Improving Access to Justice
Husch Blackwell has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono legal services to individuals, public service groups and charitable organizations that are unable to pay for the legal representation they need. We encourage our attorneys to provide pro bono legal services, engage in activities that improve access to justice for all, and provide financial support for organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means. We are a Signatory Member of the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, a national organization that encourages pro bono work in law firms across the country.
Our attorneys provide pro bono legal services to individuals and groups referred to us from various agencies including Jewish Vocational Services, Colorado Volunteer Lawyers Association, The Center for Missing & Exploited Children, various legal service corporations and more. Our attorneys also volunteer their services via area bar associations, such as The Denver Bar Association, The Missouri Bar, The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Kansas City Women Lawyers Association and others.
In 2016, Husch Blackwell attorneys and professionals helped 172 organizations by donating 29,414 hours totaling more than $9 million. Our volunteer work takes many forms, such as advising human trafficking survivors, defending immigrant children in court and offering legal services in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Read our 2016 Pro Bono Report to learn more about these efforts.
Full billable hour credits are given to our attorneys for time spent on pro bono matters.
We support our attorneys with specialized training in the areas of law the volunteer attorneys routinely handle. Continuing Legal Education classes are held throughout the year on various topics.
Below are some of our long-term pro bono initiatives.
Human Trafficking Legal Clinic
To maximize efforts in the fight against human trafficking, Husch Blackwell has developed a human trafficking legal clinic that is the first of its kind in the country. The firm has committed to represent all victims — international and domestic, adults and children — in commercial sex and forced labor trafficking cases referred by prosecutors' offices, law enforcement and partnering non-profit agencies.
Adopt a Neighborhood | Manheim
Attorneys in our Kansas City office have teamed up to advise Historic Manheim Park Neighborhood Association as it works to revitalize the neighborhood. The effort is part of a special project for Legal Aid of Western Missouri to connect neighborhoods in the city’s urban core with top-class legal services to accomplish sustainable community development. Currently, the strategic initiatives focus on resident-level legal services, real estate and development, and general community service projects.
Women’s Safe House
Through a partnership with Women’s Safe House, a St. Louis domestic violence shelter, volunteer attorneys visit Safe House twice a month to meet with victims of domestic violence, counseling them on an array of legal issues including landlord/tenant, outstanding warrants and orders of protection matters, with the goal to clear any outstanding legal issues that would prevent Safe House clients from gaining safe housing and jobs. By streamlining case management with St. Louis city courts, all the cases are placed on one docket, with one judge, in order to achieve better results and fair due process.
Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts
In Chicago and St. Louis, our attorneys provide pro bono legal services to artists and art organizations to help them protect their rights and develop their businesses, including contract drafting, review and negotiation; copyright, trademark and patent creation and protection; nonprofit formation and tax exemption; and corporate and litigation matters.
Children with Disabilities
In this program for children with special needs, often with diagnosed disorders falling on the autism specturm, volunteer lawyers from throughout the firm work with families in locations across the U.S. in disputes over educational services, medical reimbursements, landlord/tenant matters and other legal issues. Our estate planning attorneys draw up special trusts and wills for these families and establish guardianships for parents of their grown children.
Capital Area AIDS Legal Project
The legal assistance arm of AIDS Services of Austin, CAALP provides assistance to persons afflicted with or affected by AIDS. A number of our attorneys have assisted with Social Security-related cases, assisting individuals who are unable to obtain benefits without attorney intervention.
Grace Hill Settlement House works in North and South St. Louis to establish families and communities that are strong and self-sustaining. We provide legal advice and services to represent neighbors with legal issues including child custody and visitation, wills, immigration, tax issues, identity theft, employment discrimination and housing.
Colorado Lawyers Committee
This consortium of 58 Colorado law firms and their 1,400 attorneys works to find solutions to significant problems that impact children and the underprivileged. Programs we support include Legal Night Clinics for individuals and families who cannot afford legal services; the NonProfit Working Group, which provides pro bono representation to nonprofits; Project Homeless Connect, a one-day event that connects homeless individuals to services including legal assistance; and the Sixth Amendment Task Force, which advocates for indigent individuals’ right to counsel.
Legal Services Corporations
In many of our locations, our attorneys volunteer to serve clients through local Legal Services Corporations. Organizations with which we work include Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Legal Aid of East Tennessee, Colorado Legal Aid, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Legal Services of Southern Missouri and Legal Aid of Western Missouri. Attorneys assist low-income individuals seeking assistance in a broad variety of civil cases, many involving family law, Social Security disability benefits, landlord/tenant issues and contract disputes.
Kids in Need of Defense
Kids in Need of Defense was created in 2008, by Microsoft Corporation and humanitarian actress Angelina Jolie to aid children from other countries who enter the United States alone. KIND has developed a pro bono network in Washington, D.C., to represent unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S. immigration system, and to ensure that children do not have to attend court alone. The firm handles asylum and unaccompanied minors cases from other agencies, as well.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Guardianship Clinic
Our firm partnered with the pediatric hospital to develop this monthly clinic, which assists families of patients who have special needs and who have reached, or soon will reach, age 18. To continue making medical decisions on behalf of these patients, a parent or other appropriate person must be legally appointed as guardian. Attorneys meet with families, prepare necessary documents, represent the families at guardianship hearings and obtain letters of guardianship.
West Side Justice Center
The West Side Justice Center provides pro bono legal counseling to low-income Chicago residents in connection with the Johnny L. Miller Abundant Life Center and Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Attorneys counsel individuals who otherwise might not be able to navigate the legal system, often regarding personal and family issues that involve emotional as well as economic hardships.