Propelled by Pro Bono
Posted Jul 2, 2007 9:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A new emphasis on pro bono helped boost Morgan, Lewis & Bockius 94 spots on American Lawyer’s pro bono rankings.
A talk by the firm’s chairman, Francis Milone, at a 2005 retreat jump-started the pro bono program, American Lawyer concludes. He told partners they need to rededicate themselves to pro bono and pledged to take on a case himself. Then he became something of an itinerant preacher for the cause, visiting the firm’s 11 largest offices to talk about the program.
Amanda Smith is the firm’s pro bono counsel. She has set up pro bono committees and put partners in charge at 11 offices. She also sends out a monthly newsletter listing lawyers who have devoted a minimum of 20 hours to pro bono.
The firm now ranks 22nd on the list, up from the 116th spot. Lawyers there spent an average of 67.1 hours each on pro bono matters in 2006, a 90 percent increase from 2002. At the same time, revenue per lawyer was $770,000.