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?

The pro bono legal services are to be provided to individuals, organizations or communities as follows: a. Low-income individuals or non-profit organizations primarily aimed to address the needs of low income individuals; b. Non-profit organizations where either: (i) The mission of the organization is to serve the indigent or to protect or preserve civil rights, civil liberties, public rights or human rights; or (ii) The specific matter proposed itself presents a qualifying mission and proposes to engage in a qualifying activity, i.e., one that serves the indigent or fosters human, civil or public rights; or (iii) The organization does not have the means to pay for legal services; c. In limited circumstances, small for-profit businesses where a substantial portion of such businesses' activities are to fulfill a commercial need in an economically challenged neighborhood and/or to serve low- income customers.

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? 20+ 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? It is considered for full billable credit and a favorable factor in compensation decisions.

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?

There are several ways that attorneys can begin working on a pro bono project. Pro bono opportunities are circulated on a regular basis and we maintain a list of opportunities on our internal pro bono webpage. We host many limited scope clinics in our offices and/or virtually several times a month. Additionally, we encourage those with existing relationship with legal services organization or with a particular subject matter interest to contact the Firm’s Pro Bono Counsel to assist with the approval process.

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): Externships
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 Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community through service to others. The pro bono work we provide to our clients results in changes to businesses, futures and lives, and our services range from corporate business and nonprofit counseling, intellectual property, and tax services to women's rights, immigration assistance, and a variety of other much-needed legal support for lower income individuals and organizations in our communities who would otherwise be without access to legal help.

The past few years have been incredibly challenging for so many, both in the US and abroad, and we are fortunate to have been able to assist not only hundreds of individuals, but also numerous small businesses and nonprofits during this time. This past year, Fenwick partnered with more than 70 organizations with the goal of providing pro bono legal services to individuals and entities that could not otherwise afford them.  We are also particularly proud of our work mobilizing a grassroots effort to help individuals in Afghanistan after the US military’s exit from the country in August. When one of our veteran associates began receiving messages from individuals he knew from when he was stationed there, it became clear that we needed to do something to help. Joining forces with other Fenwick staff, we developed a software system to help track the influx of Afghans in need of assistance and then matched them up with Fenwick attorneys who could assist with completing their humanitarian parole applications. 

 Throughout the year, Fenwick attorneys come together – sometimes in partnership with our own clients’ legal teams as well – to assist individuals, families and businesses through our legal clinics. The impact of our limited scope clinics, which range from immigration to seeking justice for those who were formerly incarcerated to combatting illegal practices, is felt by the hundreds of people we assist each year. In 2021 alone, Fenwick hosted 23 virtual pro bono clinics where over 350 volunteers helped nearly 250 clients with their legal needs.

 In addition to our clinic work, we regularly provide representation to numerous clients in T visa, U visa, VAWA, naturalization, and asylum cases. This past year, we had several successful T visa and U visa cases where a total of 10 individuals were awarded green cards – an important stepping stone on the path to citizenship. We also represented several individuals throughout the naturalization process, and four clients thus far have taken the oath to become full-fledged American citizens. Additionally, two of our attorney teams had significant asylum wins, where judges granted asylum to a Honduran family fleeing persecution from the MS-13 gang after members of the gang murdered their eldest son, and to a client who came to the US from El Salvador to escape an abusive relationship with a partner who was a member of MS-13.

Furthermore, with respect to our trial/lawsuit pro bono work, our litigation associates are given the opportunity to brief and argue cases in the Ninth Circuit—an invaluable experience to have at an early stage in their careers. We also work in partnership with several legal services organizations where our associates can get in-court experience and build a variety of litigation skills ranging from legal writing and motion practice to direct representation of clients in their housing, adoption, family court, or other cases. In recognition of our pro bono work in the past few years, we have received the ABA National Public Service Award along with awards from EuroMoney; Legal Services for Children; and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, who gave Fenwick their “Law Firm of the Year Award.

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

Name Change/Gender Affirmation, Expungement, Prisoners' Rights, Gun Violence Prevention, Domestic Violence and Sex Trafficking, Non-Profit Assistance, Immigration, Voting Rights, Appellate Project, Child Advocacy, Civil Rights, Corporate, Animal Rights, Environmental Advocacy, Intellectual Property, Tax

Fellowship sponsorship

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