We believe in giving back, and we want attorneys who have a passion for making a positive impact in the lives of others — in 2019, our attorneys and professional staff contributed more than 239,500 pro bono hours in support of our communities, and over the past 10 years, they have contributed more than 1.9 million hours. Considered on their own, those efforts would make Skadden one of the nation's leading pro bono service providers — in addition, of course, to being a pre-eminent law firm.
We embrace the idea that pro bono service is a personal endeavor, so we ask: How would you like to give back, and what can we do to make it happen?
Our approach to pro bono service can be summarized as this: If we see a void, we draw our resources together to fill it. It may sound simple, but when you take a group of Skadden lawyers and arm them with that philosophy, you get great results.
Sometimes our individual efforts add up to something bigger collectively, such as the number of hours we dedicate to pro bono matters each year. Occasionally, what we create becomes more far-reaching than we could have imagined, like the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.
Through it all, we embrace the idea that pro bono service is a personal endeavor. So, what issues do you think are important? Where and how would you like to give back? What can we do to make it happen?
Our pro bono work is diverse and far-reaching. It includes efforts related to immigration and asylum; nonprofit incorporation, tax exemption and operations; civil litigation; administrative hearings; life planning; criminal matters; community development; and LGBTQ+ issues, veterans’ issues and cases involving domestic violence survivors. Recent highlights include:
- Skadden is proud to be a member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), a partnership of more than 250 law firms with legal services organizations to tackle systemic racism in the law. All 50 states are represented and member firms have offices in over 97 countries. The LFAA will leverage the resources of the private bar in partnership with legal services organizations to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color and to promote racial equity in the law.
- Most recently:
- More than 2,000 across the firm globally worked on more than 2,000 pro bono
- Our firm spent over 45,000 hours working on over 550 matters for nonprofit organizations.
- We worked on more than 600 individual immigration and asylum cases, provided resources and referrals on immigration policies through broadcasted Know Your Rights sessions in partnership with a legal services organization, hosted an immigration advance planning clinic in partnership with nine corporations for non-citizen parents to complete documentation for their children in the event of the parents’ detention/deportation, and continued to staff an immigration hotline in partnership with six law firms.
- The firm assisted The Innocence Project with reviewing inmates’ questionnaires and completed more than 850 evaluations.
- We worked with The Bronx Defenders as part of their responsible policing initiative, assisting victims of police misconduct with filing more than 130 Notices of Claim to preserve their right to bring a civil lawsuit.
- Our attorneys provided legal assistance relating to SSI/SSD benefits, housing, child support, and life planning to more than 100 veterans through the Military Mondays clinic, which is a monthly legal clinic at the Manhattan VA hospital in partnership with Skadden, Legal Services NYC and several in-house legal departments.
- A team of Skadden attorneys spent more than 300 hours assisting more than 70 individuals through the New York City Courts Access to Justice Volunteer Attorney Program, providing advice on support, paternity, custody, visitation and family offenses to pro se litigants in city’s Family Courts.
- Skadden, along with ACLU Foundation of Southern California and National ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, brought a class action challenging the constitutionality of certain government bond-setting policies and practices for immigrant detainees.
- Together with nonprofit counsel, Skadden attorneys settled a first-of-its-kind voting rights case in federal court. Public Interest Legal Foundation published two reports titled "Alien Invasion," which misrepresented election records to falsely assert that thousands of noncitizens committed felonies by voting or registering to vote.
- Skadden attorneys drafted a public comment on a proposed rule change that will roll back gender identity and sex stereotyping protections under the Affordable Care Act.
Every year, our summer associates contribute thousands of hours of pro bono service, and when they rejoin the firm as attorneys, there is no limit to the impact they can have, making communities stronger and pro bono clients' lives better. Nearly all of our summer associates work on pro bono matters.
What do you care about? Our summer associates and attorneys work on pro bono matters involving asylum, incorporation of nonprofits, access to health care for disabled children, the environment, reproductive rights, the death penalty, victims of domestic violence and countless other causes.
Skadden is consistently recognized for its commitment to pro bono service. Our recognitions in 2019 include:
Named one of six Empire State Counsel Law Firm Honorees, at The New York State Bar Association annual meeting.
One of the law firms honored by the chief judges of the District of Columbia federal courts for their outstanding commitment to pro bono service in the past year. The annual 40 at 50 Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast recognizes firms where at least 40 percent of attorneys dedicated 50 hours or more to pro bono work. Skadden was among five firms where at least 60 percent of attorneys worked at least 50 hours.
Honored along with our corporate partners for our contributions to Military Mondays by by Legal Services NYC at their Jazz for Justice Gala. Military Mondays has provided support to more than 285 low-income veterans on essential legal issues, from disability benefits and housing to family law and wills.
Awarded Inner City Law Center’s Katharine Krause Award, which is “presented to an individual or entity that has made notable contributions to ICLC’s client communities.” The award recognizes our lawyers’ contributions in multiple housing cases in recent years, including a current lawsuit involving a building in Los Angeles’ Westlake/MacArthur Park neighborhood in which Skadden represents over 50 tenants.
Awarded National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ (NACDL) inaugural Champion of Justice Pro Bono Award. Skadden was recognized for its efforts in support of Clemency Project 2014, the State Clemency Project of NACDL and Families Against Mandatory Minimums, and NACDL’s federal and state-level efforts to combat the de facto penalty for going to trial.
- Chicago office honored by legal aid partner Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE) for its long-time support of the organization and for devoting hundreds of hours to cases involving the Gender Violence Act. Additionally, the Chicago office attorneys were honored for having advocated for survivors’ rights within the context of criminal justice proceedings pertaining to quashing warrants, expunging records and more.
- Named Pro Bono Partner of the Year by The Bronx Defenders at its annual gala. The organization recognized Skadden's support of its representation and advocacy on behalf of New York City residents, including in connection with its responsible policing initiative, in which clients file notices of claim regarding their interactions with the police.
- Named one of the 10 Best Law Firms for Pro Bono in the U.K. by Legal Week. The ranking was based on six metrics, including the total number of pro bono hours worked in the U.K. in the last financial year. The publication noted, “The 124 Skadden U.K. lawyers who worked on pro bono matters in the last financial year clocked up an average of 95 hours each — the highest of the firms to have taken part in the survey. Across all Skadden’s fee earners the average number of hours was 83, which was also the highest of any firm.”
- Several Skadden attorneys honored by Sanctuary for Families at their Above & Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards and Benefit, for their dedicated and powerful advocacy for their client throughout a contentious and complex international abduction case.