For the Fourth Consecutive Year, Akin Gump Named a Law360 Pro Bono Firm of the Year

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump is proud to announce that, for the fifth year out of the last six and the fourth year in a row, it has been named one of the Pro Bono Firms of the Year by Law360.

Each year, the publication selects 20 BigLaw firms and “highlights some the most impactful work and impressive victories that attorneys at major law firms took on without [monetary] compensation.”

For 2016, Law360 spotlighted pro bono work that Akin Gump has done in a wide range of areas. As it noted, the firm was “lobbying for millions of dollars in childhood cancer research, fighting to hold Bolivian officials responsible for human rights violations and working to restore a deaf man’s dignity after he was wrongfully jailed for weeks.”

Pro bono counsel Fiona Brett was quoted as saying, “At Akin Gump, pro bono is integrated into the culture. Our firm founder made public service a very strong part of our culture and our leadership has focused on public service and pro bono in such a profound way that it’s quite wonderful for [pro bono partner Steven Schulman] and for me that we’re not always pounding the drum and trying to get people to do pro bono or believe in pro bono.”

Mr. Schulman spoke about his work helping families of civilians killed by government forces during protests in Bolivia in 2003, work that yielded an 11th Circuit victory for the clients. Though experienced in human rights work, he spoke of the emotional impact of the case, saying, “When I went down in 2007 and visited the sites and met with the people who’ve lost family members, that was probably, emotionally, the hardest time I've had.”

The article also discusses the work done by the firm and, specifically, health policy partner John Jonas and senior counsel Karen Thiel in working with congressional appropriations committees to find more than $120 million over 10 years to fund childhood cancer research through the Smashing Walnuts Foundation.

Two Akin Gump litigators, Jonathan Goodrich and Carolyn Perez, are quoted regarding an Americans with Disabilities Act suit the firm filed on behalf of a deaf homeless man who was arrested after being falsely accused of stealing an iPad. For six weeks, the man was held without any accommodation for his deafness, as he missed meals and forcibly underwent medical tests about which he was told nothing. Mr. Goodrich said of their client, “I saw someone who was a very proud and optimistic person but who had really suffered a hit to his dignity from just the lack of being able to communicate for such a long period.”

Ms. Perez proposed the case as emblematic of Akin Gump’s attitude toward pro bono work, noting, “I don't think there's a better use of an attorney's time than to give a voice to a population that is often voiceless.”

To read the full article, please click here.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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