NEW YORK, June 8, 2015: Global law firm Morgan Lewis concluded one of its most ambitious pro bono efforts to date, with more than 100 events from June 1-7 in the firm’s 29 locations around the globe. More than 1500 lawyers and staff participated. The Morgan Lewis Pro Bono and Community Service Week, now in its sixth year, had a special focus on preventing hunger, with featured presentations from Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength, a nonprofit focused on ending childhood hunger in the United States, as well as Michael Hofmann of Welthungerhilfe, a German organization working on disaster relief, rural development, and food security.
Several of the events were designed to strengthen the firm’s ongoing relationships with local food banks, food pantries, and other hunger relief organizations that are supported throughout the year with donations and pro bono assistance. They included a “greenmarket rescue” in New York with City Harvest, where the firm collected excess greenmarket produce and delivered it to food pantries, and a table-tennis tournament fundraiser in San Francisco to support Food From the Bar.
Offices outside of the United States were also involved, including London personnel helping Tower Hamlets Foodbank collect and distribute food for children who are not receiving school-provided meals during the summer, and Moscow personnel serving meals at the Hesed Hama Soup Kitchen.
There was also a robust slate of clinics, legal trainings, and presentations planned during the week to reinforce the firm’s pro bono commitment. Morgan Lewis lawyers, among other things, helped non-citizen victims of crime secure U-Visas in Boston, assisted survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking and other forms of gender violence in accessing public benefits in New York, advised former military on financial management in Philadelphia, and learned how to represent asylum seekers in Washington, DC.
“Our Firm's commitment to pro bono goes back many decades. As we have grown, so too has the depth and breadth of our involvement, and every one of our offices participated in Pro Bono and Community Service Week," said Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “Whether donating food or providing legal services to those in need, we are proud to serve the communities where we live and work.”
“Our events both directly assisted our pro bono clients and the people who depend on them, and strengthened our ongoing relationships with nonprofit service providers,” said Morgan Lewis partner Amanda Smith, who leads the firm’s award-winning pro bono program. “We are making an immediate impact, while also building the foundation for continued outreach throughout the year.”
In 2014, Morgan Lewis contributed 75,000 pro bono hours for 1,000 clients, and anticipates contributing up to 100,000 pro bono hours in 2015. The firm is a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, with a pledge to spend at least 3 percent of billable hours each year on pro bono matters.