Pro Bono

Commitment and Continuity

Because the law is still a profession as well as a business, lawyers have special obligations to the administration of justice and the development of the law. We encourage our lawyers to meet these obligations through pro bono work, government service, service to the bar and teaching. We also urge our lawyers to write and speak on legal issues and to participate in the affairs of their larger communities. We are, as we have always been, a national leader in our pro bono services and charitable activities.

We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to help strengthen our communities. We have a long history of supporting public institutions and charitable organizations in the communities in which we practice. We encourage leadership and support on the part of our attorneys through matching gift programs and service on boards and committees.

For decades, we have been known for our record of pro bono representation and community service—a record based on the belief that there is more to our professional mandate than advocacy for the most powerful and successful members of society. Our commitment to providing a voice for the least powerful is demonstrated by pro bono contributions that range from cases of national importance before the US Supreme Court to litigation on behalf of individuals who lack the means to secure necessities as fundamental as housing, adequate medical care and a safe home environment. Through these efforts and through community service initiatives that have grown into thriving partnerships, we work to enhance the quality of life for many in our local neighborhoods and around the globe.

Pro Bono

A steadfast commitment to pro bono representation has been a hallmark of our firm since the early 20th century, when our partner Reginald Heber Smith—considered the father of legal aid in the United States—authored the seminal book Justice and the Poor and galvanized the organized bar nationally to secure equal justice for those unable to afford counsel. More than seven decades later, in 1992, our partner John Pickering led the effort to establish the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge and ensured that we were its charter signatory. Today, as measured by The American Lawyer, our pro bono program ranks as one of the top in the country.

Our lawyers have been involved in many of the influential legal cases and social developments that have shaped the nation. In 1954, Joseph Welch, assisted by James St. Clair and Jack Kimball, represented the US Army on a pro bono basis in the nationally televised Army-McCarthy hearings. In 1963, Lloyd Cutler and others served as a leading force in creating the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, at the behest of President John F. Kennedy.

Our pro bono efforts have also influenced historic developments around the globe. Through the Southern Africa Legal Support and Education Project, we joined with others to fight apartheid and establish the rule of law in South Africa. Our lawyers also helped write the constitutions of several central European countries after the fall of the Soviet Union.

On the domestic front, for more than a decade our lawyers have provided pro bono legal services to indigent persons through the WilmerHale Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, a major clinical teaching facility that has assisted more than 20,000 low-income persons.

Commitment and Continuity

Because the law is still a profession as well as a business, lawyers have special obligations to the administration of justice and the development of the law. We encourage our lawyers to meet these obligations through pro bono work, government service, service to the bar and teaching. We also urge our lawyers to write and speak on legal issues and to participate in the affairs of their larger communities. We are, as we have always been, a national leader in our pro bono services and charitable activities.

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Pro Bono Efforts

In pro bono efforts spanning a diverse range of issues and interests, we:

  • The Winter 2016 edition of Alliance Voice, the Alliance for Children's Rights newsletter, features a pro bono matter led by former Counsel Jessica Kurzban with assistance from Partner Roger Ritt and Associate Greg Boden. Learn more about the matter and read the newsletter.  
  • Obtained a significant judgment from the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights—the highest court in the African Union—in the first freedom of expression case in the Court's history. The case, Konaté v. Burkina Faso, involved Lohé Issa Konaté, a journalist from Burkina Faso, who was imprisoned for a year, and whose newspaper was closed, for allegedly insulting and defaming a local prosecutor in Burkina Faso. 
  • As co-counsel with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the firm's significant victory in the First Circuit on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts marks the first ruling by a federal appeals court that DOMA is unconstitutional. Recognizing that “only the Supreme Court can finally decide this unique case,” the First Circuit maintained a stay of the district court's injunctive judgment in anticipation of “highly likely” review by the US Supreme Court.
  • Secured a major victory for the Coalition for the Homeless when a New York State court vacated the City's most significant effort to change homeless policy in at least a decade. WilmerHale and co-counsel the Legal Aid Society blocked the new policy requiring those seeking shelter to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that they have no other viable housing alternative. If upheld on appeal, this decision could become an important precedent in New York City administrative law. Our lawyers received the 2012 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to the Legal Aid Society and its clients for our work in this matter.
  • Along with partners at human rights organization Freedom Now won an important decision from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in favor of our pro bono client Pierre Roger Lambo Sandjo (a.k.a. Lapiro de Mbanga). Lapiro, a renowned singer-songwriter and political dissident, suffered for nearly three years in prison in Cameroon after releasing the chart-topping song “Constipated Constitution,” in which he was critical of President Paul Biya and his decades-long dictatorial hold on the presidency. Lapiro was arrested on fabricated charges relating to protests that swept Cameroon in 2008. While Lapiro was suffering from typhoid, severe back pain and chronic respiratory infections in New Bell Prison, described by many human rights organizations as “hell on earth,” WilmerHale and Freedom Now were coordinating a multi-pronged strategy to win Lapiro's release, working with members of Congress, the Secretary General of the UN, and the US Embassy in Cameroon. WilmerHale and Freedom Now also filed a successful petition on Lapiro's behalf with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which determined, among other things, that Lapiro's detention was “arbitrary,” and that he was imprisoned in violation of numerous provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Following our efforts, Lapiro was released from jail. After his release, WilmerHale and Freedom Now engaged with the US State Department and the US Embassy in Cameroon for more than a year to secure an “Embassy Referral,” which allowed Lapiro, his wife and four children to obtain refugee status and resettle in the United States.
  • Achieved a significant victory on behalf of a veteran suffering from PTSD and bilateral hearing loss, which together result in total occupational and social impairment. The Veterans Administration originally provided our client with only 50% of veterans' disability benefits based on PTSD and no benefits based on his hearing loss. In May 2012, the Board of Veterans' Appeals, crediting our client's testimony and the diagnosis of an independent physician, rejected that determination and remanded his case for re-adjudication.
  • Represent First Step Economic Opportunity Zone in negotiations with the government of Sierra Leone for the construction of a $150 million steel plant—the nation's first, and the only one in that part of Africa—that will bring manufacturing capability, jobs and export business in the aftermath of the country's civil war. In 2009, the firm helped negotiate an agreement between Washington DC–based nonprofit World Hope International, its subsidiary First Step and the Sierra Leone government to create a special economic zone in that country. 
  • At the end of 2012, we renewed our commitment to each of our eight philanthropic partners for 2013. Our philanthropic partnerships involve a multi-year cycle of funding, pro bono service, volunteer engagement and in-kind donations provided to Bread for the City (Washington DC); Cathedral High School (Boston); Citizen Schools (Boston and Palo Alto); Discovering Justice (Boston); Homefull (Dayton); Hyde Square Task Force (Boston); Sanctuary for Families (New York); and Maya Angelou Public Charter Schools (DC).
  • Helped to achieve an important victory to remove barriers in public schools on behalf of Richmond, Virginia's citizens with disabilities. In an important ruling, the Court is requiring that Richmond City Public Schools comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act in order for the city's citizens with disabilities to have full access to services, programs and activities held at school facilities.
  • Successfully aided in representing a class of children throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In a landmark ruling known as Rosie D., the Court found Massachusetts violated federal law in failing to provide children's mental health services to an estimated 15,000 children in and around the Commonwealth.
  • Represented six Bosnian-Algerians, including Lakhdar Boumediene, who have been detained at Guantanamo since 2002. On June 12, 2008, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that detainees held in Guantanamo Bay have a constitutional right to challenge their detention in US civilian courts; and on November 20, 2008, a federal court upheld the claim of five Bosnian-Algerian men that the US government had no lawful basis for imprisoning them at Guantanamo Bay, where they have been held for nearly seven years.
  • Successfully contended that the Eighth Amendment forbids the death penalty for persons under the age of 18 in one of the most important death-penalty decisions in recent years, Simmons v. Roper.
  • Helped persuade the US Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation.
  • Succeeded in defending—in a series of federal lawsuits—the Massachusetts and Texas Interest On Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) programs that fund legal services for the poor.
  • Served as counsel to the tenants' association at a HUD-subsidized property in a rapidly gentrifying Washington DC neighborhood and, through a series of complex agreements, enabled the tenants to obtain an ownership interest that allowed them to continue living in the neighborhood.
  • Achieved what The Washington Post described as a “stunning reversal” of a miscarriage of justice in a nationally-reported case—undertaken with co-counsel from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and other firms—in Tulia, Texas, in which multiple defendants, nearly all African-American, were wrongfully convicted and sentenced on drug charges based on the completely uncorroborated testimony of a white undercover agent who was later indicted for perjury. (One of The New York Times "100 Notable Books of 2005," Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town by Nate Blakeslee tells the sad yet ultimately triumphant story.)
  • Provided research that helped the Human Rights Law Network establish a right to shelter for the millions of homeless in India and a right to treatment and healthcare for the estimated 5.5 million Indian citizens suffering from AIDS.
  • Assisted World Hope International in creating First Step, a subsidiary which was able to establish a special economic zone (SEZ) in Sierra Leone. The SEZ will increase the quality of goods produced in Sierra Leone as well as enhance the quality of life for those who live there.
  • Advised GALVmed, a non-profit global alliance of public, private and government partners, on developing a strategy that would ensure proper distribution of a cattle vaccine to farmers throughout Africa. This vaccine protects against East Coast Fever, a disease which kills one million cattle each year.
  • Overturned the wrongful conviction of Dewey Bozella, who spent 26 years in a New York prison for a murder he did not commit. Bozella is now free and living a life enriched by the graduate degree he pursued during his incarceration. In March 2012, ESPN aired its first broadcast of “26 Years: the Dewey Bozella Story,” a documentary on WilmerHale's pro bono client Dewey Bozella, his long quest for justice after being incarcerated for a crime he did not commit, and his dream of fighting one professional boxing match as a free man. The firm continues to support Mr. Bozella with the Dewey Bozella Foundation and other legal needs.
  • Secured a “Deferred Action” visa for Yirdaw Anteneh, an Ethiopian man who faced deportation after his work visa expired while he was receiving urgent care for his failing liver.
  • Represented the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in arbitration at The Hague's Peace Palace. Boundary disputes giving rise to ongoing conflict were resolved, leaving peaceful political paths in their place.
  • Obtained a settlement for Community Outreach for Vietnam Era Returnees (COVER) from the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), after the VA failed to reimburse and support COVER for the counseling services provided to Vietnam-era Veterans, imposing severe hardship on COVER and its staff.
  • On behalf of the Coalition for the Homeless and a group of homeless men and women, we—together with Legal Aid co-counsel—succeeded in enforcing a consent decree that obligates the city of New York to provide sufficient shelter, of an adequate standard, to those in need.

Publications & News

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September 7, 2016

WilmerHale Honored with BADC Quality of Life Award

The Bar Association of the District of Columbia has selected WilmerHale to receive its 19th Annual Constance L. Belfiore Quality of Life Award, which honors law firms and legal departments that recognize the importance of quality of life as well as professional excellence.

August 9, 2016

The American Lawyer Ranks WilmerHale Among Top Ten in the Country

For the 13th time, WilmerHale has been recognized among the nation's top law firms in the 2016 edition of The American Lawyer's A-List.

August 2, 2016

The American Lawyer Ranks WilmerHale Among Top 20 Pro Bono Firms

The American Lawyer has recognized WilmerHale among the top 20 out of 200 total law firms for pro bono work on both a national and international basis.

July 14, 2016

Brooklyn Defender Services Recognizes WilmerHale’s Pro Bono Contributions

The firm has provided pro bono support to the Family Defense Practice in parents' rights cases since 2011, and several current and former WilmerHale lawyers have served on the organization's advisory board.

June 28, 2016

My First Trial: Lessons I Learned in a Pelican Bay Prison Case

An article by Matthew Benedetto, published by California Lawyer, recounts life and legal lessons he learned during his first trial.

June 9, 2016

Demand Letter Challenging the Seizure and Destruction of Homeless Individuals’ Personal Property Delivered to San Francisco Mayor

In response to recent sweeps, in which the city and its agents have taken, discarded and/or destroyed property belonging to homeless individuals without proper notice or the opportunity for them to reclaim their belongings, a coalition of three legal groups delivered a demand letter to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee charging that these practices are unlawful.

June 9, 2016

LCCR Honors Jared Cohen and Jeff Olshan for Pro Bono Commitment

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (LCCR), a Massachusetts-based organization that provides pro bono legal representation to victims of discrimination based on race or national origin, has recognized WilmerHale Associates Jared Cohen and Jeff Olshan for their commitment to public service.

May 24, 2016

Kimberly Parker Honored by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for Distinguished Service

For more than 15 years, Partner Kimberly Parker has led teams of WilmerHale lawyers representing the ACOG on a pro bono basis.

May 12, 2016

Equal Justice Coalition: A Profile on Louis Tompros

WilmerHale Partner Louis Tompros is interviewed and profiled for his dedication to pro bono work by the Equal Justice Coalition.

April 27, 2016

WilmerHale Announces 2016 Pickering Fellow

Senior Associate Fred Kemper has been selected as WilmerHale's 2016 Pickering Fellow. Kemper, based in Boston, is a member of the Securities Litigation and Enforcement and Business Trial Groups.

Recognition

Our pro bono work and philanthropy have garnered numerous awards and honors, including the following:

  • 2015 - WilmerHale Partner and Co-Chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee John Regan was honored with the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, an award that recognizes law professionals who have a track record of distinguished service and commitment to providing pro bono legal services to those in need.
  • 2015 - WilmerHale was honored with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program's Enduring Impact Award, meant to recognize organizations who have a deep impact on the lives of low-income DC residents and provide continued support to the nonprofit's work.
  • 2015 - Sanctuary for Families, a service provider for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other related forms of gender violence, honored a group of WilmerHale lawyers with an Above & Beyond Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy for the third consecutive year.
  • 2015 - WilmerHale was one of the top contributors in the Legal Aid Society's Generous Associates Campaign, a fundraiser led by associates based in Washington DC and meant to help bring justice to low-income individuals.
  • 2015 - WilmerHale has again been recognized among the Vault Law 100, an annual ranking that honors the best firms based on a compilation of different factors, including pro bono work.
  • 2015 - WilmerHale received the Pro Bono Law Firm Award from the Political Asylum and Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) for excellence in and dedication to asylum pro bono service. Our attorneys have represented PAIR clients since 1989, winning asylum for indigent asylum-seekers who fled from Algeria, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ghana, Lebanon, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tibet and Uganda.
  • 2015 - WilmerHale was honored for its leadership and dedication to public service at the City Bar Justice Center's 10th annual gala. Through programs such as the Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Veteran's Assistance Program and 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund, WilmerHale has provided pro bono legal services to dozens of homeless families, veterans, unaccompanied minors and victims of the 9/11 attack.
  • 2015 - Legal Services NYC recognized WilmerHale with a Pro Bono Leadership Award for its support of the delivery of legal services to low income New Yorkers.
  • 2015 - Legal Aid of Western Ohio presented WilmerHale with the Signature Sponsor Award for Access to Justice for the firm's continued support. 
  • 2015 - The District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services has recognized WilmerHale for providing outstanding pro bono legal service to individuals and organizations within the Washington DC metropolitan area.
  • 2014 - The New York State Bar honored WilmerHale with its 2014 Empire State Counsel recognition for generous pro bono contributions.
  • 2014 - For the second consecutive year, Sanctuary for Families honored a team of WilmerHale attorneys during the 12th Annual Above And Beyond Event, meant to celebrate attorneys who have successfully impacted domestic violence and sex trafficking victims through pro bono representation. 
  • 2014 - WilmerHale was ranked on Financial Times' North America Innovative Lawyers Social Responsibility list for firmwide Community Partnership Model. 
  • 2014 - For the third consecutive year, Law360 selected WilmerHale to its "Pro Bono Firms of the Year" list for notable successes ranging from issues affecting the nation to life-altering representations of individual clients. 
  • 2014 - WilmerHale was again named as one of the “Top Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts” by Boston Business Journal at the publication's annual Corporate Citizenship Summit. The firm was the highest overall contributor among area law firms. 
  • 2014 - WilmerHale was the highest contributor in the DC area, surpassing the donations of all participating law firms in the Legal Aid Society's Generous Associates Campaign.
  • 2014 - The Washington Business Journal honored WilmerHale as part of its 2014 Corporate Philanthropy Awards, recognizing the firm as one of the area's Top 10 Law Firms based on annual pro bono hours of service in the DC metro region. 
  • 2014 - The American Lawyer's Am Law 200 rankings recognized Wilmerhale among the nation's top law firms for commitment to pro bono work.
  • 2014 - WilmerHale Partner Alan Schoenfeld was selected as the recipient of the Federal Bar Council's inaugural Thurgood Marshall Award for Exceptional Pro Bono Service.
  • 2014 - The District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services has recognized WilmerHale for providing outstanding pro bono legal service to individuals and organizations within the Washington DC metropolitan area.
  • 2014 - WilmerHale was honored for outstanding pro bono dedication and efforts at the Healing & Hope reception, an annual awards ceremony and fundraiser for the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth.
  • 2013 - Who's Who Legal selected WilmerHale to its 2013 "Pro Bono Leading Firm" list, honoring the firm for committing significant time and resources to strengthen local communities. 
  • 2013 - WilmerHale was again named as one of the “Top Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts” by Boston Business Journal at the publication's annual Corporate Citizenship Summit. The firm was the highest overall contributor among area law firms.
  • 2003-2015 - The firm is recognized in the annual The American Lawyer "A-List", a compilation that lists the leading US firms and honors overall excellence, including financial success, commitment to pro bono work, workforce diversity and the training and development of younger lawyers.
  • 2013 - WilmerHale Partner Kevin Prussia was honored as the recipient of the Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, an award given to those who dedicate an impressive amount of time and energy to pro bono work.
  • 2013 - WilmerHale was ranked second out of 25 law firms with the most pro bono hours of service in the DC metro region by the Washington Business Journal. This is the second consecutive year the firm has received this recognition.
  • 2013 - The firm was recognized during a Women's Bar Foundation event in Boston for its longstanding dedication to representing survivors of domestic violence and assisting seniors in need of end-of-life documents.
  • 2013 - WilmerHale Partner Keith Slenkovich was honored with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area's Robert G. Sproul Jr. Award for his outstanding legal representation for under-represented communities.
  • 2013 - WilmerHale Partner Jack Regan was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from Shelter Legal Services (SLS) for his contributions to achieving SLS's mission of promoting self-sufficiency, financial security and the stability of military veterans and the homeless.
  • 2012 - WilmerHale received the 2012 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to the Legal Aid Society and its clients for its representation of the Coalition for the Homeless and its partnership with the New York Legal Aid Society.  
  • 2012 - The Boston Business Journal recognized WilmerHale as part of its "Largest Corporate Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts” 2012 list at the publication's annual Corporate Citizenship Summit.
  • 2012 - WilmerHale Counsel Peter Osborn was honored with the Civil Rights Pro Bono Recognition Award from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice for his work with the Belin Economic Justice Project.
  • 2012 - The Washington Business Journal honored WilmerHale as part of its 2012 Corporate Philanthropy Awards, recognizing the firm as one of the area's Top 10 Law Firms based on annual pro bono hours of service in the DC metro region.
  • 2012 - WilmerHale Counsel Omar Khan was selected by the Federal Circuit Bar Association as the recipient of its 2012 Pro Bono Leadership Award for his continued support and dedication to the mission of the Federal Circuit and pro bono services.
  • 2011 - WilmerHale was among 14 law firms to receive the National Legal Aid & Defender Association's (NLADA) 2011 Beacon of Justice Award. This year, the Beacon of Justice Award—which changes its focus each year—recognized firms that have innovative public-private partnerships that protect equal justice for all through appellate litigation.  
  • 2011 - WilmerHale received The Child Welfare League of America's (CWLA) annual National Corporate Advocate of the Year Award. The firm was recognized for providing unsurpassed pro bono service to fight laws that prevent gay, lesbian and unmarried families from providing care and homes to children in need.
  • 2011 - The DC Circuit Judicial Conference awarded WilmerHale for exemplary pro bono service at the eighth annual "40 at 50" Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast. The firm was one of 30 law firms in 2010 with a Washington, DC office of at least 25 attorneys to achieve a rate of 40 percent of their DC-based lawyers performing 50 or more hours of free legal services for those unable to pay for an attorney.
  • 2011 - The Boston Business Journal named WilmerHale to its list of the “Largest Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts.” The firm ranked third among all eligible Massachusetts companies for in-kind giving, and was the second largest overall contributor among area law firms.
  • 2011 - Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) presented WilmerHale with its Associates Drive Award for the firm's support of the organization's legal representation of domestic violence survivors.
  • 2010 - American Constitution Society, Boston Chapter, recognized WilmerHale with an award for being a leader in pro bono representation on important constitutional rights issues. The firm received this recognition for its representation of the petitioners in Boumediene v. Bush to successfully secure justice for inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
  • 2010 - The American Bar Association's Litigation Section awarded WilmerHale with their John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism award. The award is presented to individuals and firms who have made "outstanding contributions to the quality of justice in their communities, ensuring that the legal system is open and available to all." Since 2001, only four other firms have received the award.
  • 2010 - WilmerHale was honored with the 2010 Robert B. Fraser Award for Pro Bono Excellence by the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, Inc. (VLA). The Fraser Award is given annually by the VLA—which is a program of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston—to an individual lawyer and law firm that show a sincere dedication to serving the legal needs of the cultural and artistic communities of Massachusetts.
  • 2010 - WilmerHale's International Arbitration practice was awarded the honor of Pro Bono Team of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2010 in London for the firm's work on behalf of The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
  • 2010 - WilmerHale received an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of the firm's pro bono efforts from the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
  • 2010 - WilmerHale was presented with the "Maya Way Award for Community Service," and recognized as a social justice champion and community partner by the See Forever Foundation, during a fundraiser to support the Maya Angelou schools in Washington DC.
  • 2010 - WilmerHale was honored by City Year for 20 years of service representing City Year as its pro-bono national counsel.
  • 2005-2009 - WilmerHale has consistently ranked in The American Lawyer Pro Bono Scorecard's list of the top firms for pro bono, most recently ranking 9 out of 100 law firms on the 2009 Pro Bono Scorecard.
  • 2009 - The Boston Business Journal named WilmerHale to its 2009 list of the "Largest Charitable Contributors in Massachusetts." The firm is the highest ranking law firm on the list, based on 2008 Massachusetts giving.
  • 2009 - Bread for the City named WilmerHale its 2009 Corporate Partner of the Year, at their Fourth Annual Good Hope Awards celebration in Washington DC. WilmerHale earned this title for the firm's significant financial and volunteer two-year commitment to Bread for the City in 2008.
  • 2009 - The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP) awarded WilmerHale with its 2009 Pro Bono Counsel Award at the McKinney-Vento Awards Dinner in Washington DC.
  • 2008 - Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named Robert C. Kirsch among the "Lawyers of the Year" in 2008 for his work on Boumediene v. Bush, which resulted in five out of six firm clients being ordered released by the Supreme Court after being held without trial at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center for more than seven years.
  • 2008 - Cathedral High School recognized WilmerHale for its longstanding and passionate commitment to the students and faculty of Cathedral High School, which includes not only financial support, but investment in the students through volunteer work, mentoring and career engagement.
  • 2007 - The American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project honored WilmerHale for its pro bono work representing death row prisoners.
  • 2007 - The Boston Business Journal honored WilmerHale with Education Partner of the Year Award.
  • 2007 - The Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC) of Greater Boston recognized WilmerHale with its 2007 CVC Award.
  • 2007 - The firm was presented with the Beacon of Justice award by the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) in recognition of the firm's work on behalf of Guantanamo detainees.
  • 2007 - Boston Bar Association honors 12 WilmerHale lawyers for their representation of men imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
  • 2007 - WilmerHale honored by the DC Circuit Judicial Conference for meeting the Conference's pro bono goal of at least 40% of all associates, counsel and partners meeting 50 pro bono hours per year. WilmerHale has met this goal every year since 2003.
  • 2007 - WilmerHale was the recipient of a pro award from the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys for work done on an amicus brief filed in the Supreme Court in Marrama v. Citizen's Bank of Massachusetts.  
  • 2007 - Lawyers Weekly recognizes WilmerHale Partner Wendell C. Taylor as one of five "Diversity Heroes" in Massachusetts.
  • 2006 - Three WilmerHale lawyers honored by the The Legal Aid Society of New York as recipients of the group's 2006 Pro Bono Award.
  • 2006 - The Boston Bar Association named WilmerHale as the recipient of the highly prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award for extraordinary work in representing low-income clients on a pro bono or reduced fee basis.
  • 2006 - The Boston Business Journal placed the firm in the top 15 largest corporate philanthropists in the Commonwealth.
  • 2006 - A team of seventh graders mentored by WilmerHale lawyers wins the Ninth Annual Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition.
  • 2006 - WilmerHale was the recipient of the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2006 Law Firm Pro Bono Award.
  • 2006 - WilmerHale ranks near the top of Vault's List of Most Prestigious Law Firms for Pro Bono work.
  • 2006 - The firm was awarded one of only four 2006 Pro Bono Awards from TheNational Law Journal.  
  • 2005 - WilmerHale Partner Seth Waxman was named "Lawyer of the Year" by Lawyers Weekly USA for victory in pivotal death penalty case.
  • 2005 - WilmerHale was presented with The Pro Bono Institute's inaugural John H. Pickering Award for extraordinary pro bono culture and exceptional commitment to pro bono legal assistance.
  • 2005 - WilmerHale was ranked in the top 10 in The American Lawyer's AmLaw 200 Pro Bono survey.
  • 2005 - The firm was included in the Top 15 "Quality of Life" ranking for pro bono work in the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms (2006 edition).
  • 2004 - Ranked number one and designated "Cream of the Crop" Pro Bono Program among AmLaw 200 firms.
  • 2003 - Received the DC Bar Law Firm Pro Bono Award.
  • 2003 - Received special recognition from the American Bar Association (ABA) for successfully defending the country's IOLTA programs against Fifth Amendment constitutional challenges.
  • 2002 - Received the ABA Distinguished Service Award from the Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel for our participation in the September 11th Pro Bono Legal Relief Project.
  • 2002 - Received the Leaders in Philanthropy Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  • 2002 - Received TheNational Law Journal Pro Bono Award.
  • 1998 - Received the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award.
  • 1989 - Received the ABA Section of Litigation's Annual Pro Bono Award.