NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP - New York, New York

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Nina Strong
Pro Bono Contact Title Coor - Talent Development/ Pro Bono
Pro Bono Contact Phone 212.858.1058
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 3.2
Average Hours per Attorney last year 64.7

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 91.4
Percent of partners participating last year 62.2
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 67.2

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 72.0
Average hours per partner last year 47.6
Average hours per other lawyer last year 78.4
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 61.7
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 35,976.56
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?

Pillsbury’s definition follows that of the Pro Bono Institute: (i) legal services to persons of limited means, or to organizations designed to address the needs of those persons; (ii) legal assistance to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights; (iii) legal assistance to charitable, religious, civic and other organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of legal fees would deplete resources or be inappropriate. Within this definition, the Firm takes on a wide range of pro bono matters.

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? 25


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 work is evaluated as all other client work.

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): An attorney who coordinates pro bono projects as an ancillary duty to other work
Pro Bono Committee
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

Members of the Firm’s Pro Bono Committee are largely responsible for staffing matters that arise from organizations in their geographic area by seeking volunteers; volunteers are solicited across all practice areas and all levels of experience. Some matters may be staffed across multiple offices based on the interests or expertise of our attorneys and the size of the matter. Attorneys are also encouraged to bring new pro bono clients to the Firm.

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
Part-time pro bono programs
If so please describe

The Pillsbury Social Impact Fellowship allows one first-year associate to spend a year performing public interest legal work full-time with a non-profit organization mutually selected by the Fellow and Pillsbury. Under the Fellowship, the Fellow is an employee of Pillsbury, earns a stipend of $115,000 and is eligible for the Firm’s benefits programs. At the conclusion of the year, the Fellow joins Pillsbury as a second-year associate.

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

The scope and breadth of our pro bono practice incorporates a wide range of activities and efforts, reflecting the needs of the communities in which we work, as well as the interests and passions of our attorneys. In particular, Pillsbury encourages attorneys to provide legal services for disadvantaged members of our communities. Partners supervise each pro bono matter, and our attorneys participate in both in-house and external training programs designed to enhance the skills needed to serve our pro bono clients. Pillsbury participates in pro bono work in three broad categories: Indigent Clients, Civil Rights, and Community and Public Organizations. Within those three broad areas, representative areas of law in which Pillsbury has performed pro bono legal services include asylum, civil rights, First Amendment and Constitutional issues, HIV/AIDS advocacy, homeless advocacy, immigration, LGBTQ rights, nonprofit corporate law/incorporation/tax exemptions, the arts and historic preservation, and voting rights. Every attorney is expected to perform a minimum of 25 hours of pro bono legal services annually. Below are a few examples of pro bono work from the past year.

Examples of Current Pro Bono Matters:

Org name/Client Name: Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Civil Rights Research

Nature of Work: Pillsbury has partnered with The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to help reinstate the voting rights of formerly incarcerated individuals and help make a dent in the 17,000 Americans hoping to have their civil rights restored. In 2018, FRRC led the movement to restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals upon completion of their sentence. However, legal financial obligations (e.g., fines and fees) remain a hurdle for many in having their voting rights reinstated. Pillsbury attorneys and staff reviewed over 300 case files in 2022 to help determine if the returning citizens were eligible for assistance through FRRC’s pro bono motion-filing program at a half-day Researchathon in September, and on an ongoing basis throughout the year. The FRRC was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for their work.

# of Attorneys involved/Offices: Approximately 31 attorneys (and non-attorney staff) from our Austin, Miami, New York, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC offices.

   Org name/client name: Multiple (30 and counting) individual Black small business founders.

Nature of Work:  As part of Pillsbury’s commitment to help increase access and opportunity for Black-owned startups, Pillsbury formed the Black-Owned Startup Support (BOSS) Lab to address the systemic inequities that have resulted in Black founders comprising only 1 percent of venture-backed startups. As part of this effort, Pillsbury lawyers and colleagues in complementary practices provide volunteer legal and advisory services to innovative startups with high-growth potential. Our mission is to help reimagine the startup ecosystem by partnering with Black founders to support their businesses and provide access to the additional tools, knowledge and networks necessary to secure funding and position their companies for long-term success. To date, Pillsbury has accepted 30 start-ups into the program.

# of Attorneys involved/Offices:  Approximately 40 attorneys from eight offices.

  Org name/client name: Sisters of Service

Nature of work: Pillsbury has joined a task force of five law firms (including Paul Hastings LLP, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, McGuireWoods LLP and Vedder Price PC) to provide legal assistance to Afghan Female Tactical Platoon members seeking asylum in the U.S. These women were critical to U.S. efforts to communicate with Afghan women during U.S. operations there, and their valor and bravery make it all but impossible for them to safely return to Afghanistan under the current Taliban regime. In 2022, Richard Donoghue (Partner, NY) is supervising multiple coordinated asylum filings for these women, as well as supplemental filings for their family members.

# of Attorneys involved/Offices: Approximately 15 attorneys from Pillsbury’s New York office.

 Org name/client name: Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (“MAIP”)

Nature of work:  Teams review case files of prisoners to identify potential wrongful convictions.  Since July 2020, 75 Pillsbury volunteers have worked on the cases of 27 prisoners convicted in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  Volunteers review a prisoner’s case file, consisting of hundreds of pages of trial transcripts, filings, police records and investigative documents, to analyze whether a prisoner may be factually innocent of the crime and identify potential sources of exculpatory evidence.  Over the past year, MAIP sought the assistance of Pillsbury to get involved in conducting more investigative work on their cases.  Volunteers have been submitting state FOIA requests to police departments and prosecutor’s offices, and work as a team to analyze how the information affects a prisoner’s potential innocence claim.  Separately, Pillsbury worked with MAIP on its 20-year Retrospective Project to thoroughly review all 39 of its exoneration cases over its 20-year history to analyze cases for common themes and issues to better guide future case selection and strategy.

# of Attorneys involved/Offices:  Approximately 75 attorneys and staff from our Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., New York and Houston offices.

    Org name/client name: Lawyers for Good Government

Nature of work: With pro bono organization Lawyers for Good Government, Pillsbury has joined a multi-firm, national, reproductive rights legal research project. Lawyers For Good Government’s Reproductive Health Legal Assistance Project aims to mobilize a nationwide network of lawyers to build and maintain a national database of legal resources for medical providers across the country. The database, which will track the U.S. reproductive rights legal landscape, will be made available to L4GG approved partners, including law firms, reproductive rights organizations and, most importantly, healthcare providers. Using this database, L4GG plans to send out a daily digest email to subscribers reporting on changes in the law across the U.S. In addition, the Project includes the development of a resource library for non-lawyers seeking guidance on specific issues in particular states. Pillsbury attorneys have signed on to monitor the reproductive healthcare landscape in Alabama and Indiana.

# of Attorneys involved/Offices: Approximately 13 attorneys from our New York, Washington DC, and Miami offices


Fellowship sponsorship

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

1) The Pillsbury Social Impact Fellowship allows one first-year Pillsbury associate to spend a year performing public interest legal work full-time with a non-profit organization mutually selected by the fellow and Pillsbury. Under the Fellowship, the fellow is an employee of Pillsbury, earns a stipend of $115,000 and receives benefits. At the conclusion of the year, the fellow joins Pillsbury as second-year associate.

2) Since 1993, Pillsbury has sponsored Fellows through Equal Justice Works, which supports creative public service projects through an application process by recent law school graduates that draws proposals for community-based projects proximate to our offices in California, New York, Texas, Washington, D.C.,Virginia and Florida. Past Equal Justice Works fellows sponsored by Pillsbury have advocated for the rights of the developmentally disabled, immigrant workers, military service members and veterans, unhoused persons and many other under-served groups. Recent projects have focused on civil rights, criminal justice system reform and reentry.