Pro Bono Counsel Program
Pro Bono Counsel Program
The Pro Bono Counsel Program is a partnership between the Federal Public Defender’s Office ("FPDO") and private law firms through which firm attorneys act as pro bono co-counsel under the supervision of one or more assistant federal public defenders ("AFPDs") in a pending FPDO case in the Eastern District of Virginia. This program is open to all private law firms regardless of size or specialty, from solo practitioners to large law firms. Under the partnership, the firm(s) identify one or more or attorneys who are interested in committing the time and energy necessary to act as pro bono counsel ("PBC") on a case assigned to the FPDO. The PBC must agree to work in whatever capacity the responsible AFPD deems is in the best interests of the client, including acting as co-counsel. However, the PBC does not enter his/her appearance as counsel of record. Instead, the AFPD continues to be counsel of record to ensure that the Court understands that the FPDO is ultimately responsible for the client’s case. As such, for court appearances, the AFPD will always be present and, subject to Court approval, will allow the PBC to participate in the court proceedings as appropriate. This may include moving the PBC’s admission pro hac vice to appear in Court if the PBC is not admitted to practice in the Eastern District of Virginia.
The PBC’s responsibilities may include legal research and writing, drafting pleadings, meeting with clients and others (e.g., prosecutors, witnesses, Probation Officers, etc.), participating in court proceedings and appellate work. The PBC performs this work at his/her office, or, space permitting, at the FPDO.
The PBC Program serves the mission of the FPDO in a number of important ways. First, AFPDs, and by extension, the FPDO’s clients, benefit from the assistance firm attorneys can provide, especially in complex cases or cases that result in a jury trial. Second, firm attorneys benefit from the experience and training they receive by working with and under the supervision of the AFPDs. Third, the Court benefits from having more experienced attorneys practice before it, especially if some of these lawyers later join the CJA panel. Finally, the program encourages pro bono contributions by law firms to the defense of the indigent in federal court.
The Pro Bono Counsel Program is open to any law firm, including a solo practitioner that wishes to participate. Law firms are eligible to join the program provided they execute a Pro Bono Counsel Agreement. Each firm also must designate a supervising attorney or pro bono coordinator to oversee its lawyers. The PBC coordinator for the FPDO is Assistant Federal Public Defender Elizabeth A. Mullin (703-600-0879; firstname.lastname@example.org). Please contact her for further information or if you/your firm is interested in joining the program.
Participating firms include: Aegis Law Group; Afshin Farashahi, P.C.; Akin Gump; Allen & Overy; Alson & Bird; Andreoli Law Office; Arnold & Porter; Axinn Veltrop; Baker Botts; Ballston Legal; Boies Schiller; Buckley Sandler; Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft; Christian & Barton; Cleary Gotlieb; Clifford Chance; Cooley LLP; Cooper, Spong & Davis; Crowell & Moring; Dechert; DiPietro LLC; DLA Piper; Finnegan Henderson; Fish & Richardson; Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto; Foley & Lardner; Gibson Dunn; Goodman Carr; Goodwin Proctor; Hancock, Daniel, Johnson & Nagel; Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis; Haynes & Boone; Hogan Lovells; Hughes Hubbard; Hunton Andrews Kurth; Kendra Johnson; Kaplan Law Firm; Katten Muchin Rosenman; Kaufman & Canoles; Kelly, Drye & Warren; King & Spalding; Kirkland & Ellis; Kobre & Kim; Kozak & Associates; Latham & Watkins; Linklaters LLP; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips; Mayer Brown; McGuire Woods; McKool Smith; Miles & Stockbridge; MoloLamken; Morrison & Foerster; Neifeld IP Law; Nelson Mullins; Nichols Liu; Nixon Peabody; Norton Rose Fulbright; Oblon Spivak; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe; Paul Weiss; Perkins Coie; Pillsbury Winthrop; Reed Smith; Richards Kibbe & Orbe; Richardson & Rosenberg; Robbins Russell; Schulte Roth; Sidley Austin; Squire Patton Boggs; Sullivan & Cromwell; Troutman Peppeer; Vandeventer Black; Van Ness Feldman; Venable LLP; Vinson & Elkins; White PLLC; White & Case; Wiley Rein; Wilkinson Walsh & Eskovitz; Williams & Connolly; Williams Mullen; WilmerHale; Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; Winston & Strawn; and Zuckerman Spaeder.
The PBC Program has been endorsed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.