Pro Bono Service
Our firm acknowledges the responsibility of lawyers to provide legal services to those who cannot afford them. Pro bono cases are those on which we work without any expectation of being recompensed. Firm attorneys and legal assistants regularly provide hundreds of hours of free legal services annually on a pro bono basis. The firm has a written pro bono policy that provides associates with full billable hour credit—with no cap—for all hours expended on approved pro bono cases.
Our attorneys regularly accept pro bono legal work from the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VLSC), the pro bono arm of the Alameda County Bar Association. The firm handles pro bono cases from VLSC in the areas of debt collection defense, eviction defense, foreclosure defense, immigration, and nonprofit incorporation and counseling, and firm attorneys staff VLSC clinics in the areas of debt collection defense, immigration, and disability rights.
The firm is also a member of the ACBA-BASF AIDS Legal Referral Panel. We accept estate planning cases involving simple wills, durable powers of attorney, and other estate planning matters for clients with AIDS or ARC, and send lawyers to drop-in clinics.
Awards for Pro Bono Service
We were selected as the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award for a Law Firm by the Alameda County Bar Association. The award recognizes our attorneys’ long-standing support as a LeadershipFirm, and its dedication to supporting the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation both through generous financial contributions and through the participation of the firm’s lawyers as volunteers.
In 2008 the Alameda County Bar Association held a special reception to honor Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP for its extensive and consistent provision of pro bono services over the past several decades. At the gathering, the Honorable Martin J. Jenkins, federal judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, recognized the firm for its 25+ years of leadership in and commitment to promoting and providing pro bono legal services in the community.
In 2007 Chief Justice Ronald George of the California Supreme Court presented us with the State Bar President’s Pro Bono Award. In 2006 the ACBA Volunteer Legal Services Corporation honored our attorney Carrie Schneider with the Volunteer of the Year Award. This annual award honors the volunteer who exemplified outstanding pro bono legal service to residents of Alameda County. In 2003 our attorney Bruce Eads was the recipient of this award.
Many attorneys in the firm also have received Wiley Manuel Awards from the State Bar of California for pro bono service. In 2004 our attorney Sara Braun was a proud recipient of this award. The firm was presented with the Alameda County Bar Association President’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999 for its support of legal services to indigent residents of Alameda County.
Serving the Community and Legal Profession
In addition to pro bono service, we are committed to public service. Our attorneys volunteer their time by participating in a wide range of community projects, such as the Donald P. McCullum Youth Court Program (a diversionary program for youthful first-time offenders), Rebuilding Together / Christmas in April (a nationwide program that facilitates volunteers to rehabilitate low income homes and communities), and through toy, clothing and food drives.
Our attorneys also serve on the Boards of Directors of community and charitable organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, Girls, Inc., Beyond Emancipation, Friends of the Public Library, Rebuilding Together Oakland, Volunteer Legal Services Corporation, and the Alameda County Bar Association.
The firm also encourages its lawyers to serve the legal profession. Many of our lawyers act as judges pro tem in small claims court. Others participate as judges in moot court programs at local law schools.