One of the bedrock functions of pro bono work is to provide legal counsel to those who are unable to pay for it. At Akin Gump, our attorneys work with the indigent and homeless in our communities in order to help them with a wide variety of issues that are a function of, or exacerbated by, their poverty or lack of fixed abode.
Clinics are a recurring component of our pro bono program in every office. We have found that clinics offer many benefits, including providing timely and effective legal counsel to hard-to-reach populations and giving attorneys the opportunity to develop critical skills in a variety of pro bono practice areas. Examples of clinics we have undertaken to help low-income individuals include wills and advanced directives, DACA renewals, divorces, and expungements.
One example is the work that the firm’s D.C. office has done in partnership with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless (WLCH). WLCH has been working since 1986 to provide basic legal services to the homeless population of the District of Columbia, and, since the late 1990s, Akin Gump’s work with the organization has run the gamut from litigation against the D.C. government on behalf of mentally disabled residents whose disability funds had been criminally misspent by a city contractor to bimonthly legal intakes at which up to a dozen new clients are seen and their legal needs discussed.
Across the country our lawyers work with local legal services organizations, such as Public Counsel in Los Angeles, the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, the Houston Volunteer Lawyer Project and the Legal Aid Society of New York, to assist those members of our communities most in need.