NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP - Multi-Office

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Antony Ryan
Pro Bono Contact Title Partner
Pro Bono Contact Phone 212-474-1000
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 Cravath dedicated over 3% of billable time to pro bono work (but less than 5%)
Average Hours per Attorney last year 73

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 63%
Percent of partners participating last year 61%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 42%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 93
Average hours per partner last year 42
Average hours per other lawyer last year 36
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 41%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 35,166
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 Firm defines pro bono legal work in accordance with the Pro Bono Institute’s definition of pro bono.

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? The Firm is a member of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, pledging to contribute annually an amount of time equal to 3% of our billable hours to pro bono work.
Does the organization set individual attorney goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed? No


Is an attorney's commitment to pro bono activity considered a favorable factor in advancement and compensation decisions? Yes
If yes, to what extent? The pro bono work a lawyer does is regularly included in his or her evaluation; however, compensation is determined solely by reference to seniority.

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?

No. Pro bono matters are handled in the same way other matters for the Firm’s paying clients are handled.

Are associates provided written evaluations of their work on pro bono matters? No
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): Other: Full-time non-practicing attorney in a dedicated pro bono management/oversight role; Pro Bono Partner; Non-Attorney Administrator
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

An associate can become involved in a pro bono matter by either working on a matter that has been undertaken by the partner with whom they works, or by taking on a matter by themselves, subject to partner approval and supervision. The Firm also has several formal pro bono programs in which associates can become involved.

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) Other: Supervising Partner and Pro Bono Partner
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):

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.)

Challenging pro bono work has long been a cornerstone of our practice. It is a fundamental part of who we are and it is critically important to those whom we help. The full resources of the Firm are brought to bear in support of every pro bono matter.

Our pro bono work also provides a meaningful way for our lawyers to develop and strengthen their legal skills. Associates and summer associates are strongly encouraged to take on pro bono clients, and they are instructed to provide them with the same top-tier representation we offer our paying clients. Under a partner’s supervision, associates have taken the lead in cases where they represent domestic violence survivors, political asylum seekers, hospitalized children, wrongfully convicted inmates, victims of racial and gender discrimination, and many others. Associates have provided transactional advice to non-profit organizations, and they have worked on precedent-setting litigation in areas that range from civil rights to copyright law. From defending one of the first Native Americans tried for the murder of a white man in New York to helping establish the Miranda doctrine, our attorneys have achieved landmark victories in civil rights cases that have changed society for the better. Pro bono opportunities are readily available to lawyers in all the Firm’s practice areas.

Our legal services partners include the ACLU, American Immigrant Representation Project, Brennan Center for Justice, CAIR NY, Center for Global Enterprise, City Bar Justice Center, Disability Rights Advocates, Her Justice, Human Rights First, Immigration Equality, KIND, Lambda Legal, Lawyers Alliance, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Legal Aid Society of New York, Legal Services NYC, MFY Legal Services, The National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York City Anti-Violence Project, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, New York Legal Assistance Group, NYU Veteran’s Legal Services Project, Office of the Appellate Defender, Sanctuary for Families, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Trustlaw, Vera Institute of Justice, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Volunteers of Legal Service. Many have recognized the Firm with awards for our pro bono work. These include: The 2022 New York Legal Assistance Group Hero of Justice Award, The 2023 and 2021 Her Justice Commitment to Justice Award, The 2021 Immigration Equality Safe Have Award, The 2020 Human Rights First Marvin E. Finkel Award, The 2020 National Legal Aid & Defender Association Beacon of Justice Award, The Legal Aid Society 2021, 2019 & 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award, Sanctuary for Families’ 2022 and 2017 Above and Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Award, the Disability Rights Advocates 2017 Honors Celebrating Co-Counsel, recognition by MFY Legal Services in 2017 for support and commitment to pro bono, Her Justice’s 2016 Commitment to Justice Outstanding Legal Team Award, Her Justice’s 2013 Law Firm and Pro Bono Liaison Award, Urban Justice Center’s 2013 Social Justice Award, 2013 City Bar Justice Award, Sanctuary for Families’ 2011 Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy, among others.


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

Through our pro bono practice, Cravath lawyers are making high-impact contributions that are advancing justice and improving clients’ lives. The Firm takes on pro bono matters of many sizes and types.  In addition to large litigation cases, we represent indigent individuals in criminal appeals, post-conviction proceedings in death penalty cases, family law matters, civil litigation, domestic violence cases, civil rights litigation and asylum and other immigration proceedings. We also provide a wide range of free legal services to non-profit and charitable organizations.

Cravath regularly engages in impact litigation to bring about large scale changes for the common good. For example, Cravath, with co-counsel from A Better Childhood, Inc., has represented a group of children in foster care in New York in a lawsuit alleging systemic deficiencies in the foster care system. We also represent a married lesbian couple who were not allowed to be foster parents in South Carolina because they failed to meet certain religious criteria and individuals with disabilities who are unable to access police stations in New York City because those stations are not accessible to those with mobility disabilities. 

We have also focused pro bono efforts on racial justice. Our racial justice work involves working with individuals and communities of color who are disproportionally impacted by various challenges, as well as working on behalf of organizations that are focused on advancing racial equality.  Throughout our pro bono work we consider the racial justice aspect of the work we take on and we collaborate with legal service organizations to identify areas of need and develop projects that advance racial justice. Cravath is a member of the Alliance for Asian American Justice, as well as the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance.

Recently, in a conclusion nearly 40 years in the making, Cravath brought to a close its representation of African American and female plaintiffs in pro bono litigation related to employment discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama.  We were awarded $6M in attorney’s fees, which are being donated to Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Equal Justice Initiative, EJI’s Legacy Museum, Fisk University and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  We have also submitted amicus briefs in a number of cases involving racial profiling and voting rights.

Cravath dedicates significant resources to assisting individuals who are incarcerated, including several institutional reform lawsuits. We also represent clients in appeals from criminal convictions, habeas corpus petitions, motions for compassionate release and parole release applications. In 2021, Cravath formed the Incarcerated Survivors’ Initiative (“ISI”), whereby we provide counsel in matters involving resentencing, parole and civil rights violations to incarcerated individuals in New York who have survived domestic and/or sexual violence, including while imprisoned. We also represent juvenile offenders with life sentences who have been denied parole in a class action suit against the New York Board of Parole for violations of the class members’ constitutional rights. Cravath also represents a putative class of inmates at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama in an action alleging the dangerous conditions and actions of staff at the prison violate the Eighth Amendment. Recently, Cravath secured a substantial civil rights settlement for a prison inmate assaulted and sentenced to solitary confinement by State Corrections Officers, and secured the release of two clients after each serving twenty-five years behind bars.

Cravath provides legal assistance to individuals in connection with a number of immigration needs, including asylum, appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and Courts of Appeals, humanitarian parole (including humanitarian parole for Afghan refugees), extensions of nonimmigrant visas for families of sick children to remain in the US through a child’s medical treatment, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and advising victims of domestic violence on naturalization applications, U visa applications, VAWA self-petitions and T visa adjustment of status applications. In 2022, Cravath partnered with New York Legal Assistance Group to launch a new pro bono initiative to assist Ukrainians living in the United States apply for Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) to enable them to remain here while it is unsafe to return home.

Our lawyers team with doctors and social workers at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore and Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian to provide free legal services to sick children and their families. This program was developed by a pediatrician, who noticed that his patients’ health problems often went beyond traditional medical care, in an effort to provide legal services to families regarding issues that affect children’s medical conditions.  Cravath lawyers have obtained extensions of nonimmigrant visas for families to remain in the United States during their children’s cancer treatments; obtained immigration benefits for undocumented teenagers, which allow them to attend college and legally work in the U.S.; obtained special education services for disabled children; obtained reinstatement of Supplemental Security Income and other public benefits for needy families; found suitable housing for sick children living in homes that were overcrowded, unsanitary or unsafe; and succeeded in appealing Medicaid coverage denials in order to obtain necessary treatments, wheelchairs, medical transportation and other medical services. We have handled over 470 cases since the project launched.

In addition to representing individual pro bono clients, associates also provide a wide range of free legal services to non-profit and charitable organizations. Our nonprofit clients receive legal counsel on corporate structure and governance, tax, real estate, intellectual property, and other business and transactional law issues that are critical to their operations. By provided transactional legal services for nonprofits, Cravath directly impacts the nonprofit sector and New York City communities. Our services greatly enhance our clients' performance, which translates into expanded and improved programs for the families, children and adults who need them most.

Please visit our website ( for additional information.

Fellowship sponsorship

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