American Bar Association Honors O’Melveny & Myers LLP with 2011 Pro Bono Publico Award for Outstanding Service
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2011 — O’Melveny & Myers LLP will be recognized with one of five 2011 Pro Bono Publico Awards from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service.
In 2010, attorneys at O’Melveny and Myers devoted more than 83,000 hours of legal representation to pro bono matters, averaging approximately 120 hours per lawyer. The pro bono work represented approximately 6.7 percent of the firm’s billable output and involved 75 percent of the firm’s lawyers. The firm will receive its award at noon on Aug. 8 at the Pro Bono Publico Awards Assembly Luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto.
“The difference between good and great lawyers is that great ones make a difference in society. That’s fundamentally what pro bono does. It is crucial to taking on this country’s appalling lack of access to justice, without which there is no rule of law,” said ABA President Stephen N. Zack. “These awardees represent the best of our profession. This award appropriately honors their work,” he continued.
President Zack will present the 2011 awards. The keynote speaker for the luncheon is David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
The Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged.
Since the 1930s, O’Melveny has been at the forefront of a growing pro bono movement in Los Angeles and was one of the first to charter a formal pro bono committee. In 2006, it launched its formal Pro Bono Initiative, solidifying the firm’s commitment to pro bono. In the past year, more than 61 percent of the firm’s attorneys reported doing more than 20 hours of pro bono work; the firm requires new attorneys to participate in at least one pro bono case in their first year at the firm.
O’Melveny has worked with a large number of pro bono organizations on cases in a multitude of areas including representing food stamp applicants and recipients — leading to a three-year consent decree establishing guidelines and deadlines with which Orange County, Calif., Social Services Agency must comply. The firm has also worked with Bet Tzedek to protect victims of human trafficking and obtain the recovery of substantial reparations from the German government for thousands of Holocaust survivors.
Additionally, O’Melveny has worked on immigration cases for a number of organizations and has written an extensive training manual to teach pro bono attorneys how to represent detained immigrants in bond hearings, enabling clients to escape the uncertainty of indefinite detention and rejoin their families.
The firm has also worked on cases to promote gay rights, to facilitate adoption proceedings, to promote the civil rights of prisoners, as well as cases in many other areas of law. The firm devotes thousands of hours each year to local prosecutors’ offices where budget constraints make it impossible for these offices to protect public safety concerns without assistance. The firm also actively involves its corporate clients in participating in its important pro bono work.
More information on the Pro Bono Publico Awards and the 2011 recipients is available here.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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