The Boston Bar Association (BBA) today announced that the Boston law firm Foley Hoag will receive the 2019 Thurgood Marshall Award during the BBA’s annual Law Day celebration on June 26 at Boston Symphony Hall, recognizing Foley Hoag’s pro bono work throughout the city of Boston and across a number of important areas.
“So much of what Foley Hoag does aligns with our own mission and goals,” said BBA President Jon Albano. “Their commitment to providing those in need with access to justice and to making Boston a better community is truly inspiring.”
Rebecca Cazabon, Foley Hoag Pro Bono Managing Attorney, said, “We are thrilled to have been selected by the BBA to receive its Thurgood Marshall Award. We believe that it is every attorney’s professional and ethical responsibility to make sure that our system of justice is open to all persons, regardless of income, race, gender, or sexual orientation. Whether it be helping survivors of gender-based violence, representing immigrant children, or protecting the rights of minority tenants, the firm has long been dedicated to helping people who cannot afford to pay for attorneys, and to assisting the small disadvantaged and community-based nonprofits that are critical to the economic and social well-being of our communities.”
“Since its founding 76 years ago, Foley Hoag has strongly supported pro bono legal work by its attorneys,” said Foley Hoag Co-Managing Partner Jeffrey Collins. “We have been at the forefront of efforts to provide high quality, pro bono legal representation to economically disadvantaged individuals and groups. Through efforts stemming from our pro bono program and The Foley Hoag Foundation, the firm remains deeply committed to addressing social injustices in Massachusetts, and we are honored to be recognized for our pro bono work by receiving the Thurgood Marshall Award from the Boston Bar Association.”
According to Cazabon, Foley Hoag lawyers provide pro bono services to clients in a wide variety of areas such as domestic violence, LGBTQ rights, housing, environmental protection, disability rights, health care, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, immigration/political asylum, taxation, and education/charter schools. Foley Hoag has also provided pro bono advice and representation to numerous nonprofit organizations, inner-city businesses, artists, and domestic and international inventors.
Recently, the firm joined forces with lawyers from GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the law firm WilmerHale, in filing a lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of five active-duty service members to prevent implementation of a new ban on transgender people serving in the military.
The firm’s priorities include nurturing a robust pro bono program that offers something for every lawyer, encouraging every lawyer to do pro bono, and providing services of the highest quality to their clients. Cazabon notes that, “Our dedication to pro bono work extends through our offices in Boston, New York, Paris and Washington D.C. Altogether, we spent over 22,000 hours on pro bono work in 2018. We are extremely proud of our lawyers, paralegals, and support staff who provide assistance to those living in poverty and to those whose civil rights have been violated.” In addition, pro bono work allows Foley’s attorneys to build critical legal and professional skills, such as developing an expertise in a specific legal area, developing empathy, making genuine connections with clients and the community, and gaining confidence.
The Thurgood Marshall Award was created to acknowledge and recognize private bar attorneys in greater Boston for their extraordinary efforts to enhance the human dignity of others through improving, developing, or delivering civil or criminal legal services to low-income clients in Massachusetts.