Lawyers at Hunton & Williams get involved in pro bono work because it is the right thing to do. Because it strengthens our skills and our communities. With more than 750 lawyers in 19 US and international offices, our pro bono practice continues to expand into new communities and causes, cultivating numerous opportunities to partner for the public good.
Our tradition of pro bono service is well recognized. As a signatory member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge©, our US offices have met or exceeded the goal of providing more than 3% of our billable time to pro bono service since 1993. We were recognized in 2009 with the Pro Bono Institute Pickering Award for the extraordinary record of 99% lawyer participation in the preceding year. In 1999, the firm was awarded the American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award for its noteworthy contributions in extending legal service to the poor and disadvantaged.
We live out this tradition of excellence every day. Through our two neighborhood pro bono offices, our lawyers volunteer to represent the working poor in various family law matters. This groundbreaking model for providing pro bono service originated in 1990 with the Church Hill office in Richmond, Virginia and was awarded the American Bar Association's Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access in 2003.
Recognitions aside, the true testament to the importance of pro bono at Hunton & Williams is the continual growth in lawyer commitment. Each year since 2009, 100% of our full-time US lawyers participated in pro bono projects and, last fiscal year, lawyers across the full firm donated more than 42,000 hours of service to low-income and charitable clients.
George H. Hettrick
Following a 25-year career as a corporate finance lawyer, George H. Hettrick took on the challenge of leading the firm’s pro bono practice on a full-time basis. One of his first contributions was to institute pro bono committees in the firm's offices to coordinate efforts in their local communities. Under George’s leadership, the firm has taken its pro bono activities in many new directions, including the dedication of thousands of hours to our veterans; representation in international child abduction litigation and in asylum cases; involvement in children and victims’ rights; and assistance for nonprofits across the country.
George’s proudest accomplishments include the creation of two neighborhood pro bono offices for the firm (in the Church Hill area of Richmond, Virginia, and in Charlottesville, Virginia, in partnership with the University of Virginia); and the establishment of two full-time pro bono fellowships for lawyers whose time is entirely committed to pro bono work.
In 2009, Hettrick was honored with The American Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award for his vision to open the Church Hill office and his leadership as the firm’s pro bono partner.
Pro Bono Leadership Committee
- Ian Band, Washington, DC
- Kevin Hull, Washington, DC
- Andrew Kamensky, New York
- Ed Fernandes, Houston
- Dan Garner, Dallas
- Mike Goldman, Richmond
- Bob Hahn, Charlotte
- Chip Nunley, Richmond
- Kim MacLeod, Firmwide Pro Bono Chair, Richmond
- Greta Griffith, Atlanta
- Greg Stillman, Norfolk
- Alexandrea Young, Los Angeles, San Francisco
Citizens in Our Local Communities
Hunton & Williams broke new ground in the legal profession in 1990 when it developed an innovative approach for delivering volunteer legal services by establishing the first neighborhood pro bono office in the Church Hill area of Richmond, Virginia. Twenty years later, the Church Hill office is still going strong. Since its founding, the office has helped more than 6,500 underserved clients who otherwise would have been unable to afford quality legal assistance with family and housing law matters and guardianships. Also, in July of 2005, Hunton & Williams, in partnership with the University of Virginia School of Law, opened a neighborhood pro bono office on the campus of the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Representing Veterans Affairs
With the rise in veterans' disability appeals in the last five years, the firm partners with the National Veterans Legal Service Program (NVLSP) to represent veterans in claims against the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This ongoing, firm-wide project has enlisted the assistance of more than 100 lawyers and staff members who work with veterans and active duty personnel seeking military and veteran benefits. Many of the cases involve older veterans seeking legal assistance related to longstanding claims against the VA. The firm is also involved with the NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors program, which is dedicated to ensuring the US government honors its commitment to active duty personnel by providing the federal benefits they have earned through their service. Recently, the firm has taken on Physical Disability Review Board (PDRB) cases to ensure that veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan receive the correct ratings from their service branches, guaranteeing benefits for their families.
Immigration and Asylum
Hunton & Williams represented 19 clients in 2010 in obtaining asylum or post-asylum benefits (travel documents, green cards, immigrant visas for relatives, etc.) Our Richmond lawyers represent detained and non-detained asylees in removal proceedings through our partnership with UVA’s law school. Our Richmond lawyers also represent many unaccompanied minors (“Special Immigrant Juveniles”) in obtaining state guardianship, employment authorization, and green cards. In New York, Hunton & Williams lawyers have special experience in Tibetan asylum cases. A dozen of our DC lawyers, paralegals, and staff volunteer several afternoons a week at the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, screening immigrant victims of domestic violence under U visa regulations and the Violence Against Women Act. In DC, Hunton lawyers also helped HIV-positive immigrants get waivers for green cards and immigrant visas; filed asylum appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals; and helped prominent pro-democracy activists from Iran and Uzbekistan who did not want to apply for asylum obtain nonimmigrant status and green cards as “Aliens of Extraordinary Ability.” Hunton lawyers lead a consortium of groups in advocating with USCIS for Haiti immigration relief after the January 2010 earthquake. Finally, the firm represents many nonprofits – charter/private schools, conflict-prevention groups, arts groups, immigration legal offices, etc. – in serving, hiring, sponsoring and educating immigrants.