Pro Bono

More than 65,000 hours for the (public) good.

Very often those who most need legal representation can least afford to pay for it. Whether it’s guidance on housing, immigration, criminal defense or small business development, free and reliable legal counsel can make real and lasting changes in people’s lives and livelihoods. That’s why pro bono work is one of the cornerstones of our firm. Our attorneys, summer associates and paralegals work on a wide range of pro bono matters. Last year, we dedicated more than 65,000 hours to over 650 matters.

Goodwin’s pro bono work not only affects the local communities in which we work and live, but also improves the lives of people in other parts of the world. Our lawyers assist low-income individuals with poverty law issues, and we also assist national and international nonprofit organizations on governance issues, intellectual property, real estate, tax, employment and environmental matters. In addition, our attorneys have been very involved in the area of microfinance, helping nonprofit organizations in the sector to make complex cross-border investments in emerging markets and to solve sophisticated regulatory issues.

Goodwin has been widely recognized by clients and legal services partners for our pro bono achievements. These achievements are emblematic of our lawyers’ generosity of spirit and a desire to help those in need.

No matter how big or small, how monumental the issues or how routine, every pro bono matter receives the same level of dedication, professionalism, and care. The firm greatly appreciates the energy, commitment, and creativity that all of the attorneys and other legal professionals involved bring to our Pro Bono Initiative.

Pro Bono Highlights

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.

Read the full story in the Pro Bono Attorneys of the Month feature on KIND’s website





  • Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) honors Goodwin with the “Firm of the Year” Award for its work on behalf of DACA applicants.


  • Elaine Blais 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.
  • MA Supreme Judicial Court honors 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.
  • Victim Rights Law Center selected the firm to receive its Champion Award.


  • The Legal Aid Society of NY honors the firm with its Pro Bono Publico Award recognizing our exceptional legal services delivered to low income New Yorkers; also honors Goodwin and IBM for its Naturalization Project
  • Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) recognizes 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
  • Lawyers Alliance for NY recognizes Mark Schonberger with the 2016 Cornerstone Award for pro bono excellence


  • Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs honors the firm with the Outstanding Achievement Award
  • KIND recognizes the firm with its Allegiance Award for work on behalf of unaccompanied minors
  • Mass Service Alliance recognizes the firm for its work helping US residents become naturalized citizens
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly honors Doug Doskocil with Excellence in the Law Pro Bono Award

The American Lawyer

Goodwin Ranks Among Top 25 Firms in 
The American Lawyer Pro Bono Survey

Pro Bono Committee

The Pro Bono Committee consists of partners from each of the regions where Goodwin has US offices, representing a diverse group of practice areas. Committee members guide implementation of the firm's pro bono policies and procedures, and recommend improvements. In addition, they monitor pro bono efforts, and provide support and leadership in the development of pro bono opportunities for the firm's lawyers, science advisors and paraprofessionals.

Steve Charkoudian, Co-Chair
William Harrington, Co-Chair
Luciana Aquino-Hagedorn
Inez Friedman-Boyce
Jason Breen
An-Yen Hu
Nilda Isidro
Brian McPeake
Bruce Rader
Paul Verbesy

Carolyn D. Rosenthal, Pro Bono Manager
Julia Holczer, Pro Bono Manager

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.


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

Robert B. Fraser