Washington, DC (October 29, 2021) – In a year marked by challenges and loss, Epstein Becker Green (EBG) and 64 other DC-based law firms stepped up to help neighbors in need of legal assistance by providing a record 1,049,139 hours of pro bono work in 2020. Of those hours, 52 percent were devoted to assisting DC residents of limited means or the organizations that serve them, according to the DC Bar Pro Bono Center’s latest Pro Bono Initiative Report.
Each year the Pro Bono Center surveys participants of the Pro Bono Initiative, where signatory firms pledge to meet minimum benchmarks for pro bono legal services. In 2020, 9,328 attorneys engaged in pro bono work, with each attorney contributing an average of 91 pro bono hours.
“DC lawyers have increased their commitment to their neighbors in need during the pandemic, which has hit communities of color particularly hard. The economic effects of COVID-19 only worsen existing inequalities,” said Darryl Maxwell, acting executive director of the Pro Bono Center. “We hope DC attorneys continue this trend of pro bono service, especially as the city and the courts prepare to confront the coming eviction crisis.”
“EBG recognizes its professional responsibility to the communities which it serves, and understands the unique and rewarding opportunities for personal and professional growth that pro bono work affords,” said George Breen, Member of the Firm and head of the Washington, DC, office’s pro bono efforts. “We are pleased that we were able to continue our pro bono work during the pandemic, serving DC residents of limited means or the organizations that serve them. Our attorneys dedicated a significant amount of pro bono hours in 2020 to assisting District residents with social security administrative needs through the DC Bar, as well as to Seabury Resources for Aging, an organization that provides personalized, affordable services and housing options to help older adults in the greater Washington area live with independence and dignity.”
According to the report, 39 firms engaged in innovative pro bono projects, including a racial justice task force, a legal clinic staffed by female attorneys as a safe space for women veterans, and unemployment benefits counseling for workers displaced during the pandemic.
Approximately 52 percent of all pro bono time recorded in 2020 under the initiative was devoted to assisting DC residents of limited means or the organizations that serve them.
“Given that the pandemic had significant economic ramifications for law firms across the country, the consistency of the signatory firms’ pro bono efforts this past year was not guaranteed. While more is still needed, the signatory firms’ recognition that the pandemic demanded that their pro bono efforts continue unabated is to be commended,” the report said.
About Epstein Becker Green
Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., is a national law firm with a primary focus on health care and life sciences; employment, labor, and workforce management; and litigation and business disputes. Founded in 1973 as an industry-focused firm, Epstein Becker Green has decades of experience serving clients in health care, financial services, retail, hospitality, and technology, among other industries; representing entities from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Operating in offices throughout the U.S. and supporting clients in the U.S. and abroad, the firm’s attorneys are committed to uncompromising client service and legal excellence. For more information, visit www.ebglaw.com.
About the DC Bar Pro Bono Center
The DC Bar Pro Bono Center is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the District. Each year, the Center recruits, trains, and mobilizes attorney volunteers to serve more than 20,000 DC residents living in poverty, small businesses, and community-based nonprofits. Learn more at www.dcbar.org/pro-bono.