Perkins Coie’s commitment to community runs more than 110 years deep. Sharing our time and talents to help those most in need, both on an individual and systemic basis, defines our firm culture. Recognizing that our pro bono clients have been particularly vulnerable throughout the pandemic and other recent crises, we are dedicated to meeting their needs while assisting our legal service provider partners across the country.
Under the leadership of our senior pro bono counsel and the firmwide Pro Bono Committee, Perkins Coie’s pro bono program launches initiatives across all our offices. Support for pro bono involvement is generous and gives associates and counsel billable-hour credit for their work on approved matters.
In 2022, Perkins Coie hired its first ever pro bono immigration lawyer to support the firm’s humanitarian immigration work.
Pro Bono Fellowships
Perkins Coie hosts two pro bono fellowship programs. Established in 1987, our Sher Kung Memorial Pro Bono Fellowship allows selected associates to devote up to six months of their full-time efforts to working for a nonprofit community organization providing significant public interest service. And our Racial Justice Fellowship is part of the firm’s Commitment to Racial Equality, a series of actions designed to improve racial equality and create a more just and equal society. The fellowship offers current and incoming first-year associates the opportunity to spend one year doing legal work in a civil rights or criminal justice organization or other association that promotes racial equity and equality.
Impact of Pro Bono at Perkins Coie
Our lawyers and business professionals have access to a wide array of volunteer opportunities and the backing of firm resources. The firm encourages them to follow their passions and use their high-level skills to provide critical legal representation to individuals and nonprofit organizations in need of legal assistance.
Perkins Coie has recently helped in these high-need areas:
Restorative Work in a Historic Black Community
The Albina Vision Trust (AVT) is committed to restoring the historic cultural hub of Portland's Black community within the former Lower Albina neighborhood, once the leading center of Black life and culture in northeast Portland. Plans include affordable housing, a theater project, parks, plazas, and more. Our attorneys serve as legal counsel to AVT in its $800 million redevelopment efforts. Learn more on Page 6.
Answering Afghans' Call for Help
As the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 threatened the safety of the Afghan people, particularly girls, women, and families, our attorneys felt compelled to act. We worked with U.S.-based nonprofit agency Women for Afghan Women to draft humanitarian parole applications for Afghans desperate to escape the turmoil. Read more on Page 11.
From the Outside: Clearing Criminal Records Heal Communities
Clearing a criminal record can lead to life-changing opportunities: securing a job, housing, a professional license, or serving in the military. The collateral consequences of having a criminal record disproportionately hurt communities of color, especially Black men. We joined forces with corporate clients to help alleviate this burden through programs in Texas and California. Read more on Page 19.