Pro bono work is woven into how our firm plans, communicates, and operates. Annually, our attorneys dedicate their services to the issues that affect some of our most vulnerable community members in an effort to close the justice gap.
Schwabe attorneys provide substantial legal assistance to help pro bono clients per year get their homes back, navigate the path to citizenship, provide legislative and legal advocacy resources for survivors of domestic violence, and solve problems relating to individual civil rights. Our firm has pledged to commit at least 50% of our pro bono legal hours through the end of 2021 to defending our communities and helping victims of racial injustice. We are extremely proud to have attorneys and staff who support civic and charitable matters that reflect our culture and commitment to the community.
A legacy of pro bono work
In 1991, Schwabe founded and funded a legal clinic that primarily serves the Latinx population in east Multnomah County. Every year since, attorneys from our firm have volunteered their time to help these low-income clients.
Today, the program is coordinated in partnership with the Oregon Law Center, an independent nonprofit organization that provides staff assistance and Spanish translation services to our volunteer attorneys.
Of Schwabe’s involvement, Marisa Samuelson, the managing attorney of Oregon Law Center’s Portland office, states: “The clients who are placed with the pro bono clinic are non-English speaking immigrants who struggle to pay for even basic necessities like food and housing. For them, accessing legal assistance is a significant barrier. When an attorney from Schwabe represents a client in the clinic and reaches a favorable result, not only does this benefit that client, but it levels the playing field so that all parties, regardless of their circumstances, have access to justice.”
We also have a long legacy of pro bono work in Seattle supporting the Tenant Law Center, formerly known as the Legal Action Center. Our Seattle attorneys work on a wide range of pro bono efforts, from political asylum cases with local immigration clinics to civil rights cases with the ACLU of Washington. Additionally, many Seattle attorneys perform work through the King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics.
Pro bono in our communities
It isn’t merely our responsibility as legal professionals to provide services to those in need; it is an honor and responsibility that we do not take lightly. We live this in our everyday lives by working with organizations like the Lewis & Clark Law School’s Criminal Justice Reform Clinic’s Ramos Project to provide legal assistance to people seeking post-conviction relief and KairosPDX, an education nonprofit focused on transforming education through a model built on love and inclusion that elevates the voices of historically underserved children, families, and their communities. A full list of the community organizations we work with can be found in our 2020 Pro Bono Report.
Our pro bono mission statement
Schwabe’s Pro Bono Committee improves access to justice through volunteer efforts providing legal services to the underserved and disadvantaged. Our pro bono efforts address critical problems, mitigate societal inequities, and maintain our firm’s long-standing tradition of contributing to the well-being of the communities in which we practice and live.