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Under the direction of Jim Nelson, the San Francisco office has joined the Leader Circle of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF). The mission of BASF is to champion equal access to justice and promote humanity, excellence, and diversity in the legal profession. They provide legal services to disadvantaged and underserved individuals in SF, advance professional growth and education, and cultivate diversity and equality in the legal profession.

In the May 2016 BASF Newsletter, Jim Nelson discussed the rapid growth of the office and the firm’s commitment to charitable giving and promotion: "Venable's collaborative partnership and strategic approach to the changing business of law has enabled the San Francisco office to grow with great people, expanding from five to 19 attorneys over the past 24 months, allowing us the opportunity to join the Leaders Circle family within The Bar Association of San Francisco. We are excited to become more involved with the local community through our connection to BASF. Venable is committed to an unparalleled level of giving, pro bono legal work and participation in the communities in which we live and work, including placing in the top five law firms nationally in charitable donations."

The Leader Circle provides access to intimate networking events, increased media and community visibility, and the chance to participate in the charitable organizations BASF aligns itself with. The pro bono team in San Francisco has already begun working with BASF to coordinate pro bono efforts and, through the Leader Circle, are able to take full advantage of the community networking opportunities as well.