NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Dentons US LLP - Dallas, Texas

http://www.dentons.com

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 [email protected]
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year 2.3%
Average Hours per Attorney last year 31

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 72%
Percent of partners participating last year 53%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 41%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 33
Average hours per partner last year 26.13
Average hours per other lawyer last year 46.15
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 35%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 25,414
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? 50 hours

Advancement/compensation

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?

No

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?

Dentons uses Paladin to help lawyers and professionals identify pro bono opportunities. In addition, the process is the same as billable work, but also via email 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 Coordinator
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
Other
If so please describe

The firm regularly sponsors fellowships, including Equal Justice Works, ADA25, and off-the-rack.

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, 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.

Recognition
Dentons has received recognition for its pro bono work from many of the leading legal aid organizations in the US, including National Legal Aid and Defender Association, 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 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:

• Dentons is one of the founding firms of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), and has been involved in all levels of the organization

• 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 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 2022 Case
In 2022, working pro bono alongside the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), the Firm obtained class certification of an injunctive relief class and a settlement agreement in a disability rights lawsuit against the Suffolk County (MO) Department of Social Services (Newkirk v. Pierre, 19-cv-4283 (E.D.N.Y.). Our clients, and similarly situated members of the plaintiff class, could not apply for or maintain vital public benefits because the department failed to provide reasonable accommodations, as required by the Americans With Disabilities Act. This case was of particular interest to women because disability rates are higher for women.

The groundbreaking settlement, which has now been approved by the court, will transform every aspect of the county’s provision of public benefits, including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and emergency shelter, in order to redress such barriers to justice. 

This project is notable because Dentons has a long history of using its expertise in defending class actions – a core part of our litigation business – to protect and advance the rights of people in underserved communities.  In addition, the fact that this work often is led by Sandy Hauser, the head of the entire commercial litigation practice group at Dentons, provides a strong message to the entire firm that we mean it when we say we are committed to making a positive social impact on the communities in which we live and work.

Fellowship sponsorship

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

Dentons regularly sponsors public interest fellowship, including EJW and similar firm-organized fellowships. The firm currently is funding a position at Equip for Equality, primarily to work on impact litigation on behalf of people with disabilities.