Impact Projects

Launched in 2012, the Impact Project is a cutting-edge collaboration that combines Skadden’s experience with that of leading legal aid organizations and in-house lawyers to achieve a critical pro bono mass. The first-of-its-kind initiative Impact Projectaims to make pro bono outreach more efficient by creating partnerships where each group can bring their unique skillset to the table.

This unique endeavor frequently has been recognized, including by the Pro Bono Institute, which awarded Skadden the 2014 John H. Pickering Award, and the “Innovative Lawyers” report, which gave Skadden the top score in its social responsibility category for our work on this project.

Palo Alto

Today’s teens must navigate complex issues relating to appropriate physical contact, cyberbullying and distribution of electronic content. In the wake of many high-profile tragedies involving teens and social media, Skadden’s Palo Alto office created an Impact Project that provides Bay Area high school students with legal guidance and resources to respond positively and effectively to illegal behavior. Since its launch in 2013, “Know Your Rights and Know the Law: Sex, Bullying and Social Media” has provided approximately 14,000 Bay Area high school students with legal and practical information regarding the sharing of sensitive information on social media. In cooperation with the nonprofits Legal Advocates for Children and Youth and Legal Services for Children, Skadden attorneys are paired with in-house counsel and other legal professionals to take the interactive tutorial to high school classrooms. In 2016, we expanded the initiative to target the parents of teens, as well as educators and other adults who are interested in the issues raised by teens’ use — and misuse — of social media and technology. In 2018, the Silicon Valley Business Journal recognized the program with one of its Community Impact Awards, which spotlight individuals and organizations making a significant change in the Silicon Valley.


In 2014, our Impact Project efforts expanded overseas. Skadden’s London office, partnering with some of the most accomplished legal services agencies and international organisations, identified three areas where they can be most impactful: domestic violence, welfare benefits and public international law. In 2016, the office’s Domestic Violence Impact Project Group, in partnership with pro bono lawyers from five other law firms, helped launch a new Family Law and Domestic Violence Advice Clinic in Bethnal Green, London, which is jointly run by Account3 and the Legal Advice Centre (University House). The Welfare Benefits Group also partners with University House to provide ongoing assistance to residents of East London to bring appeals in relation to the rejection of Employment and Support Allowance claims. The Public International Law Group’s expertise includes human rights and advisory work for international organisations. 

My work at the Landlord Tenant Resource Center ... constantly gives me perspective on my life and serves as a reminder to stay grateful and centered on my day-to-day. — Katherine Nakazono, associate

Los Angeles

For its Impact Project, the Los Angeles office offers a sexual and cyber crimes awareness program for local high schools titled “Sexual and Cyber Crimes: Your Legal Rights and Obligations.” The goal of the program is to educate teens and tweens on their legal rights and obligations in respect of sexual and cyber crimes, and to empower victims and bystanders of criminal conduct to act and to deter unlawful conduct. The program addresses important topics such as the elements of sexual consent, accomplice liability, and specific dangers posed by social media, including sexting, cyberbullying and cyberstalking.  

New York

The New York office Impact Project structure is tailored to the office’s larger size and greater number of practice groups. Many of the practice groups have selected to align with one of the legal services organizations or court-based projects that the firm partners with on pro bono work in order to develop increased experience in selected areas of law. This approach also increases our community building around pro bono work. The New York office also frequently partners with its corporate clients on clinic-based opportunities focused on immigration issues, assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs, and providing advice to artists. One of the New York office signature projects is its monthly Military Mondays clinic. In partnership with several in-house legal departments and a New York legal services organization, attorneys provide information about social security benefits and housing advice to veterans. 

Washington, D.C.

Attorneys in our Washington, D.C. office launched our very first Impact Project on September 24, 2012, to provide desperately needed pro bono legal assistance on a broad scale to low-income children and families in Washington, D.C. Focusing on guardianship, housing and domestic violence issues, the firm partners with three premier local legal aid organizations — Bread for the City, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and The Children’s Law Center, respectively — to support these efforts. We also partner with in-house counsel from Cisco Systems, LivingSocial and Northrop Grumman. Hundreds of families and children have received assistance through this unique collaboration.