Anne Geraghty Helms

Anne Geraghty Helms

Director & Counsel for US Pro Bono Programs

Anne Geraghty Helms is Director and Counsel for US Pro Bono Programs and is responsible for helping to develop, lead and manage the firm's pro bono program in the United States.

Anne concentrates her own practice on juvenile and criminal justice issues and, since joining DLA Piper in 2006, has helped to develop, and has herself worked on, a number of initiatives in this area. Through the Chicago office's signature Juvenile Justice Project, she successfully defended a 15-year-old girl who had been charged with attempted murder, helped to secure the release and acquittal of a young man who was tried as an adult and received a lengthy prison sentence when he was only 15, and worked with trial teams from DLA Piper that obtained not guilty verdicts on behalf of two high school seniors charged with serious crimes. She contributed to From Juvenile Court to the Classroom: The Need for Effective Child Advocacy, a report released by the firm which examines the issues children face when they are transferred from detention back into the school system, and was the principal author of a report released by the Illinois Coalition for the Fair Sentencing of Youth in 2008, Categorically Less Culpable: Children Sentenced to Life Without Possibility of Parole in Illinois. She also has worked with community groups around criminal records issues and particularly, the expungement of juvenile records.

Although principally focused on juvenile and criminal justice issues, Anne also has worked on a range of initiatives that touch on pro bono and access to justice issues. She helped to found and manages the firm's free legal clinic in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago, co-drafted the 2012 Report of the Legal Services Corporation's Pro Bono Task Force, and has presented at several law schools in Mexico City on pro bono and juvenile justice as part of the firm's New Perimeter project focused on helping to strengthen pro bono culture in Mexico.

Anne was a member of the 2012 Class of Leadership Greater Chicago and sits on the Georgetown Law Chicago Alumni Council and the Chicago Committee of Human Rights Watch.

Bar admissionsDistrict of ColumbiaIllinois


Past representations also include:

  • Obtaining T-visa relief for a client who forced by her employer into domestic servitude
  • Representation of a stalking victim in obtaining a protective order
  • Representation of domestic violence survivors in applying for immigration relief under the Violence Against Women Act
  • Representation of a nonprofit organization in a small claims action
  • Representation of an individual with a criminal history in obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct for employment purposes
  • Helping to represent a young Iraq war veteran suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder who was charged in federal court with second-degree murder
  • Working with a federal trial team that successfully challenged Maryland's lethal injection procedures
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center 2003

    magna cum laude

  • B.S., University of Wisconsin 1998



  • Recipient, Appleseed and Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, Pillars of Justice Award (2015)
  • Recipient, LAF Champion for Justice Award (2012)
  • Leadership Greater Chicago (Class of 2012)



  • Panelist, Do Legal Clinics Work? Creating Pro Bono Clinics that Serve Both Volunteers and Clients Well, Equal Justice Conference (2014, 2015)
  • Panelist, White House Forum on Increasing Access to Justice (2014)
  • Panelist, The Changing Face of Poverty, Pro Bono Institute, Washington, DC (2013)
  • Presenter, Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors Meeting (2012)
  • Panelist, Challenges and Opportunities in International Operations, University of Texas at Austin School of Law 29th Annual Nonprofit Organizations Institute (2012)
  • Panelist, National Legal Aid & Defender Association annual conference (2012 & 2014)

Media Mentions

Media Mentions

Clerk Experience

  • Honorable Marvin E. Aspen, US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Prior Experience

Anne has been profoundly committed to pro bono work throughout her legal career. She comes to DLA Piper from a large international firm, where she was a litigation associate in that firm's Washington, DC office. While there, Anne was active in the firm's pro bono program. In 2004, she helped represent a young Iraq war veteran suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder who was charged in federal court with second-degree murder. Anne also was part of a federal trial team that challenged Maryland's lethal injection procedures as cruel and unusual, and she co-authored a brief for the Maryland Supreme Court which argued that the state’s lethal injection procedures violated the Administrative Procedures Act – an argument that ultimately was successful in bringing Maryland's capital punishment system to a halt.