NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Goldberg Kohn - Goldberg Kohn Ltd.

Pro Bono/Public Interest

View All Sections | Hide All Sections

Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name Roger Lewis
Pro Bono Contact Title Chair of the Pro Bono Committee
Pro Bono Contact Phone 3122013981
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 1.3%
Average Hours per Attorney last year

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 49.1
Percent of partners participating last year 40
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 0

Average hours

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

Goldberg Kohn's Commitment to Pro Bono

Goldberg Kohn is committed to supporting and assisting individuals and organizations in the Chicagoland area. Driven by the interests of the firm's principals and associates, Goldberg Kohn provides legal representation in projects locally and nationally that are pro bono publico (“for the public good”). The firm encourages associates to identify pro bono opportunities. The firm contributes professional skills and substantial resources in cases and projects that assist those who could not otherwise obtain legal representation and supports diverse social causes that increase access to the arts and cultural expressions of Chicago.

Goldberg Kohn was one of the first law firms to make a 100% commitment to the Chicago Bar Foundation’s inaugural Investing in Justice Campaign, a fundraising effort designed to address the legal aid crisis in Chicago through financial support for legal aid attorneys. The firm is proud to have provided continual support for this campaign since its inception in 2007. 

In addition, the principals of Goldberg Kohn established a charitable foundation that annually provides financial support to scores of local, regional and national charities, as well as civic and cultural organizations.

Supporting Nonprofits

Assisting organizations with completing the extensive paperwork necessary to obtain nonprofit status in Illinois and tax-exempt status with the IRS is another way Goldberg Kohn attorneys have helped various groups such as The Coalition for Education on Sexual Orientation, a group dedicated to promoting the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, and ‘N The Spirit Transformational Living, which provides counseling and housing for women suffering from addiction and domestic abuse.

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


Is an attorney's commitment to pro bono activity considered a favorable factor in advancement and compensation decisions? Yes
If yes, to what extent? Counts towards billable hours and for performance and discretionary bonus considerations.

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): Pro Bono Committee
Non-attorney administrator
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?

The pro bono matters we undertake should be dictated in the first instance by the interests and passions of the lawyers who desire to work on them.  This is the best way to assure the personal and professional satisfaction of the lawyers at the firm, as well as a meaningful level of aggregate pro bono commitment.  Pro bono work should include the representation of people who cannot afford to pay for legal representation, and for representation related to issues in the public interest.

As part of the firm's fiscal budgeting process, the PBC shall make a recommendation, for approval by the partnership, of the value of the total time to be allocated each year to pro bono work.  Pro bono matters within the budget, which can be staffed appropriately, and which comply with the principles in this document, shall be approved.  It shall be the responsibility of the PBC to solicit attorneys in the firm (partners and associates) on a regular basis about the types of pro bono work which interest them and then to make sure that type of work is brought into the firm.

The PBC should include (not exclusively) partners and associates from a cross-section of political perspectives who have demonstrated and expressed a desire to do pro bono work.  All proposals for pro bono work shall be submitted to the head of the practice group responsible for working on the matter and then to the PBC for approval.  Each proposal should describe the matter, including the estimated amount and length of time involved in the representation.  The PBC should report to the partnership and to the firm generally on a quarterly basis (a) the absolute numbers and percentage of revenue and hours devoted to pro bono work; (b) a description of the pro bono matters handled during that time period; and (c) the names of the lawyers who are actively involved in civic organizations and a description of those organizations.  Although not considered pro bono, the information in part (c) of the report will inform our lawyers about the types of pro bono opportunities that might be available through these organizations.  The PBC shall have use of the marketing staff to assist with the preparation of this report.  The PBC will also work with the practice group leaders to establish goals for the respective departments for the percentages of hours they should be devoting to pro bono work.

As a general rule, associates may count up to 200 hours per year of pro bono time towards billable hours and bonus requirements.  To the extent the firm agrees to take on a pro bono representation that requires an associate to exceed that limitation, there shall be a discussion and agreement at the outset of the matter as to how the additional hours (over 200) should be counted.  Partners in all practice groups should be supportive of an associate's desire to do pro bono work. 

The most interesting, stimulating, and rewarding pro bono work often involves high profile issues that include considerable controversy.  Our pro bono program should not be neutered in such a way that it prevents the firm from taking on a significant number of these types of cases.

Our analysis as to whether to take on a pro bono matter must be independent of the liberal, conservative, or other political nature of the cause to be supported.  However, the firm will not undertake a matter which is so offensive to a meaningful number of lawyers at the firm that it creates a deep personal conflict for those people to be associated with a firm that is involved in such a matter.  This type of objection should be used sparingly.

Pro bono representation should not jeopardize important client relationships or otherwise pose a significant financial threat to the firm unless the cause is so morally compelling and universally accepted within the firm, that a firm-wide determination is made that the matter is worth the risk.  The analysis as to whether a matter poses such risks should be made independent of personal feelings about the proposed matter.


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
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? No
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.)

Goldberg Kohn no longer has a summer associate program.

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

Some of the pro bono work Goldberg Kohn has performed in the past year includes:

  • DACA Renewal (virtual clinic)
  • Power of Attoney/End-of-Life Documentation for Seniors (virtual clinic)
  • NIJC Asylum Applicant Representation

Fellowship sponsorship

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