NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Fenwick & West LLP - Firmwide (Multiple Locations)

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 2.6
Average Hours per Attorney last year 39

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 78%
Percent of partners participating last year 58%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 70%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 42.8
Average hours per partner last year 13.2
Average hours per other lawyer last year 80.1
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 44%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 23,552.6
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
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) Other: Pro Bono Team/Pro Bono Counsel

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 providing assistance in the areas of reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, animal rights, housing, family law, immigration, racial justice impact litigation, 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 in continuing our grassroots effort to help individuals in Afghanistan after the US military’s exit from the country in August 2021. Fenwick’s humanitarian parole project to help Afghan emigrants trying to find ways out of their country was recognized with the 2022 ABA National Public Service Award. 

 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 expungement assistance, aiding veterans with discharge status upgrades to helping low-income individuals navigate public benefits, is felt by the hundreds of people we assist each year. In 2022 alone, Fenwick hosted over 30 virtual pro bono clinics where over 530 volunteers helped nearly 400 clients with their legal needs.

 In addition to our clinic work, we regularly provide representation to numerous immigration clients in full-scope T and U Visa, VAWA, SIJS, and asylum cases. In 2022, we were elated to celebrate 2 long-time clients as they were awarded green cards.

Fenwick is also proud to participate in impact litigation to help make change for our communities at large.  Most notably in 2022, Fenwick worked in partnership with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of San Francisco, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, and Bay Area Legal Aid to secure a significant victory in a lawsuit challenging the San Mateo Superior Court’s civil assessment program. The program, which imposed a $300 charge if an individual missed a payment or deadline for a traffic infraction (and often resulted in fees that were six to eight times greater than the base traffic violation fine) had a huge and disproportionate impact upon those who could least afford to pay these fees, and did not take into account the person’s circumstances—financial or otherwise. Our victory helped to abolish these unfair fines and fees in San Mateo and paved a path for legislation eliminating more than $500 million in outstanding civil assessment debts across California, and Fenwick was awarded LCCRSF’s Keta Taylor Colby Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Litigation for our work.

Furthermore, with respect to other areas of 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 and in addition to the Keta Colby Taylor award mentioned above, we have received the ABA National Public Service Award; Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Advancement in Animal Law Achievement Award; and 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, Reproductive Rights, Racial Justice Impact Litigation, Adoption

Fellowship sponsorship

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