RICHMOND, Va. — June 9, 2010 — Hunton & Williams LLP is pleased to announce that June 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of its Church Hill pro bono office. The firm broke new ground in the legal profession in 1990 when it established an office in Richmond's Church Hill area, one of the city’s oldest and most impoverished neighborhoods. Since its founding, the busy office has helped more than 6,500 underserved clients, who otherwise would be unable to afford quality legal assistance.
The Church Hill office owes it existence in large part to Hunton & Williams partner George Hettrick, who chairs the firm's Pro Bono Leadership Committee and who has served as Church Hill supervising attorney and head of the firm's pro bono practice for more than 20 years.
Hettrick credits an Episcopal priest for first suggesting a community pro bono office in the city of Richmond—an idea that tied perfectly with the firm’s goals of making legal services more widely available to all citizens and offering Hunton & Williams lawyers the opportunity to serve.
Nearly 100 Hunton & Williams lawyers now represent clients at the Church Hill office on a rotating schedule each year. For a modest fee, which the firm donates to charity, these volunteer lawyers and one of the firm’s two Pro Bono Fellows provide legal services to Richmonders who make too little to afford representation, but too much to qualify for a Legal Aid attorney. Areas of focus include family law, household and real estate matters, and guardianships.
The Church Hill office's unique concept of serving low-income neighborhood residents who do not qualify for legal aid led to the firm’s receipt of the 1999 American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award. In 2009, office founder George Hettrick was honored with The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to pro bono service.
The Church Hill office is one of three pro bono offices established by the firm. The Southside Legal Center has been providing services to low-income clients in southeast Atlanta, Georgia since 1995. In addition, the firm's newest pro bono office in Charlottesville, Virginia—created in a 2005 partnership with the University of Virginia School of Law—provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence and immigrants seeking asylum from persecution.
Hunton & Williams, recipient of the 2009 Pro Bono Institute's John H. Pickering Award, continues to lead the way in community service in the United States, by donating nearly 70,000 hours to pro bono service in its completed fiscal year ending March 31. This represents 5.13 percent of the firm’s gross billable hours and commemorates 16 continuous years of meeting or exceeding the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge of donating at least 3 percent of its annual billable hours to pro bono service. One hundred percent of the firm's full-time U.S. lawyers participated in pro bono projects to help meet this goal.
About Hunton & Williams LLP
Hunton & Williams LLP provides legal services to corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals, as well as to a broad array of other entities. Since our establishment more than a century ago, Hunton & Williams has grown to more than 900 lawyers serving clients in 100 countries from 18 offices around the world. While our practice has a strong industry focus on energy, financial services and life sciences, the depth and breadth of our experience extends to more than 100 separate practice areas, including bankruptcy and creditors rights, commercial litigation, corporate transactions and securities law, intellectual property, international and government relations, regulatory law, products liability, and privacy and information management.