June 12, 2017
At Weil, we have a long and proud tradition of serving those individuals who are the most vulnerable and the most in need – those facing injustice, exploitation or neglect and who do not have the resources to defend themselves. We believe that those who can help must help, and this has always been at the core of our pro bono efforts. We consider it not only our professional responsibility but also our moral obligation and an integral part of our culture. Put simply, Weil would not be a great firm without this commitment to pro bono.
Weil performed more than 50,000 hours of pro bono work last year alone, and the dedication and talent of our attorneys was demonstrated across many different areas. Weil lawyers answered the call for legal support at U.S. airports when an Executive Order left many travelers stranded. We also challenged an Arizona law that resulted in the elimination of a Mexican-American Studies program in Tucson public schools that was highly effective in increasing graduation rates and academic performance of Mexican-American students.
Other work came from our decades-long commitment to criminal justice reform. We expanded our assistance to the Innocence Project intake initiative from Weil’s U.S. offices to London and Warsaw, screening hundreds of requests for help from prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted. We also secured clemency from President Obama for a model prisoner serving a life sentence under sentencing rules for nonviolent drug offenders that have since been judged far too harsh.
In human rights, we followed our previous landmark victory ending indeterminate solitary confinement in California state prisons with further groundbreaking work on the use of solitary confinement. We authored a comparative study commissioned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and penned a U.S. Supreme Court amicus brief that presented expert findings on the devastating effects that solitary confinement has on prisoners.
As a firm, we help many individual clients. Yet we could not accomplish nearly as much if we did not have the privilege of collaborating closely with the not-for-profit organizations and corporate clients whose dedication to public service is so remarkable. We have worked closely with the Innocence Project, The Legal Aid Society, the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Refugee Assistance Project, to name just a few.
As you sample the variety of matters highlighted in this report, we are confident that you will appreciate how necessary and fulfilling the work is and why we call these “Our Finest Hours.”
Barry M. Wolf
Pro Bono Committee
Steven Alan Reiss
Pro Bono Committee