Pro Bono

Venable has long recognized the importance of providing first-rate legal representation to those unable to afford a lawyer. We are proud to be among the signatories to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge.

The firm expects its attorneys to devote their time and diverse talents, on a pro bono basis, to improving their communities and the lives of others. Venable attorneys collectively log upwards of 30,000 hours per year firmwide representing a wide range of pro bono clients, including:

  • Low-income tenants seeking to maintain their housing and to correct substandard living conditions
  • Victims of domestic violence seeking restraining orders against their abusers
  • Women, children, and other immigrants fleeing violence and persecution and seeking legal status in the United States
  • Veterans and persons with disabilities wrongly denied benefits
  • Incarcerated individuals with claims of actual innocence or facing the death penalty
  • Victims of police misconduct, including racial profiling and the use of excessive force
  • Nonprofit entities with organizational, transactional, tax, and operational needs
  • Low-income seniors with estate planning needs
  • Public school children with special education needs
  • Low-income children who are the subject of custody disputes between caregivers
  • Individuals and organizations seeking to protect intellectual property rights

Clinic Support

We regularly staff walk-in clinics for low-income individuals with pressing legal needs, including the DC Bar Pro Bono Program's Advice and Referral Clinic, the DC Bar Pro Bono Program's Consumer Law and Landlord-Tenant Resource Clinics, and various clinics in DC and Baltimore to assist low-income individuals with income tax preparation.

Gerry Treanor Pro Bono Fellowship

In 2015, we launched the Gerry Treanor Pro Bono Fellowship, named after our partner who headed the pro bono program for many years. Each fellow is placed with either Bread for the City in Washington or Maryland Legal Aid in Baltimore and works full-time for six months representing low-income clients.

pro bono
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“Human beings, who are in terrible trouble, turn to this firm for relief, for some friendship, some support.”

Recent Noteworthy Cases
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  • Winning freedom and securing a court declaration of innocence for a District of Columbia man wrongfully imprisoned for nearly 25 years for a murder he did not commit
  • Winning freedom and securing dismissal of all charges against a District of Columbia man wrongfully imprisoned for over 19 years for a murder he did not commit
  • Litigating a class action to end the Department of Homeland Security's "bait and switch" practice of having Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrest undocumented immigrants married to U.S. citizens when they appear at Customs and Immigration Services facilities for the interviews they are required to undergo to secure their green cards
  • Representing a dozen federal prisoners seeking compassionate release under the First Step Act
  • Authored numerous amicus briefs in federal courts, including the Supreme Court, on behalf of nearly four dozen civil rights organizations in successful challenges to the Trump administration's attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program
  • Securing, over the past five years, legal status for over 50 individual immigrants fleeing violence and persecution in their countries of origin
  • Advocating and litigating to end the practice of jailing people too poor to pay court-imposed fines and fees in several Arkansas counties and engaging in similar advocacy to repeal a District of Columbia law prohibiting the renewal of driver's licenses for individuals too poor to pay debts of more than $100 owed to the DC government
  • Forming and counseling Warrior Canine Connection, which uses service dogs to rehabilitate service members returning from combat
  • Representing all Florida death row inmates in a challenge to their automatic placement in permanent solitary confinement
  • Spearheading litigation and monitoring a consent decree for more than three decades to reform the foster care system in Baltimore
  • Representing a federal death row prisoner in post-conviction proceedings
  • Obtaining the reversal of a conviction and death sentence, and securing a sentence of life with the possibility of parole, for an Alabama man
  • Securing recognition of the right to counsel at initial bail hearings for criminal defendants throughout Maryland

Pro Bono Partners
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  • American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation Project
  • American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland
  • Archdiocesan Legal Network of Catholic Charities
  • Bread for the City
  • Children's Law Center
  • Coalition of Asylum & Immigration Rights
  • Community Law Center
  • DC Bar Pro Bono Program
  • Disability Rights Maryland
  • DV LEAP
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Federal Public Defender – Eastern District of Virginia
  • Kids in Need of Defense
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia
  • Legal Aid Society of New York
  • Legal Counsel for the Elderly
  • Maryland Legal Aid
  • Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service
  • Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project
  • Neighborhood Legal Services
  • New York City Bar Justice Center
  • New York Legal Assistance Group
  • Northern Virginia Pro Bono Law Center
  • Public Interest Intellectual Property Advocates
  • Pro Bono Institute
  • Pro Bono Resource Center of Maryland, Inc.
  • Southern Center for Human Rights
  • Tahirih Justice Center
  • Tzedek DC
  • Veterans Consortium
  • Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts
  • Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  • Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
  • Whitman-Walker Legal Services Program

Recognition
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2020

City Bar Justice Center's City Bar Justice Award

Disability Rights Maryland's Legal Advocacy Award

Kids in Need of Defense (New York) – Pro Bono Spotlight

2019

Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts' G. Hamilton Loeb Award for Pro Bono Excellence

DV LEAP's "Super Hero of the Month" for November 2020

2018

Public Justice Center's Outstanding Partner Award

City Bar Justice Center's Jeremy G. Epstein Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service

The Veterans Consortium – Volunteer Inspiring Pro Bono (VIP)

Contact
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Venable is committed to giving back to better the communities in which its professionals live and work. Learn more about the Venable Foundation.