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K&L Gates’ inaugural Global Day of Service was awarded “Global Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year" as part of The American Lawyer’s 2014 Global Legal Awards under the overall “Citizenship” category. Learn more.
We encourage our lawyers to provide pro bono legal representation and to participate in other charitable, community, educational, and professional activities.  The firm believes that every attorney has the professional responsibility to provide such services.

K&L Gates typically handles hundreds of pro bono matters a year. Among other things, firm lawyers litigate civil rights cases, establish and advise nonprofit organizations, assist such organizations in transactions, and represent indigent persons in consumer, landlord-tenant, and immigration matters. We directly aid individuals who have limited means but substantial legal needs. We also provide legal counsel and public policy advocacy to help organizations advance their public service programs, and we accept court appointments to provide pro bono counsel in both civil and criminal matters. Each year the firm highlights a selection of recent pro bono work and awards in a publication entitled for the public good.

The firm delivers pro bono services in cooperation with dozens of organizations and legal services programs, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Cancer Council of Western Australia, Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre, Gippsland Community Legal Centre, Habitat for Humanity, InMotion (now known as Her Justice), International Senior Lawyers Project, Kids in Need of Defense, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, National Immigrant Justice Center, Neighborhood Legal Services Association, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Public Counsel, Public Interest Law Clearing House, and St. John’s Legal Centre. Many K&L Gates lawyers also provide pro bono services through local legal clinics such as Legal Services for the Homeless, a clinic established by K&L Gates lawyers at a Seattle homeless shelter.

Projects in which firm lawyers collaborate with clients and across offices are increasingly common. For example, since 2011 the W.I.L.L.S. project, carried out in collaboration with the legal department of MetLife, has produced wills, health care proxies, and powers of attorney for 250 families of New York-area firefighters. In Australia lawyers from our Melbourne office have been seconded to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land organizations in northern Australia. One pro bono project in 2012 was to link Aboriginal traditional knowledge of savanna burning with 21st-century financial products. We established a new nonprofit entity, Northern Indigenous Environmental Services Limited, to facilitate access to the emerging national and international markets for trading in carbon credits. In 2013 lawyers in our San Francisco and Palo Alto offices won an important victory on behalf of inmates in the California prison system, helping to convince the court that federal oversight of the state system is still necessary. Our lawyers then served as lead counsel in a trial seeking to stop the State’s unconstitutional use of force against mentally ill inmates.

K&L Gates has underscored its institutional support of pro bono activities in several ways. The firm treats hours reasonably recorded on approved pro bono matters as the equivalent of billable hours in determining associate bonus eligibility. A firmwide Pro Bono Committee, chaired by a member of the firm’s Management Committee, oversees the firm’s pro bono programs in collaboration with Pro Bono Coordinators in each K&L Gates office. The Pro Bono Committee assesses the effectiveness of the firm’s pro bono efforts and provides leadership to ensure fulfillment of our professional obligations as lawyers. K&L Gates is a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, an aspirational pro bono standard for large law firms. The firm and its lawyers have provided leadership in articulating both the ethical principles and the business case that underlie provision of pro bono services.

Beyond pro bono legal representation, our lawyers and staff perform varied public service work in the communities where they live and work. This includes serving as members of governing bodies of educational institutions, youth sports and arts organizations, environmental groups, civic and cultural organizations, and health care and research institutions, as well as social service and community organizations. Additionally, many of our lawyers and staff provide community service through an array of teaching, mentoring, and other non-legal programs.