The Boston Bar Association (BBA) has announced that it has honored Ropes & Gray with
the 2012 Thurgood Marshall Award. The award is designed to highlight
extraordinary pro bono work by members of the private bar, and was presented at
the BBA's Annual Meeting Luncheon at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, an event that
drew some 1,200 lawyers.
In just the past year, Ropes & Gray lawyers
and professional staff devoted 98,000 hours to providing free legal services to
individuals, non-profit organizations, and small businesses across the nation.
More than half of that pro bono time was donated here in Massachusetts.
To cite just a few examples of the firm's work here in MA over
the last 3 years...
- In 2008, Ropes & Gray launched its first
Medical Legal Partnership by adopting the Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston ("MLP
| Boston") legal clinic at the Dorchester House Multi-Service Center
("Dot House"), a community health center in the Fields Corner neighborhood
of Dorchester. In 2011, Ropes & Gray joined several other
Boston-area law firms and MLP | Boston to launch a new pro bono legal clinic
at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In all, more than 150 Ropes & Gray
partners, associates, summer associates, and paralegals have leveraged MLP |
Boston's expert mentorship to serve more than 160 Dot House and Dana-Farber
patient-families on more than 225 distinct legal matters in Ropes' five MLP
practice areas: housing/utilities, immigration, education, public
benefits, and family law. Since taking our first Dot House client in
January 2009, Ropes & Gray has provided upwards of 25,000 hours of pro
bono service through our MLP projects.
- From 2009-present, Ropes & Gray has been
donating public interest fellows to the legal services community. Concentrating
on Massachusetts, the firm has financially supported over 40 one-year
fellowships for Ropes & Gray lawyers at Greater Boston Legal Services and
other legal services agencies in the state including Volunteer Lawyers
Project, Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR),
Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Massachusetts Appleseed, Lawyers'
Committee for Civil Rights and Health Law Advocates.
- With supervision from retired firm partner Bill
Patton, Ropes attorneys have made a large contribution to guardianship work at
the Volunteer Lawyers Project, training over 50 lawyers to take on more than
30 guardianship matters in 2011.
- Ropes lawyers regularly staff clinics and take cases
in Chinatown through the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights’ Economic Justice
Project, helping local small business owners with their legal issues.
- Ropes regularly staffs clinics and take cases for
homeless clients through a clinic organized by Lawyers Clearinghouse.
- The firm started a project with Steppingstone
Foundation to help their scholars achieve their dreams of attending college by
offering students and their families pro bono immigration legal services,
including Special Immigrant Juvenile petitions, family-based immigration
petitions, U-visas, and political asylum. While Ropes might not be to able to
arrange for relief in all cases, the firm is arming families with information
about rights they may be unaware of and where viable, asserting claims for
relief. Greater Boston Legal Services is serving as Ropes' mentor.
- Roz Nasdor, Pro Bono Manager at Ropes, co-chairs the BBA's Delivery
of Legal Services section, and helped organize a pilot project for this
year's summer associates from Boston firms to volunteer for the hotline at the
Legal Advocacy & Resources Center. 20 law students participated this