NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Sidley Austin LLP - Los Angeles, California

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Gabrielle Cuskelly
Pro Bono Contact Title Greater Los Angeles Co-Chair/ Pro Bono and Public Interest Law Committee
Pro Bono Contact Phone 213 896-6000
Pro Bono Contact Email
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year 4.6%
Average Hours per Attorney last year 98.58

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 76.2
Percent of partners participating last year 37.1
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 39.3

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 98.58
Average hours per partner last year 30.93
Average hours per other lawyer last year 123.01
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 47.9%
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 140,548.20
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?

ABA Definition and PLI Definition

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? 60 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? Excellence in representation is weighted the same in determining an attorney's advancement whether that work is pro bono or not.

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?

There are no limitations. We do ask experts and service providers in our pro bono cases if they would consider donating their services as well.

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

Pro bono work is assigned generally on the basis of attorney preference/interest. Sidley generates pro bono opportunities internally (through, for example, long-standing relationships with legal service providers, bar organizations and other non-profits) and welcomes pro bono work that Firm lawyers bring in and wish to undertake. Sidley has established six firm-wide initiatives: the Capital Litigation Project, the Political Asylum and Immigrants’ Rights Project, the Veterans Advocacy Project, the Emerging Enterprises Program, Constitutional Rights and Civil Liberties, and Pro Bono for the Arts. The Firm encourages attorneys to support these projects, and has devoted significant resources to the matters we have taken pursuant to these initiatives.

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) Department Chair

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

Sidley sponsors Pro Bono Fellows in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago. Sidley has a pro bono externship program in our New York office.

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.)

Sidley handles a wide variety of pro bono matters each year, including transactional and real estate work, criminal trials and appeals (including numerous appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court), housing discrimination litigation, matters involving battered women, child custody cases, landlord/tenant disputes, civil rights advocacy, COVID-19 compassionate release projects, religious liberties, and public benefits cases. As part of our Capital Litigation Project, our first firm-wide initiative launched in 2004, we have represented 24 defendants on death row in Alabama in post-conviction proceedings, totaling more than 164,000 hours dedicated to this work. As part of Sidley’s Political Asylum and Immigrants' Rights Project, the firm’s second firm-wide initiative established two years later, we handle a large number of asylum applications and other matters on behalf of indigent immigrants. Lawyers across Sidley’s U.S. offices have teamed up with prominent nonprofit organizations on multiple federal cases to protect refugees, immigrants, and the legal service providers who represent them. In 2007, Sidley founded its third firm-wide initiative, the Veterans Advocacy Project, to help returning service members and veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and veterans of other conflicts receive the benefits to which they are entitled. In 2012, Sidley launched its fourth firm-wide initiative -- and its first global firm-wide initiative -- the Emerging Enterprises Program. As of today, this Program continues to provide free legal support to eligible small and medium-sized for-profit enterprises and market-focused NGOs and non-profits that have a clear social impact in developing countries across Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Sidley frequently is recognized for its unwavering commitment to pro bono service and the work we do.


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

A full description of our pro bono work can be found in our annual pro bono reports at:

Fellowship sponsorship

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

An important component of Sidley’s pro bono work is its fellowship program, which allows associates to work at nonprofit organizations in the community before they begin working at the firm. While the programs in Sidley’s various offices differ in some respects, the programs all share certain characteristics: Sidley provides a fellowship stipend or pays the salary of the fellows or externs to allow them to work for a nonprofit organization for up to 10 weeks.