Our attorneys, paralegals, summer associates and support staff continue a long-standing tradition of community service and pro bono work.
Across the decades, there have been many examples of our attorneys donating counsel. George Leonard, one of the founders of legacy firm Leonard, Street and Deinard, represented Minneapolis newsboys in the late 1920s in their efforts to obtain better wages. In the following decades, Ben and Amos Deinard, also founders of legacy firm Leonard, Street and Deinard, were instrumental in establishing and supporting community organizations, such as the Minnesota Society for the Prevention of Blindness and the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service. In the early 1950s, Sidney Lorber represented the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a highly publicized campaign that resulted in enforcement of an executive order requiring the desegregation of the armed forces.
In the 1960s Allen Saeks founded "Children and the Law," a Minnesota-wide program that brought attorneys, judges and law enforcement officers into classrooms to provide children with a better understanding of the law and the judicial system. Mr. Saeks was also instrumental in founding the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group and played a central role in establishing the Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts program, a model now used nationwide to make money available for legal services programs. In the late 1980s and into the 1990s, a team of our attorneys represented Alvin Scott Lloyd, a death row inmate, in a successful effort to vacate his death penalty sentence.
A number of our attorneys have been instrumental in significant environmental pro bono work. Before joining the firm, some of our attorneys helped establish and protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and worked to secure $1.2 million of funding from the Minnesota Legislature for the construction of the International Wolf Center in Ely.
In recent years, many of our attorneys have stepped forward to carry on the work of our founders. Currently, eight attorneys in our Minneapolis office supervise over 90 other attorneys and paralegals on cases referred from the firm’s Deinard Legal Clinic. These cases involve family law, public benefits, immigration and housing issues. Last year, 78 of our attorneys were recognized as “North Star” Lawyers by the Minnesota State Bar Association for having contributed 50 hours or more in pro bono legal time.
The firm is a signatory to the KCMBA Project Pro Bono, a partnership between the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. This project seeks to increase pro bono legal work in the Kansas City area and to recognize excellent pro bono work performed by the KCMBA's members. Under the pledge, law firms commit to have half of their attorneys and one quarter of their partners do at least 20 hours of pro bono work per year.
Attorneys in the Kansas City office were instrumental in forming the Marlborough Coalition, a 501(c)(3) organization with the goal of making five neighborhoods in Kansas City, Missouri, a better place to live and work by stabilizing the area and facilitating compatible new development and redevelopment projects, including the reuse of vacant lots; rehabilitating its housing stock; increasing mobility; supporting and building its culture, arts and social systems for the enjoyment and aid to its residents; restoring access to healthy food; promoting the adaptive reuse of historic building, such as the Marlborough School, and building an engaged community.
The Washington D.C. office is very involved with the D.C. Bar's Pro Bono Advocacy and Justice Clinic, a partnership with legal service providers and many of the District's largest law firms and government agencies. Attorneys in Kansas City and St. Louis work to assist children who have become victims of abuse or neglect through the local Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children programs.
These examples indicate the depth and breadth of our commitment and tradition. Pro bono service is part of our firm's identity. It fulfills our obligation and desire to participate in the community—and to assist those in need.