Venable has long recognized the importance of providing first-rate legal representation to those unable to afford a lawyer. We are signatories to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which calls upon law firms to devote a percentage of their work to addressing the unmet legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged.
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. For the past decade, Venable attorneys have collectively logged, on average, approximately 23,000 hours per year firm-wide representing a wide range of pro bono clients, including:
- Public school children with special education needs
- Women and children immigrants fleeing violence and seeking legal status in the United States
- Non-profit entities with organizational, transactional, tax and operational needs
- Veterans and persons with disabilities wrongly denied benefits
- Victims of domestic violence seeking restraining orders against their abusers
- Low-income seniors with estate planning needs
- Low-income children who are the subjects of custody disputes between caregivers
- Prisoners wrongfully convicted or improperly sentenced
- Low-income tenants seeking to maintain their housing and correct substandard living conditions
- Victims of police misconduct, including racial profiling and the use of excessive force
- Individuals and organizations seeking to protect intellectual property rights in developing countries
- Walk-in clinics for low-income individuals with pressing legal needs.
We also 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 Clinic, and various clinics in the District of Columbia and Baltimore to assist low-income individuals with income tax preparation.
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.
Recent, prominent pro bono engagements have included:
- Representing an Alabama death row prisoner and a federal death row prisoner
- Forming and counseling Warrior Canine Connection, which uses service dogs to rehabilitate service members returning from combat
- Requiring the Maryland State Police to disclose records showing whether it meaningfully investigates complaints of racial profiling
- Challenging Virginia regulations that impose certain non-medically-necessary requirements on women’s health care facilities that perform first trimester abortions
- Securing recognition of the right to counsel at initial bail hearings for criminal defendants throughout Maryland
- Handling long-term litigation to reform the foster care system in Baltimore
- Obtaining post-conviction relief in three different cases for men wrongfully imprisoned for murder in DC for approximately 20 years apiece
- Accomplishing the merger of Maryland's two largest food banks
A full list of our Pro Bono Partners can be found here.