NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP - New York, New York

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Steven H. Schulman
Pro Bono Contact Title Partner
Pro Bono Contact Phone 202.887.4071
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 6%
Average Hours per Attorney last year 89

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 93%
Percent of partners participating last year 75%
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 78%

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 144
Average hours per partner last year 38
Average hours per other lawyer last year 88
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 71.5%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 67,718
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?

Akin is a charter signatory to the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, and follows the PBI's definition of pro bono. The focus of the firm's pro bono practice is on the provision of legal services to low income persons, and entities that assist low income persons or the public at large (e.g. civil rights, conservation, human rights organizations). While pro bono work may involve any practice area (including transactional advice to entities), the pro bono client must not be able to afford legal services for the matter presented

Does the organization set annual goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed by the organization? No

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


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 hours are counted equally to any other client hours, with no cap on credit. All levels of firm management champion the firm's policy of strongly encouraging lawyers to participate in our pro bono practice as part of their ongoing case loads.

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?

Per the firm's pro bono policies, pro bono matters are given the same level of staffing and supervision as other legal matters that the firm undertakes.

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
Non-attorney administrator
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

Pro bono work is assigned and distributed by the firmwide pro bono partner, in collaboration with the firm's Pro Bono Committee. Attorneys often volunteer for pro bono matters, and some initiate projects on their own.

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
Department Chair
Other: Pro Bono Team
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.)

Akin's lawyers across the firm are working to defend human rights by representing asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and non-governmental human rights organizations. Akin lawyers are also involved in significant pro bono impact litigation cases. The firm has received substantial recognition for its pro bono practice, including being recognized on the National Law Journal Pro Bono Hot List, the American Lawyer’s A-List, and on Law360’s list of Pro Bono Firms of the Year. The firm's summer associates are an integral part of a firmwide project to help immigrant survivors of domestic violence obtain permanent U.S. residency under the Violence Against Women Act. This project allows summer associates to take the lead with client interviews, drafting comprehensive letters and affidavits. Through this project we have helped more than 200 women obtain permanent residency in the U.S.

In 2008 Akin launched its Pro Bono Scholars Program, a two-year summer program for top first-year law school students who show a strong interest in making pro bono an integral part of their Akin careers. During the first summer (as rising 2Ls), Pro Bono Scholars spend at least five weeks at a public interest or legal services organization of their choice, such as the Tahirih Justice Center, KIPP charter schools, Her Justice, Public Counsel, and the Human Rights Initiative. Pro Bono Scholars also spend five weeks at the firm working entirely on pro bono matters. These matters offer the program participants substantial responsibility and training in the areas in which the firm focuses its pro bono practice. The next (rising third year) summer, Pro Bono Scholars join the firm as participants in the firm’s general summer associate program. The program provides an important training experience for the students and valuable assistance to some of the community organizations with which the firm partners. In the summer of 2023, Akin will welcome Pro Bono Scholars in the Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. offices.  The firm also has a related Pro Bono Scholars Program for trainee solicitors in our London office.

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

Human rights & refugees, including asylum and trafficking issues; justice reform for juveniles sentenced to life without parole; representation of defendants facing the death penalty; filing amicus briefs in civil rights matters; international trainings on enforcing and prosecuting human trafficking and wildlife trafficking crimes; legislative counseling; expungement law; assistance to victims of domestic violence; assistance related to the creation of medical-legal partnerships; civil rights and Supreme Court litigation; employment and other business law advice to non-profits, including charter schools; gender name-change assistance to LGBTQ+ community; assistance resolving landlord/tenant disputes and eviction defense.

Fellowship sponsorship

Does your organization sponsor split public interest summer and/or post-graduate fellowships? Yes
Public Interest Fellowship Comments

Akin is a longtime supporter of Equal Justice Works and the firm sponsors four Equal Justice Works fellowships, two of which are co-sponsored with firm clients.  The firm’s Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston offices offer the Akin Pro Bono Scholars Program, in the US, and offers trainee-solicitors in London our UK Pro Bono Scholars Programme.