Pro Bono Highlights

Compass Working Capital

Compass Working CapitalCompass 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.

Compass runs the only public-private FSS program in the country, which helps Section 8 residents save money to get out of public housing. Goodwin drafted agreements with the Lynn and Cambridge housing departments to establish these groundbreaking programs. 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.

”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 inthe 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

First Amendment Challenges to Anti-Panhandling Ordinances

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

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST)

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


As“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 Procter 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