Pro Bono Highlights

Compass Working Capital is a nonprofit organization that provides incentive-based savings and financial coaching programs that empower low-income families to access opportunities, build assets and achieve their financial aspirations, such as saving for a first-time home, a college education or a small business.

”At Compass, we are never short on ideas or energy, but we struggle to build the resources – primarily human capital talent – to achieve our goals. Goodwin has been an instrumental partner for Compass at every stage of growth, particularly in the last two years as we have transitioned to a growth-oriented nonprofit organization that provides an innovative portfolio of products and services and is recognized as a legitimate thought leader in the field. Most notably, Goodwin has played a highly strategic role in the development, launch and expansion of the Compass Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program.”

Sherry Riva, Executive Director, Compass Working Capital

“Compass runs the only public-private FSS program in the country, which helps Section 8 residents save money to get out of public housing. I drafted agreements with the Lynn and Cambridge housing departments to establish these groundbreaking programs, which was a unique and satisfying legal experience. It has been incredibly rewarding to hear the stories of the people who have been helped. Compass is enabling the American dream to become a reality for everyone, and not through hand-outs, but by helping people to achieve their goals through their own effort.”

Goodwin Associate, Financial Industry Practice

Since early 2013, 43 Goodwin attorneys and paralegals across the United States have worked over 4,200 hours asserting the rights of homeless individuals in First Amendment challenges to antipanhandling ordinances. Some ordinances outlaw “aggressive” panhandling (which in some cases has involved quietly holding a sign asking for help near a bus stop), while others outlaw standing in median strips and traffic islands for any kind of expressive conduct. To date, these challenges have included one trial and three pending appeals.

“Eventually we hope to establish precedent throughout the country that homeless persons cannot be precluded from those locations that are actually conducive to seeking charity from their fellow citizens.”

Kevin Martin, Partner, Appellate Litigation Practice

“The attorneys at Goodwin secured a significant victory for freedom of expression, and for all people who use public spaces to communicate with their fellow citizens. Goodwin’s professionalism and skill were matched by their commitment to justice.”

Zachary L. Heiden, Legal Director, ACLU of Maine Foundation

POST works to protect and care for open space, farms and parklands in the San Francisco Bay area. Its vision is to shape a vibrant ecosystem for Silicon Valley and create a network of protected lands that provide scenic beauty, clean air and water, locally grown food, and a place for people and wildlife to thrive. Over the last 38 years, POST has helped preserve over 70,000 acres of open space.

”Working with Goodwin Procter is like having a close and trusted friend involved in our work who understands our interests, as a client, but who also is skilled in the art of negotiation and compromise in order to close the deal. They have helped us with the acquisition and transfer of key properties to park and open space agencies for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Gordon Clark, Director, Program Development, POST

“Doing pro bono work for POST is ideal – it’s not only a direct application of my real estate transactional experience, but a means to help the Bay Area as a whole, and remain true to my ‘roots’ and my Master’s in environmental policy. And the POST team is great to work with too – skilled, diligent and dedicated to their mission.”

Jeff Wutzke, Counsel, Real Estate Capital Markets Group

“Patricia” is a young woman who fled El Salvador fearing for her life because of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse and threats by her former domestic partner who also abused her son, a toddler at the time. Based on the persecution she suffered, Goodwin attorneys helped her obtain asylum, and now she has an opportunity to be reunited with her son.

"I felt like I was in a dream. I never thought anyone would help me run away from my home country because no one in my home country ever helped me. I had no idea they would help me as much as they have either, it has been blessing for me and I am so excited.”

"Patricia,” Asylee

“The most challenging and rewarding aspect of representing our client was to develop a relationship of trust so she could tell us her story with enough detail for us to present her case in a compelling fashion. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a lawyer because we were able to help a young woman who has suffered a tremendous hardship and who truly deserves the benefits of asylum.”

Goodwin Associate, Technology + Life Sciences

Established in 1996, IA was founded to build an “Internet library,” with the purpose of offering free, permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, artists and the general public to collections in digital format. IA collects and preserves electronic and physical data and media, including texts, audio, videos/film, software, television news and archived web pages.

“Goodwin has helped us with a wide range of issues. They’ve assisted with addressing law enforcement requests, helped us submit an amicus brief in a critical Supreme Court case with major implications for libraries and privacy, and provided research on new questions about library rights. Goodwin’s services have addressed both immediate and long-term considerations for the IA, all of them highly significant to the continuing fulfillment of our goals of expanding access to books, movies, audio, ‘born-digital’ works, and other library resources via the Internet for all.”

Brewster Kahle, Founder and Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

“It has been exciting for us to work with IA on one of the most significant 4th amendment and privacy cases in years. At the forefront of these issues, IA is passionate about protecting the privacy of individuals’ right to read materials without being concerned about law enforcement, unchecked, tracking it. It was gratifying to pull a collection of Goodwin lawyers from multiple practices to take a hard look at these important issues, file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, and have our position in substance adopted by the Justices.”

Grant Fondo, Partner, Securities Litigation & White Collar Defense Group

Save the Children is the world’s leading charitable organization for children. It consists of 30 national organizations working together to deliver results for children, every day and in times of crisis. In 2013, it helped more than 143 million children worldwide, including over 52 million directly. Save the Children Hong Kong, established in 2009, is among the organization’s youngest members, with a mission to support Save the Children’s China and international programs.

“Goodwin helped us understand the regulatory framework and viability of setting up a Save the Children operation in Guangzhou China. Their strategic input has guided us to further develop and fine tune Save the Children’s expansion strategy in Greater China.”

Anita To, Executive Director, Save the Children Hong Kong

“Goodwin’s Hong Kong office has had the pleasure of assisting SCHK as part of the firm’s international pro bono initiative. The organization has asked us to review consultancy agreements, and to provide advice related to corporate issues. We have enjoyed the opportunity to use our combined expertise in Chinese and U.S. law, to provide legal assistance to support its important mission.”

SFI was formed to address unmet medical and social needs in under-served communities throughout the world. SFI has focused its initial projects on less developed regions within the Russian Federation that suffer from high rates of tuberculosis. The strategy is to get people, or organizations, to “step forward” with ideas, funding and support for programs.

“With Goodwin’s assistance, we were able to qualify for nonprofit status in a relatively short amount of time, and thus have been able to make very tangible progress on our first program helping Kalmykia, Russia with its tuberculosis (TB) control effort. We were then able to qualify for a special program that allowed us to purchase a state-of-the-art instrument for diagnosing TB. Because we obtained our assistance pro bono, we were able to have sufficient funds to purchase the instrument, and pay for installation and training of staff in the TB laboratory.”

Ron Haak, Co-Founder and President, Step Forward Initiative

”While our pro bono efforts typically involve assisting organizations that improve the lives of their beneficiaries, SFI provided an exciting opportunity to partner with an organization that is saving lives.”

Steve Feldstein, Partner, Employment Practice

The Joyful Heart Foundation’s mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues. ENDTHEBACKLOG, the cornerstone of Joyful Heart’s Policy & Advocacy work, focuses on ending the backlog of untested rape kits in the United States. It is using public records requests to bring to light the number of untested kits at police departments nationwide.

In 2016, Goodwin assisted Joyful Heart in reversing a dismissal of charges against an alleged serial rapist. After a compelling amicus brief written by a Goodwin team, the Supreme Court of Ohio overruled a decision to dismiss rape and kidnapping charges based on pre-indictment delay. The defendant was indicted one day before the expiration of the 20-year statute of limitations, after a rape kit was tested - one of more than 11,000 currently in state’s backlog.

The Goodwin team, led by Emily Rapalino and Alexandra Valenti, worked on behalf of Joyful Heart to halt the dismissal, which had the potential to undermine Ohio’s efforts by allowing charges to be dismissed based on the delay in testing the rape kits.