Baker & Daniels LLP is the leader among Indiana-based law firms in the 2009 pro bono report published in the The American Lawyer in collaboration with the Pro Bono Institute.
Baker & Daniels is ranked 125th in the U.S. for its pro bono services, 18 places higher than last year and 32 spots above two years ago. According to the 2009 report, Baker & Daniels lawyers averaged 28 pro bono hours — nine more than the previous year — and 33 percent of the firm's lawyers donated more than 20 hours of pro bono service — 10 percent more than the previous year.
Those two figures are used to rank U.S. law firms on the legal services they provide to organizations or individuals that could not otherwise afford them. The country's 200 highest-grossing firms are surveyed in the annual report, which appears in the July issue of The American Lawyer. Only work that protected civil or public rights or addressed the needs of people with limited means qualified as pro bono.
"The continuing rise in our national ranking for pro bono and public interest work is a testament to the commitment by the firm and dedication by so many individuals at the firm," said Carl Pebworth, a litigation lawyer and chair of Baker & Daniels' committee on pro bono and public service. "Our professionals are working diligently on a number of ongoing projects and continue to explore and develop new initiatives that provide access to justice for all."
Although the national rankings only include lawyers, Baker & Daniels' pro bono and public interest work also includes contributions from paralegals, summer associates and other administrative staff. The firm's legal and non-legal staffs collaborate across practice groups and offices on pro bono and public interest work. Individuals at Baker & Daniels also volunteer time on nonlegal work for charities, boards of nonprofit organizations, bar associations and community service, although none of those are calculated into the national rankings.
Baker & Daniels professionals are currently involved in dozens of pro bono projects, engagements and cases impacting communities, states, the nation and the world. The firm's volunteers represent and advocate for individuals and organizations, including:
- Domestic violence victims;
- At-risk children, individuals and families of modest means requiring in-court representation in a range of civil litigation contexts through existing legal service programs and clinics;
- Veterans seeking assistance to receive benefits or appealing denial of benefits;
- Deployed national guard personnel and their families;
- Minority businesses;
- Patients benefiting from advocacy for medical and legal services;
- Individuals requiring immigration and political asylum assistance;
- Pro se defendants before federal and state appellate courts;
- Capital litigation defendants;
- GLBT organizations and individuals;
- Low-income seniors requiring end-of-life documentation;
- Holocaust survivors seeking reparations;
- Organizations serving low-income individuals and communities;
- Youth sports programs; and
- Artists of modest means requiring legal assistance and community arts organizations.