Firm launches pro bono podcast and boosts social, racial, and economic justice measures
PHILADELPHIA – Oct. 27, 2020 – The Philadelphia office of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP celebrates the 2020 American Bar Association’s National Pro Bono Week reflecting on social justice wins and raising awareness of the firm’s just-launched Pro Bono podcast.
“We don’t wait until one time a year to become invested in the needs of our community. That is a 365-day commitment for this firm and this office,” said Curtis B. Toll, managing shareholder for the Philadelphia office. “Rather, Pro Bono Week is when we spend time reflecting and assessing what we’re doing and how we can do it better, and celebrating the wins earned along the way.”
In 2020, those wins have been considerable in the pro bono and social justice space:
- The year opened with the team seeing its efforts lead to the release of Theophalis “Bilaal” Wilson after nearly three decades of false imprisonment. The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas vacated Wilson’s 1993 triple homicide conviction after GT, working with nonprofit public interest law firm Phillips Black, uncovered instances of prosecutorial misconduct, false witness testimony, ineffective assistance of counsel, and Brady violations. The story headlines the firm’s newest podcast, Good in Practice, debuting today. The series gives an insider’s view on pro bono service and stories and is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.
- The office ran a summer-long fundraiser for the Bread and Roses Community Fund’s Phoebus Criminal Justice Reform Initiative, further aiding grassroots organizations supporting justice-involved residents and their families citywide.
- The firm received the 2020 Trailblazing Partner of the Year award from Philadelphia VIP, for exemplary commitment to the organization’s mission to deliver pro bono civil-related legal services to city residents, nonprofits, and small businesses that otherwise could not afford them.
- The team continues its work with Phoebus Criminal Justice Initiative recipients, conducting a workshop exploring common legal concerns faced by growing grassroots organizations, such as revamping structure, employment challenges, insurance needs, lobbying lessons and more.
- Greenberg Traurig joined the Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity’s Pardon Project, an initiative to boost the number of applications from vetted and pardon-eligible city residents to the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons. With criminal records historically sabotaging strides toward gainful employment, suitable housing, and educational attainment, increasing the number of viable pardon applicants stands to positively impact revenues for families, the city, and Commonwealth, according to the Economy League of Philadelphia.
- The Philadelphia office recorded 100% participation in the firm’s associate pro bono program, designed to ensure that junior lawyers participate in legal and civic activities that support vulnerable populations.
- The firm continues its support for Equal Justice Works, whose firm-sponsored fellows count Community Legal Services and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia among recent local placements.
Since its founding in 1997, Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia office has cultivated relationships with local legal organizations that support vulnerable and marginalized people seeking justice. Those partners include the Philadelphia Public Interest Law Center, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Philadelphia VIP, Women’s Law Project, Women Against Abuse and many others.
In addition, following the slayings of African Americans Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others plus ensuing protests, the firm established a Social, Economic, and Racial Justice Plan. Greenberg Traurig committed $5 million over the next five years to support programs that address the causes and effects of systematic racism in society, and seek to provide impoverished communities and individuals economic, social, and cultural rights.
“As lawyers, we are ethically bound to engage in pro bono service,” Toll said. “But as citizens, we are morally committed, because the result can change the lives of our neighbors. As lawyers, we have the power to do that. And at GT, we always will exercise that as vigorously as we do for any other client we serve.”
About Greenberg Traurig Philadelphia: Founded in 1997, Greenberg Traurig’s Philadelphia office is home to some 50 attorneys whose practices include Real Estate, Public Finance, Litigation, Labor & Employment, Environmental, Government Law & Policy, Restructuring & Bankruptcy, White Collar Defense & Special Investigations, Corporate & Securities, Intellectual Property, Immigration & Compliance, Investment Regulation, and Tax. The Philadelphia office represents clients in the manufacturing, health care, real estate, energy, financial, and insurance industries, state and local governments, professional service, and energy firms and individuals.
About Greenberg Traurig’s Pro Bono Program: Greenberg Traurig lawyers across the firm provide pro bono legal services to the indigent and working poor, as well as to numerous civic and charitable organizations dedicated to assisting them. The firm focuses its resources on specialized and interrelated issues including civil rights and affirmative action, anti-human trafficking, family law matters, criminal appeals, immigration and political asylum, housing, and homelessness.
About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT), has approximately 2200 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certified. Web: www.gtlaw.com