Serving Justice, Serving People
As a law firm, our lawyers have chosen careers in the law for a reason — they are passionate about making sure justice is served. A justice system is only as real and just as those who embody it: without lawyers willing to provide pro bono service, it’s merely an ideal.
Pro bono service — serving justice — is central to our professional responsibility to the greater community and represents just one way in which we demonstrate McGuireWoods’ Core Values.
Excellence, Client Service, Integrity, Collegiality, Community
As part of our commitment to client and community service, McGuireWoods’ lawyers are involved in significant pro bono work, including death penalty cases, child support enforcement prosecutions, housing law cases, battered spouse representations, wills and powers of attorney, court-appointed criminal defense, and general counseling for nonprofit groups.
We also provide services to community groups such as The Children’s Law Center; U-Turn, a sports performance academy dedicated to empowering young people through athletics; and pro bono services to veterans, among others. We are long-standing members of the Pro Bono Institute, and other legal aid organizations. Associates, counsel and staff lawyers are credited for up to 50 billable hours for approved pro bono service.
Two recent McGuireWoods pro bono efforts:
McGuireWoods’ Pro Bono Team Secures Reversal of Armed Robbery Conviction
for Innocent Man Days Away from Deportation
In 2009, our pro bono client was wrongly convicted of an armed robbery based
on a misidentification by the victim and spent 18 months in jail. Released early
on good behavior, our lawyers successfully petitioned a circuit court judge to
vacate the robbery conviction. Immediately upon release, however, our pro bono
client was detained immediately by immigration officials, and faced immediate
deportation to his native Sierra Leone where none of his family remains after
fleeing the country’s 1990’s civil war. McGuireWoods will now seek to vacate the
detention order with immigration officials.
Pro Bono Clients from Democratic Republic of Congo Granted Asylum
Represented by McGuireWoods, two brothers from the Democratic Republic of
Congo were recently granted political asylum in the United States by the U.S.
Department of Justice Immigration Court in Chicago. The U.S. government stated
that it would not appeal the decision. The brothers sought political asylum
after having been tortured by agents of the Congolese governing party. After two
years in hiding, the brothers escaped to the United States, where they sought
refugee status and protection under Article III of the United Nations Convention
against Torture. The brothers sought the assistance of the National Immigrant
Justice Center, which put them in touch with McGuireWoods' pro bono team. The
ruling ends a nearly two-year process in the U.S. immigration court. The
brothers are allowed now to work in the United States, to receive other
government benefits and to apply to bring family members to join them.