Pro Bono

Pro Bono

The scale, reach, success, and resources of Jones Day permit us to give back in numerous ways to the communities in which we work and live. Principal among those contributions is our pro bono work. 

Constitutional Policing and Civil Justice Reform, Standing Together

At the direction of the Managing Partner, the Constitutional Policing and Civil Justice Reform ("CPR") Initiative was created following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020, to demonstrate the Firm's commitment "to advancing the rule of law governing policing in the minority communities." Underscoring the necessity of this important work, the Managing Partner noted that "an effective police force—one that is widely respected as honest, fair, and evenhanded both in protecting communities and enforcing order—is essential to the survival of any system built on the rule of law."

The CPR Initiative is engaging in local and nationally coordinated efforts to achieve cultural and systemic changes in policing practices in minority communities throughout the United States, with an emphasis on the African American community. Specifically, the Task Force and the hundreds of lawyers supporting them are:

  • Coordinating efforts at the local and national levels to impact systemic reform in policing practices, policies, procedures, and culture; 
    Undertaking impact litigation designed to challenge unconstitutional policing practices, and to achieve systemic reform resulting in a decrease in excessive use of force, improved transparency and accountability, and standardized policing practices;
  • Exploring opportunities to engage in reform of police accountability through addressing issues with police union contracts and arbitration proceedings related to police discipline;
  • Educating communities, stakeholders, local government leaders, community activists, and our corporate clients on issues related to reform to help bring key parties together to move toward meaningful reform; and
  • Engaging corporate clients in strategic partnerships.

For more information, see these Jones Day webinars:

Transforming the Minneapolis Police Department: A Collaborative Approach to Driving Systemic and Cultural Change

Transforming the Minneapolis Police Department: Reviewing the Minneapolis Police Contract – and Comparing It With Those of Other Cities

Reignite with IBM SkillsBuild

Jones Day has joined IBM in its "Reignite" project, a global program that provides free consulting, education, and training to small businesses, nonprofits, and job seekers as they emerge from the economic disruption of COVID-19. The project is designed to reignite skills, the workforce, and local economies through pro bono deployment of IBM talent and technology in collaboration with industry partners to help jobseekers upskill and reskill into "new collar" jobs; to make small businesses and nonprofits more efficient and resilient; and to thereby create lasting and meaningful social impact in communities throughout the United States and Europe.

As an industry partner, more than 100 Jones Day lawyers are providing hundreds of hours of legal education and training on business-related issues that will be delivered through virtual seminars and SkillsBuild, IBM's new digital learning platform. The Firm is also helping to design the offering and to connect Reignite to nonprofit, workforce, and community economic development organizations with which Jones Day works around the world.

Through this network of companies, nonprofits, and workforce organizations that Jones Day is helping to create, Reignite will provide free consulting programs, training, and online tools to benefit thousands of small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and job seekers around the world. The program began its rollout in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy in the fall of 2020.

Unaccompanied Children and Laredo Projects

Our representation of refugees, both children and adults, illustrates the innovative approach Jones Day takes to tackling a significant issue and fighting fiercely for access to justice and the rule of law. 

Since 2014, through the Unaccompanied Children Project, Jones Day has represented more than 250 unaccompanied minors and mothers with their children, many of whom were detained by the U.S. government after fleeing gang violence and severe abuse in Central America. In every case that has been fully resolved thus far, our lawyers have won favorable outcomes for our clients. Since this project began, 588 Jones Day lawyers from across the United States have participated and have billed more than 83,000 hours to this project. 

In early 2017, Jones Day expanded this work to our Laredo Project, a full-time effort providing legal information and representation to refugees, primarily consisting of women and families, detained on the border. The Laredo Project now includes a full-time trial site operation in Laredo, Texas; hundreds of trial teams working remotely across the country; and a team of talented appellate lawyers. 

Until recently, each week we brought in volunteer teams of six to eight lawyers and two translators on the ground in Laredo, supported by a full-time staff of four paralegals and two lawyers. These teams conducted "Know Your Rights" presentations and provided information about the asylum process to primarily women refugees fleeing gender persecution, gang violence, or political persecution in Latin America. In addition, our teams prepared detainees for their "credible fear" interviews with asylum officers and represented refugees with colorable claims for protection under U.S. asylum laws. Jones Day has educated thousands of detained women about the asylum process and their legal rights and has represented more than 300 clients as part of the Laredo Project. 

The Laredo Project Today 

Conditions on the border remain dynamic, and thus the Laredo Project has evolved to meet the needs of the moment. Jones Day continues to provide legal services to migrants detained or released into the United States who are fleeing persecution in their home countries and seeking asylum in the United States. Now, however, migrants are subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols ("MPP").  

Under MPP, also known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy, migrants seeking asylum or other fear-based relief in the United States—who either present at the border or are apprehended near the border—are returned to Mexico. They then await their immigration court proceedings in Mexico, rather than in the United States. The migrants receive a Notice to Appear in U.S. Immigration Court on a specific future date and, on that date, return to the U.S.–Mexico border, where they are brought to an MPP court on the U.S. side of the border for their hearing.  

MPP proceedings are expedited. They take place in a series of tents, shipping container buildings, and temporary hard-sided buildings, where hearings are conducted via videoconference with judges across the United States. The Laredo MPP court is located beside the Rio Grande and just outside our office location.  

The migrants' extended presence in Mexico and expedited court appearances across the border in the United States present a number of logistical hurdles that make securing legal assistance difficult. Thus, without Jones Day's involvement, the migrants we serve would almost certainly have no access to legal counsel in pursuing the protections of U.S. asylum laws.  

In the first five months of our work with migrants under MPP, Jones Day engaged almost 100 new clients for representation through their merits hearings, and conducted assessments and provided information to more than 1,000 migrants. We have already completed 41 trials and succeeded in obtaining asylum or similar relief in 93% of these cases.  

Overall, through the Laredo Project, Jones Day has provided Know Your Rights presentations to more than 7,500 migrants, provided representation to more than 400 migrants, and conducted more than 70 trials across the country and in the MPP courts. Between March 2017 and December 2019, Jones Day incurred 217,933 hours of time on the Laredo Project with 1,091 lawyers, law clerks, and support personnel representing every U.S. office and Mexico City, as well as all 30 practices and departments. 

We also have welcomed the participation of dozens of in-house counsel from some of the Firm's corporate clients, who have joined us for a week at a time assisting refugees in Laredo. These clients have uniformly expressed great enthusiasm for the work we are doing. They have described their experience in Laredo as "the most rewarding personal experience of my professional career," and they commonly note the "astonishing" and "outstanding" commitment by Jones Day. We have also been fortunate to have many retired partners from the Firm join the effort as well. 

The border and the MPP courts have functionally been closed for most of 2020, significantly curtailing our work on the border. We have retained our office space and will resume operations as soon as the border and the MPP courts reopen. In the meantime, our teams continue to prepare for trial in our existing clients' cases, and we look forward to resuming the broader effort soon, all with the goal of ensuring adherence to the rule of law and access to justice.
We also have welcomed the participation of dozens of in-house counsel from some of the Firm's corporate clients, who have joined us for a week at a time assisting refugees in Laredo. These clients have uniformly expressed great enthusiasm for the work we are doing. They have described their experience at Laredo as "the most rewarding personal experience of my professional career," and they commonly note the "astonishing" and "outstanding" commitment by Jones Day.

Lesvos

Dire conditions and escalating conflicts in the Middle East and Africa have driven significant migration to Europe. Greece is one of the main entry points to the European Union. The result has been disruption to the receiving country and extreme stress on its systems, as well as heartbreaking suffering by the migrants, most of whom are women and children.

Recognizing this pressing need, Jones Day broadened our commitment to assist refugees by deploying lawyers from across Europe and the Middle East for three weeks at a time to Lesvos, Greece. There, our lawyers help ensure that the laws governing humanitarian relief are available and properly applied to refugees, particularly women and children. Working with HIAS, a U.S.-based NGO that has been assisting refugees around the world since 1881, our lawyers have helped collect and prepare basic documents to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees can access the rights given to them under national, European, and international law.

Veteran Representation and VetLex

As we talked to veterans across the United States, we found a significant unmet need for access to legal help. When we talked to lawyers across the country, we heard their desire to help veterans who have given so much to the nation. The problem was, they did not know how to find each other. Through collaboration with veterans, NGOs, and governmental institutions, we designed VetLex—a platform to connect veterans in need with lawyers having the knowledge and availability to represent them. The goal is to provide access to the rule of law to our veterans who have sacrificed to protect it.

Our national project to build this network of pro bono counsel serving veterans is now in a pilot phase in five locations: Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C. In addition, we continue to engage in impact litigation on behalf of veterans, including a groundbreaking national case shutting down a network designed to defraud veterans out of their disability and retirement benefits.

Hate Crimes/Peaceful Protest

Hate crimes, often accompanied by gun violence, leave legal and personal tragedy in their wake. In an effort to disrupt hate crimes and promote peaceful expression of ideas, we launched our Stop Hate Initiative. We are partnering with the Anti-Defamation League and others to represent victims of hate crimes, provide training and materials promoting peaceful protests, and arrange groundbreaking gatherings in communities fostering dialogue toward peace and rule-of-law solutions to conflict and prejudice. One example is our participation in the response to the crime that took place at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018, which was the single largest loss of life in an anti-Semitic hate crime in the United States. We have taken a leadership role within that community to develop an international conference that will occur annually on the anniversary of the shooting and convene the most successful anti-hate experts from around the world to discuss effective strategies to combat hate crimes wherever they may occur.

Jones Day lawyers represent individuals and nonprofit organizations in both civil and criminal litigation before a variety of administrative agencies and state and federal courts, including the federal courts of appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court. Across the Firm, our lawyers participate in various local clinics that offer free legal advice to the poor on such matters as landlord/tenant law, public benefits, immigration, probate, family law, and consumer fraud. Our lawyers have represented defendants at all levels of the criminal justice system, from wrongfully charged individuals facing their first trials to death row inmates seeking new ones. In addition, we assist nonprofit organizations with corporate-related issues such as incorporation and tax advice.
We demonstrate our deep commitment to the needs of the public and particularly the disadvantaged through a wide array of public service activities. Many of our offices have worked with Habitat for Humanity and a number of our lawyers participated in rebuilding facilities in Southeast Asia following the December 2004 tsunami. Moreover, teams of lawyers across offices and practice areas regularly engage in community service projects such as cleaning parks and camps for kids, fixing up schools, and collecting and bagging groceries for food banks. The Firm also makes annual monetary contributions to and participates in fund-raising efforts for law school public interest organizations such as the Public Interest Law Foundation and the Equal Justice Foundation. The Firm hosts numerous fundraisers and events for nonprofit and other organizations, including the Appleseed Foundation, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Capital Area Immigration Rights Coalition, the Federalist Society, GAYLAW, Special Olympics, and others. To see photos of from our days of service, visit our YouTube channel.

Jones Day has a long history of, and commitment to, pro bono work, public service, and community involvement in all of our locations around the world. Because of that commitment, pro bono and public service matters undertaken by Jones Day are provided the same level of attention and professional dedication that we provide to matters undertaken on behalf of paying clients.

 

Worldwide Pro Bono Contacts

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