We believe that freely sharing our talents with individuals and the community makes us better lawyers, better people, and a better firm.
Foley Hoag is deeply committed to pro bono. Our pro bono program has been a hallmark of the firm since our representation of the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit to desegregate the Boston public schools. We encourage our lawyers to engage in direct pro bono work and to participate in the community through other avenues such as board involvement and charitable organizations. In a typical year we handle approximately 400 matters in and contribute more than 24,000 hours to our pro bono program. Likewise, our Summer Program includes numerous opportunities for Summer Associates to perform pro bono work.
Key areas we address on a pro bono basis include domestic violence, LGBTQ rights, housing, environmental protection, disability rights, health care, prisoners’ rights, judicial independence, voting rights, immigration/political asylum, taxation, and education/charter schools. We also advise nonprofits, inner-city businesses, artists, and domestic and international inventors. For a complete description of our work for clients, click here.
Foley Hoag has been at the forefront of efforts to provide quality legal representation to disadvantaged and disfavored individuals and groups whose civil rights and liberties are threatened. For many years, Foley Hoag lawyers have engaged in major litigation involving reproductive rights, the rights of disabled persons, racial justice, LGBTQ rights and voting rights. Other lawyers represent individuals seeking political asylum and protection from domestic abuse. In addition, Foley Hoag regularly assists a variety of non-profit organizations as well as some small businesses in economically-disadvantaged areas that cannot afford legal representation and where the payment of legal fees would significantly interfere with the organization’s mission. The firm accepts cases from more than 50 legal services and pro bono referral organizations and provides pro bono assistance directly to more than 200 non-profit organizations involved in charitable causes; environmental protection; civil rights; and protection of women, children, people in the LGBTQ community, and persons with various disabilities.
Awards and Honors
The firm and individual lawyers are frequently recognized for their pro bono work. Here is a sampling:
- Foley Hoag received the 2019 Thurgood Marshall Award from the Boston Bar Association (BBA), honoring our pro bono work in the greater Boston area.
- The District of Columbia Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services honored the firm's Washington, D.C. office at the 40 at 50 Judicial Pro Bono Recognition breakfast, for having 40 percent of its lawyers contributing a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services in 2018.
- Foley Hoag received the distinguished 2018 Keeper of the Flame Award from Lawyers for Civil Rights (formerly the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice). The award honors Foley Hoag for courage and visionary leadership in helping launch the Lawyers’ Committee in 1968.
- Fourteen attorneys in Foley Hoag’s Washington, D.C. office have been named to the 2018 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, which acknowledges attorneys who have performed 50 hours or more of pro bono work.
- Foley Hoag attorney Jeremy Meisinger received the 2018 Victim Rights Law Center’s Shining Star Award for his longstanding commitment to the organization, compassion and sensitivity in his casework, and deep understanding of the complex legal issues involved in sexual violence
- Foley Hoag attorneys Neil Austin, Chris Hart and Kelly Caiazzo were named recipients of the Friend of Justice Award, given by the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL) in December 2017.
- The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice has honored several Foley Hoag associates with their Pro Bono Civil Rights Award: Kristyn Bunce DeFilipp and Caroline Donovan in 2014, Amanda Vendig in 2016, and Michael Hoven in 2017.
- Vault’s ranking of the most prestigious law firms in the country, based on the assessments of lawyers at peer firms, named Foley Hoag #6 in its Pro Bono Category in 2014, #2 in 2016, and in the top 25 in 2017 and 2018.
- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has annually recognized Foley Hoag as a member of its Pro Bono Honor Roll for our “extraordinary commitment” to pro bono work from the program's inception in 2010 through 2017.
- Foley Hoag was included in Law360's Top Pro Bono Firms of 2016 series, recognizing 20 firms that committed a significant number of attorney hours and secured major victories in high-profile matters in 2015-2016.
- Foley Hoag received The Victim Rights Law Center Champion Award in September 2016.
- Pro Bono managing attorney Rebecca Cabazon received The Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys Leadership Award in October 2016.
- Foley Hoag received the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Award in June 2015 in recognition of its efforts to strengthen the global rule of law, support the global social entrepreneurship movement and improve the lives of the world's poor and disenfranchised.