FAQ: Pro Bono & Working at Arent Fox

    Thu, 02/09/2012 - 22:15

    You don’t need to ask us to find out that Arent Fox is a recognized leader in pro bono work. In May, 2011, Arent Fox was recognized by The Washington Business Journal as one of the Top 25 Law Firms by Pro Bono Hours.

    Over 70 percent of Arent Fox lawyers do pro bono work each year, and in 2011, each lawyer averaged more than 45 hours of pro bono work. As a whole, the firm contributed nearly 18,000 pro bono hours.

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    Encouragement | Evaluation | Credit | Training | Associates | Support Staff | Summer Associates

    Does the firm encourage its lawyers to perform pro bono work?

    Arent Fox encourages lawyers to do pro bono work and allows each associate to receive credit for at least 150 hours of pro bono work per year. After 150 hours, associates can receive additional billable credit for pro bono matters that are specially approved by the Pro Bono Committee, the department manager and the Associate Evaluation Committee. About 10 percent of associates receive credit each year for spending more than 150 hours on pro bono work. Also, all five associates who sit on the Pro Bono Committee receive billable credit for 300 hours of pro bono work.

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    Do partners supervise and evaluate all pro bono matters? Are those evaluations taken into account in determining salary, bonuses, and advancement in the firm?

    Yes. Pro bono work and approved pro bono hours are credited, supervised by partners and evaluated in the formal annual evaluation process like all other work. Lawyers receive hours-related bonuses and merit bonuses based on outstanding pro bono work they have performed.

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    Does the firm give billable hour credit for pro bono work?

    Yes. We give each associate credit for at least 150 hours of pro bono work, with more credit available for specially approved matters.

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    Does the firm provide training to associates working on pro bono matters?

    Arent Fox lawyers are encouraged to attend DC Bar Pro Bono Program trainings and Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) pro bono training programs, which are offered at least once a month, on matters of interest to them. We also hold trainings for interested attorneys on each of the following programs at least annually, either at the firm or at other area firms: the Legal Aid Society of DC intake program serving indigent District residents with family law, landlord-tenant, Social Security disability and related problems; the Whitman-Walker Clinic Social Security Disability Appeals program; the Legal Aid Society of New York juvenile immigration program; the Monday Night Law Program of the ABCNY serving indigent New York residents on family law, landlord-tenant, bankruptcy and related matters; and the Women Empowered Against Violence Emergency Domestic Relations Project, helping victims of domestic violence secure emergency court protection from their abusers.

    Lawyers will occasionally hold training programs for pro bono legal work. Recently, two lawyers conducted a program on how to set up a nonprofit corporation, which included information on drafting corporate documents and completing and prosecuting an IRS nonprofit application form.

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    Can associates bring pro bono matters of interest to the firm?

    Yes. Many associates bring such matters to the firm.

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    Does the firm offer the use of support staff in handling pro bono matters?

    Yes. Pro bono matters are staffed with support personnel, just as billable matters.

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    Can summer associates do pro bono work while at the firm?

    Summer associates are encouraged to get involved in pro bono projects. We have developed a “pro bono rotation” program in which summer associates can spend several weeks concentrating on pro bono work. More than 40 percent of our 12 summer associates in 2010 performed pro bono work, for a total of 236 hours of pro bono work, an average of 20 hours per summer associate.

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