Morrison & Foerster Joins the American Bar Association in First National Pro Bono Celebration

10/27/2009

Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, CA [October 27, 2009] - Morrison & Foerster LLP is pleased to join the American Bar Association ("ABA") and other law institutions across the U.S. in sponsoring the first annual National Pro Bono Celebration, designated October 25-31, 2009.  The week is a communal effort by the legal community to recognize the work lawyers do on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised.  Morrison & Foerster will host events that will highlight the firm's pro bono engagements and provide attorneys with training opportunities that will encourage them to give back to their communities through free legal services.

"Morrison & Foerster's long-standing commitment to pro bono work is a fundamental component of the culture here, and we are delighted to be a part of the ABA's Pro Bono Celebration," said Morrison & Foerster chair Keith Wetmore.  "The firm has always valued opportunities to meet the legal needs of individuals being denied access to justice, and this week is a good reminder of our responsibility as lawyers to continuously seek this type of work."

Public interest attorneys are invited to join a free webinar that Morrison & Foerster is co-hosting with Pro Bono Net on October 30, 2009, which will provide an introduction to the extensive array of volunteer opportunities, training calendars, and searchable libraries of practice resources located on Pro Bono Net (Register for free at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/283246377).

For more than 50 years, Morrison & Foerster attorneys have volunteered their time and expertise to matters of public interest.  In 2008 alone, attorneys devoted over 115,000 hours to this practice.  Earlier this year, American Lawyer magazine again ranked Morrison & Foerster on its "A-List" of the Top 20 Law Firms in the Country, and the firm's dedication to pro bono work was a significant factor in earning a Top 10 ranking.

Pro bono legal services provided by Morrison & Foerster attorneys include the following:

  • San Francisco lawyers won a first-ever ruling from the Federal Circuit that a veteran who applies for service-connected disability benefits has a property interest in those benefits that is protected by the constitutional guarantee of due process of law.

  • Washington lawyers partnered with Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights to win a commitment from major landlords in Montgomery County, Maryland to fully honor federal Housing Choice Vouchers at all their properties, recognizing the right of low-income voucher holders to live in neighborhoods of their choice.

  • Los Angeles lawyers won parole for a domestic violence survivor who was incarcerated nearly 20 years on attempted murder charges, after representing her at four parole hearings over the last three years.  

  • New York lawyers won asylum in the United States for a woman who fled Eritrea after being harassed, tortured, and imprisoned on account of her religious beliefs and political opinion.  Thanking her attorneys, she wrote, "You saved me.  You saved my life from ending up in prison."

  • Denver lawyers helped to secure the future of the Prairie Dog Coalition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of prairie dogs and the restoration of their ecosystems, by representing it in a transaction to combine with the Humane Society of  the United States.  The Coalition transferred its assets to the Humane Society, and then dissolved.  It will continue its unique work as a program of the Humane Society.

  • London attorneys are helping to incorporate Internocracy, a new charitable organization in the U.K.  Internocracy was conceived by two young people who recognize the social mobility and other advantages that can come from securing internships.  It will provide housing, employability skills training and social support so that financially disadvantaged youth can undertake an internship in London that they ordinarily could not afford.

For more information on Morrison & Foerster's pro bono services, please visit http://www.mofo.com/generalcontent/culture/community/overview.

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