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Pro Bono

As a proud signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, Kaye Scholer views pro bono work as an essential part of our core values and collaborative culture.

Beyond our commitment to, and belief in, the importance of justice and legal parity, an active pro bono practice promotes skills training and exposure to increased responsibilities for associates and enables all lawyers to fulfill their professional obligation to provide pro bono legal services.

The needs of low-income, oppressed, victimized, falsely accused and other disenfranchised individuals who lack access to quality legal representation far exceed what any one law firm can provide. To maximize the impact of our pro bono work, we partner with a select number of nonprofits such as the Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund, Brennan Center for Justice, Lawyers Alliance for New York, LatinoJustice, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, Public Counsel, The Legal Aid Society, and Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. These organizations help us identify pro bono clients who not only have the greatest need but, based on the specific facts and unique circumstances of each client, are also most likely to benefit from the type of legal work and experience that our lawyers offer.

Alison King
Pro Bono Counsel
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Elly Spiegel
Manager of Pro Bono & Community Affairs
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Kaye Scholer honored with 2014 Norman Redlich Pro Bono Award

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The Numbers: Our Accomplishments

  • 20,745 hours assisting pro bono clients (2014)
  • 244 Kaye Scholer attorneys contributed pro bono hours (2014)
  • 1,200+ hours devoted to death penalty appeals in Georgia and Alabama (2014)
  • 30+ nonprofit organizations to which we provided tax counsel (2014)
  • 13 low-income tenants for whom we obtained a successful settlement after a suspicious fire (2014)
  • 8 transgender individuals for whom we obtained formal name changes (2014)

Capabilities: How We Do It

While we encourage and support myriad pro bono opportunities so that our lawyers can pursue those projects most meaningful to them personally or professionally, we focus on six key areas:

  • Death Penalty Appeals
    We are particularly proud of our 40-year tradition of taking on difficult habeas and clemency petitions for indigent death row inmates; we have argued several of these cases before the US Supreme Court.
  • Immigration & Asylum
    We assist refugees from around the world who are fleeing persecution due to their political opinions, religious affiliation, sexual orientation or other specific grounds, and seeking asylum in the US. We also represent immigrant victims of domestic violence, unaccompanied alien minors and children applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
  • Social Entrepreneurship & Nonprofit Support
    In partnership with Echoing Green, an organization that provides seed funding and other necessary tools to social entrepreneurs around the world, we offer pro bono legal counsel to Echoing Green’s Fellows and US alumni who have established companies to benefit society. We also advise many nonprofits on contract, corporate, employment, intellectual property and real estate issues.
  • Social Security Disability Benefits
    Since 2000, we have represented more than 100 low-income disabled children and adults seeking disability benefits.
  • Transgender Name Changes
    We help transgender clients navigate the legal process of completing a formal name change, which is often the first step toward conforming their legal identities to the way they identify and live their lives. 
  • Virtual Pro Bono Law Firm
    Launched in early 2014, in partnership with longtime client Pfizer Inc, this program is for retired partners and special counsel who possess both the senior-level experience and the availability to tackle highly complex pro bono cases that will significantly transform society.