The Boston Bar Association (BBA) has announced that it has honored Ropes & Gray with the 2012 Thurgood Marshall Award. The award is designed to highlight extraordinary pro bono work by members of the private bar, and was presented at the BBA’s Annual Meeting Luncheon at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, an event that drew some 1,200 lawyers.
In just the past year, Ropes & Gray lawyers and professional staff devoted 98,000 hours to providing free legal services to individuals, non-profit organizations, and small businesses across the nation. More than half of that pro bono time was donated here in Massachusetts.
To cite just a few examples of the firm’s work here in MA over the last 3 years…
- In 2008, Ropes & Gray launched its first Medical Legal Partnership by adopting the Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston (“MLP | Boston”) legal clinic at the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center (“Dot House”), a community health center in the Fields Corner neighborhood of Dorchester. In 2011, Ropes & Gray joined several other Boston-area law firms and MLP | Boston to launch a new pro bono legal clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In all, more than 150 Ropes & Gray partners, associates, summer associates, and paralegals have leveraged MLP | Boston’s expert mentorship to serve more than 160 Dot House and Dana-Farber patient-families on more than 225 distinct legal matters in Ropes’ five MLP practice areas: housing/utilities, immigration, education, public benefits, and family law. Since taking our first Dot House client in January 2009, Ropes & Gray has provided upwards of 25,000 hours of pro bono service through our MLP projects.
- From 2009-present, Ropes & Gray has been donating public interest fellows to the legal services community. Concentrating on Massachusetts, the firm has financially supported over 40 one-year fellowships for Ropes & Gray lawyers at Greater Boston Legal Services and other legal services agencies in the state including Volunteer Lawyers Project, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR), Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Massachusetts Appleseed, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Health Law Advocates.
- With supervision from retired firm partner Bill Patton, Ropes attorneys have made a large contribution to guardianship work at the Volunteer Lawyers Project, training over 50 lawyers to take on more than 30 guardianship matters in 2011.
- Ropes lawyers regularly staff clinics and take cases in Chinatown through the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights’ Economic Justice Project, helping local small business owners with their legal issues.
- Ropes regularly staffs clinics and take cases for homeless clients through a clinic organized by Lawyers Clearinghouse.
- The firm started a project with Steppingstone Foundation to help their scholars achieve their dreams of attending college by offering students and their families pro bono immigration legal services, including Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions, family-based immigration petitions, U-visas, and political asylum. While Ropes might not be to able to arrange for relief in all cases, the firm is arming families with information about rights they may be unaware of and where viable, asserting claims for relief. Greater Boston Legal Services is serving as Ropes’ mentor.
- Roz Nasdor, Pro Bono Manager at Ropes, co-chairs the BBA’s Delivery of Legal Services section, and helped organize a pilot project for this year’s summer associates from Boston firms to volunteer for the hotline at the Legal Advocacy & Resources Center. 20 law students participated this year.