Pro Bono

Serving more than 1,000 pro bono clients a year.

Through innovation and leadership the firm’s pro bono program leverages our lawyers’ interests and skillsets to help individuals and nonprofit organizations who could not otherwise afford legal assistance.

Very often, those who most need legal representation are the ones who can least afford to pay for it. Whether it’s providing guidance on landlord tenant law, criminal defense, education law, immigration law, or business-related legal assistance for nonprofits and small business owners, free and reliable legal counsel can make real and lasting changes in people’s lives. That’s why pro bono work is one of the cornerstones of our firm. Goodwin dedicates 3% to 5% of its annual hours to pro bono representation and serves over 1,000 clients each year.

Our Pro Bono Initiative reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of our firm. We have been at the forefront of providing pro bono assistance to low income small business owners through our signature program, the Neighborhood Business Initiative, which offers legal clinics, presentations, and one-on-one legal advice in and around our communities. We also represent nonprofit organizations working in a wide variety of areas, such as education, health and safety, peace-building and democracy initiatives, historic preservation, microfinance, and environmental protection. This work allows these organizations to conserve valuable resources, and our lawyers, summer associates and paralegals relish the opportunity to leverage their legal skills to support groups that are making meaningful contributions to society, on both a large and small scale. Furthermore, Goodwin offers several “on demand” remote projects in which lawyers across our offices can readily become involved. And, each year, Goodwin hosts numerous at-firm clinics where we have an opportunity to work side-by-side with our in-house counsel colleagues.

By leveraging our talent to make an impact locally, nationally and globally, Goodwin’s record of pro bono work has produced numerous influential moments, including forming the One Fund to assist Boston Marathon bombing victims, helping Massachusetts become the first U.S. state to recognize marriage for same-sex couples, and successfully arguing a seminal immigration case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Goodwin has been widely recognized by clients and legal services partners for our pro bono achievements. These achievements are emblematic of our firm’s generosity of spirit and a desire to help those in need.

Neighborhood Business Initiative

The Neighborhood Business Initiative (NBI) is a program founded and run by Goodwin to bring business and legal services to entrepreneurs and small-business owners in Greater Boston, New York and California, who are members of under-served communities, or whose businesses positively impact under-served neighborhoods.

The Initiative's primary activities are to provide, on a pro bono basis, legal resources, workshops and clinics in under-served urban neighborhoods, as well as one-on-one direct pro bono representation.

NBI is led by a committee of Goodwin partners, associates and professional staff.

Learn more

Neighborhood Business Initiative

The Gift Of Representation

Goodwin recently partnered with Gillette on a pro bono immigration case for a ten-year-old girl escaping gang violence in El Salvador. Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), which matches pro bono lawyers with unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings across the country, made this success possible.

KIND

Highlights

Recognition

2019

  • Kevin DeJong received special recognition for all of his support of KIND at the Volunteer Appreciation Celebration on September 10, 2019.
  • Goodwin was selected to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Washington Lawyer's Committee for its tenacious and successful litigation in the Mengiste and York cases, which sent a strong message to housing providers that discrimination against persons based on national origin and on sexual identity will not go unpunished.
  • The Pereira Litigation Team was the recipient of the 2019 AILA Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for Excellence in Litigation in the Field of Immigration Law. 
  • Goodwin's Senior Manager, Gia Casale, was recognized with the Award for Pro Bono and Community Service at the annual Civil Rights Reception for her leadership with FoodBiz.
  • David Zimmer received the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Excellence in the Law Pro Bono Award. 

2018

  • David Hashmall accepted the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice award for services provided at its 50th Anniversary Event. Samuel Hoar (Goodwin lawyer) was one of the 14 founders of the Boston Lawyers Committee in 1968 and Goodwin has played an important role in the founding and flourishing of this outstanding organization. 
  • Justin Pierce, Andrew Kim, Andrew Bastnagel, Thomas Hefferon, Joeseph Yenouskas, Tierney Smith, Adam Chud, William Jay and Brian Burgess were presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of great work with the DC Parole Project. 
  • The Califonria Innocense Project recognized for the firm's Case Screening Program. 
  • Buzzard's Bay Coalition honored Greg Bibler for his work on a host of Coalition advocacy issues, beginning in 2011, to help expedite the release of Massachusetts Estuaries Project reports that form the foundation of Bay cleanup plans called TMDLs. Bibler has also represented the Coalition in its appeal of Falmouth’s wastewater treatment plant permit in 2015 and in a recent case involving a Mattapoisett homeowner who converted nearly a half-acre of sensitive wetlands on Eel Pond to lawn.
  • The International Municipal Lawyers Association recognized Brett Schuman, Brian Burgess and Neel Chatterjee with the distinguished Amicus Service Award for their work in San Francisco v. Trump
  • Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) honored Goodwin with the “Firm of the Year” Award for its work on behalf of DACA applicants.

2017

  • Elaine Blais was honored for her commitment to community and pro bono work with the Boston Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award, presented annually to a lawyer in Greater Boston for extraordinary efforts in enhancing the human dignity of others through improving or delivering services to Massachusetts’ low income population.
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court honore the firm with the Adams Pro Bono Publico Award for its for its extraordinary dedication to representing unaccompanied immigrant minors, and its innovative pro bono partnership with in-house lawyers at Gillette to serve the needs of these children.d
  • The Legal Aid Society of New York recognized Goodwin with the Society's 2017 Pro Bono Publico Awards for outstanding service to The Legal Aid Society and its clients. Frederick Rein, Michael Cottler, Christopher Morten, Tiffany Mahmood, Jonathan Whitney and Tobias Schad were also recognized individually. 
  • The Victim Rights Law Center selected the firm to receive its Champion Award.

2016

  • The Legal Aid Society of NY honored the firm with its Pro Bono Publico Award recognizing its exceptional legal services delivered to low income New Yorkers; also honors Goodwin and IBM for its Naturalization Project.
  • Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) recognized partner Marian Tse with the Dow-Gardner-Landrum award for her service on its Board and her long-term commitment to ensuring that poor people have access to justice.
  • The California State Bar recognized Teddy Manolova with its President’s Pro Bono Award.
  • Lawyers Alliance for NY recognizeed Mark Schonberger with the 2016 Cornerstone Award for pro bono excellence
  • Rob Hale was recognized by pro bono client, Gosnold on Cape Cod.
  • Artists for Humanity honored Goodwin for its outstanding support of the Center and the arts community.  

2015

  • Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs honored the firm with the Outstanding Achievement Award
    KIND recognized the firm with its Allegiance Award for work on behalf of unaccompanied minors.
  • Mass Service Alliance recognized the firm for its work helping U.S. residents become naturalized citizens.
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly honored Doug Doskocil with its Excellence in the Law Pro Bono Award.
  • San Francisco Bar Justice and Diversity Center honored Patrick Thompson with an Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Certificate.  
  • Boston Univeristy Public Interest Program honored Pro Bono Manager Carolyn Rosenthal with the Alumni Pro Bono Award.
  • Youth Advocacy Division of CPCS honored Bill Mayer and David Apfel.
  • Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Boston presented Jaime Santos with the “Associate Award” recognizing her demonstrated commitment to the civil rights mission of the Lawyers' Committee.

Robert B. Fraser Award

Established in 2000, the firm's Robert B. Fraser Pro Bono Award is given each year to a partner and associate who have done outstanding pro bono work. The award is named after retired Goodwin managing partner Bob Fraser and honors attorneys who devote significant time and effort on behalf of those unable to afford legal representation and who make a special contribution to the establishment or enhancement of pro bono programs at the firm.

RECENT RECEIPIENTS

2018  Minta KayAlicia Rubio Spring 
2017  Tiffiney Carney, John Ferguson 
2016  Jim McGarry, Rushank Shah 
2015  Bill Harrington, Danielle Geier
2014  Kevin Martin, Leann Walsh
2013  Robert Hale, David Freeburg
2012  Thomas Merriam, Eric Labbe, Teodora Manolova
2011  Rob Carroll, Pat Hurley, Kerry Owens
2010  Daryl Wiesen, Justin Silberberg
2009  Chris Davis and Alison Norris
2008  Bill Mayer and Breck Hancock
2007  David Apfel and Danielle Gipson
2006  Joseph Savage and Dana Breitman
2005  John Moustakas and Christine Genaitis
2004  Jeff Simes and Susan Abbott
2003  Ken Parsigian and Anna Dodson
2002  Al Solecki and Jackie Klosek
2001  Diane Currier and Sarah Walters
2000  Paul Nemser and Stephanie Pare

 

Robert B. Fraser