Legal Services Center PRO BONO

In 1993, the firm and its Harvard Law School alumni partners provided the funds to purchase and renovate a permanent site in Jamaica Plain for the law school’s Legal Services Center, which was first renamed the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center, and is now called the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. In the years since, this unique relationship has grown far beyond the initial “bricks and mortar” donation. The firm has provided valuable resources to the Center, including training programs and the expertise of a part-time senior partner in residence at the Center, who mentors law students as a clinical instructor.

For more information about the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, click here.

Click here for a PDF version of The Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center: 1993-2003 (describes the first ten years of this unique collaboration between a legal services center, a law school, and a prominent law firm).

In 1993, the firm and its Harvard Law School alumni partners provided the funds to purchase and renovate a permanent site in Jamaica Plain for the law school’s Legal Services Center, which was first renamed the Hale and Dorr Legal Services Center, and is now called the WilmerHale Legal Services Center. In the years since, this unique relationship has grown far beyond the initial “bricks and mortar” donation. The firm has provided valuable resources to the Center, including training programs and the expertise of a part-time senior partner in residence at the Center, who mentors law students as a clinical instructor.

For more information about the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, click here.

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Contacts

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Parker, Kimberly A.

Kimberly A. Parker

Co-Chair, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee

+1 202 663 6987 (t)

kimberly.parker@wilmerhale.com

Regan, John J.

John J. Regan

Co-Chair, Pro Bono and Community Service Committee

+1 617 526 6120 (t)

john.regan@wilmerhale.com

Herrling, Christopher J.

Christopher J. Herrling

Pro Bono Counsel

+1 202 663 6780 (t)

christopher.herrling@wilmerhale.com

Bowie, Anne

Anne Bowie

Public Service Manager

+1 617 526 5526 (t)

anne.bowie@wilmerhale.com

Pro Bono Efforts

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

  • 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 health care 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 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.
  • 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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August 11, 2014

WilmerHale Tops Contributions in Record-Breaking Generous Associates Campaign

For the 12th consecutive year, WilmerHale has surpassed the donations of all participating law firms in the Legal Aid Society's Generous Associates Campaign, a fundraiser led by associates at Washington DC law firms.

August 1, 2014

New Berkman Center Initiative, Global Access in Action, Hosts Inaugural Workshop on Access to Medicines in Developing Countries

Global Access in Action (GAiA), a new initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, is hosting a workshop today to assess promising but understudied strategies for increasing access to high-quality medicines in the world's poorest countries.

June 12, 2014

WilmerHale and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) Partner to Honor the Late John A. Payton

WilmerHale and LDF honor Mr. Payton's enduring legacy through the creation of the John A. Payton Summer Associate Fellowship, which will provide one summer associate in WilmerHale's Washington DC office the opportunity to spend half of their summer at LDF in New York City.

March 14, 2014

Planning for Long Term Care in Massachusetts

Navigating long term care choices can be quite complex. This guide provides an overview of the many types of programs and payment methods available to people in Massachusetts.

March 14, 2014

Your Health Care Options: A Guide to Health Insurance in Massachusetts

Despite Massachusetts having the lowest percentage of uninsured individuals
in the US, many still remain without health insurance. This guide provides information to help individuals navigate through the highly complex system.

September 27, 2013

Law360 Names WilmerHale Pro Bono Firm of the Year for Second Consecutive Year

For the second consecutive year, Law360 selected WilmerHale to its "Pro Bono Firms of the Year" list for notable successes.

December 5, 2012

Firm Receives Legal Aid Society’s Pro Bono Publico Award

On November 19, WilmerHale was among 43 law firms to receive the 2012 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to the Legal Aid Society and its clients.

May 1, 2012

Washington Business Journal Recognizes WilmerHale for Corporate Philanthropy

December 4, 2009

WilmerHale Named Area’s Largest Pro Bono Law Firm

September 6, 2007

Boston Business Journal Honors WilmerHale with Education Partner of the Year Award

Law Firm Also Recognized as One of New England’s Leading Corporate Philanthropists