Manatt Celebrates Pro Bono Week; Continues Commitment to its Innovative and Impactful Pro Bono Program

In recognition of National Pro Bono Week 2021, Manatt is proud to celebrate and partner with leading pro bono organizations Bet Tzedek and Start Small Think Big on innovative clinics, including ones that are open to the entire Manatt community. These programs are focused on helping residents of the communities in which Manatt professionals live and work navigate complex issues surrounding their identities, their families and their livelihoods.

Part of a broader initiative and commitment to both support systemic change and help on the individual level, these clinics further cement Manatt’s status as a leader in the fight to ensure that everyone retains the liberties and protections to which they are legally entitled. These partnerships and clinics also underscore the firm’s mission to be the professional services firm of the future by encouraging pro bono participation from all its professionals, including attorneys, consultants and business professionals.

“Pro bono has and always will be part of Manatt’s DNA; whether through large-scale, impactful litigation or single-client matters, Manatt is a leading voice in the fight for equal access to counsel,” said Manatt CEO and Managing Partner Donna L. Wilson. “Our goal is to extend the cutting-edge approach that we bring to client service through our integrated team of lawyers, consultants and business professionals to our pro bono work in order to create the pro bono practice of the future. These clinics are just one way in which we are redefining what pro bono looks like while continuing to serve those living in our communities in a meaningful way.”

“We’re thrilled to celebrate Pro Bono Week alongside all of our amazing pro bono partners, and are especially proud of these particular clinics, which provide a snapshot of the type of community-driven work Manatt has been a leader in since its founding,” said Pro Bono Director Sirena Castillo. “As we continue to grow our pro bono capabilities and team, we are excited to develop more of these clinics that aim to address issues affecting our local communities and the nation as a whole.”

For two of these clinics, the firm has been working with pro bono partner Bet Tzedek—an organization dedicated to providing free, comprehensive legal services for low-income individuals and families in Los Angeles—on programs that invite the participation of all Manatt professionals. Through these clinics, Manatt:

  • Works with transgender and gender-nonconforming clinic attendees who regularly face accessibility barriers because their identity documents incorrectly describe them as someone else in compiling the information needed to complete petitions for filing at local courthouses to update their personal records to reflect their true identity
  • Supports family members eager to ensure uninterrupted care for their adult children with severe developmental disabilities or for their parents suffering from dementia or other conditions preventing appropriate self-care through the probate court process to secure conservatorships over their loved ones

Manatt is also partnering with Start Small Think Big—a nonprofit that helps small-business owners from marginalized communities create thriving businesses—in the development of a successful two-part clinic focused on assisting emerging business owners in drafting new contracts or reviewing existing contracts based on the client’s business needs.

In addition to these individual-driven clinics, the firm has been involved in numerous high-profile litigation matters, including challenging the addition of a citizenship question in the 2020 U.S. Census as well as issues surrounding the right to vote and guaranteeing the rights of a class of abused, abandoned or neglected children in California to have access to a special form of immigration relief. Manatt’s pro bono efforts also include a wide array of matters, including research supporting the privacy rights of sexual assault survivors, projects to protect the right to vote, helping secure adoptions for children in California’s foster care system and guiding clients through a variety of asylum-related matters, among other projects and initiatives. The firm’s unique work, commitment to and innovation in this space have resulted in Manatt earning numerous recognitions, including a 2020 ABA Pro Bono Publico award.

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