Skadden's lawyers strongly believe in fulfilling the obligation to assist through pro bono work those individuals and groups unable to afford legal services. Skadden, Arps is a charter signatory to the American Bar Association Pro Bono Challenge, pledging to commit attorney time equivalent to at least three percent of the firm's billable hours to work on pro bono matters. In 1998, our New York office initiated two externships, one with the Legal Aid Society's Community Law Office and the other with Lawyers Alliance for New York. Each externship operates on a rotating basis, with an associate spending four months at one of these groups. The firm's Washington office had already initiated a similar externship with a six-month rotating service. Our attorneys (both litigators and non-litigators) represent individuals and organizations of limited means in matters including not-for-profit incorporations; Social Security claims; housing and government issues; the preparation of wills; real estate projects involving ownership for low-income tenants; criminal appeals; political asylum cases; divorces for battered women; and employment discrimination and unemployment cases. Our attorneys also counsel nonprofit charitable and cultural organizations and handle post-conviction representations in death penalty cases.
The firm's long-standing commitment to pro bono work has been based largely on the belief that such work is part of the basic role of lawyers as members of our profession and as officers of the court. In addition, our younger associates derive substantial benefits from pro bono projects, including: (i) one-on-one mentoring; (ii) the broadening of their legal experience outside their practice area; and (iii) the chance to see more immediate and direct results of their own efforts.
Our basic approach to pro bono work is to permit each lawyer to select his/her own pro bono matters, as long as they do not conflict with or contravene the interests of other clients. In appropriate instances, we have, as a firm, marshalled teams of lawyers to pursue larger matters which could have a great impact on shortcomings in the prevailing system.
To learn more about our pro bono practice, we invite you to view our Pro Bono Report, which highlights the work Skadden attorneys have done on behalf of clients in need.