DLA Piper is pleased to announce that it will recognize those at the firm who worked on pro bono efforts related to veterans’ legal issues, the DC Affordable Law Firm, climate change negotiations and the launch of a Black and Indigenous Business Law Clinic with its annual Justice Seymour Simon Award.
The award, which was created in 2007 in honor of the late Justice Seymour Simon, a former DLA Piper partner and Illinois Supreme Court Justice, is awarded annually to recognize outstanding pro bono work by a team or teams of lawyers and staff at the firm.
The four projects that will be recognized with this year’s award include:
- Veterans’ Task Force: In 2021, the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) convened a Veterans’ Task Force to address legal issues veterans often face upon leaving active duty that create barriers to a successful transition to civilian life. DLA Piper volunteers supported the Task Force, providing key contributions to its report and dedicating more than 120 hours to the project in 2021. The report addresses civil legal problems and the reasons behind veterans’ legal needs. It also highlights model programs that provide effective, integrated services to veterans, offers tips for replicating those programs and provides recommendations for engaging lawyers to provide pro bono legal assistance. Finally, it includes specific recommendations to legal aid providers, law firms and corporate law departments, government officials and Congress.
- DC Affordable Law Firm: In 2015, DLA Piper, Georgetown University Law Center and Arent Fox LLP together created the DC Affordable Law Firm (DCALF), a nonprofit law firm located in Washington, DC. DCALF’s lawyers provide affordable, high-quality legal services to low-income DC residents who do not qualify for free legal aid but cannot afford to hire a lawyer. Each year, DCALF selects Georgetown Law and University of the District of Columbia Law graduates for 15-month fellowships, working mainly in the areas of family law, landlord/tenant law and immigration law. DLA Piper provides a 12-week training program for the fellows, and DLA Piper and Arent Fox lawyers mentor the fellows. Additionally, DLA Piper often co-counsels with DCALF on cases. In 2021, DLA Piper volunteers dedicated nearly 700 hours to work for DCALF.
- Assisting Georgia with climate change negotiations: New Perimeter, DLA Piper's nonprofit affiliate that provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions, assists the Government of Georgia, supporting the country’s participation in international climate change negotiations. A team of DLA Piper lawyers provides research, advice and on-the-ground support at key UN climate change negotiations, including the yearly UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP). Since 2012, more than 40 lawyers from 15 global DLA Piper offices have participated in these efforts, ensuring that Georgia’s interests are represented. New Perimeter’s efforts have helped raise Georgia’s profile at international negotiations and assisted in addressing structural disadvantages. DLA Piper is the only law firm in the world representing a sovereign nation within the UNFCCC process and spent more than 900 hours on this project in 2021.
- Black and Indigenous Business Law Clinic: DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s newly launched pro bono Black and Indigenous Business Law Clinic provides qualifying Black and Indigenous founders with practical and timely corporate and commercial legal advice. The Clinic’s services, which are currently offered in British Columbia and will be expanding across the country in 2022, focus on common legal issues encountered by entrepreneurs and small business owners, including incorporation, structuring, employment matters, e-commerce issues and basic commercial matters. The Clinic also runs business law education seminars to help first-time business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs understand some of the risks they should keep in mind as they start or grow their businesses. The team has worked on a wide range of files this year, contributing approximately 400 hours to the cause.