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Basic Information Lawyer Demographics Practice Areas Compensation & Benefits Partnership & Advancement Recruitment & Hiring Hours & Work Arrangements Pro Bono/Public Interest Diversity & Inclusion Professional Development

Akerman LLP - Firmwide

Pro Bono/Public Interest

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Pro Bono Contact

Pro Bono Contact Name William A. Van Nortwick, Esq.
Pro Bono Contact Title Partner-in-Charge of Pro Bono
Pro Bono Contact Phone 904-598-8603
Pro Bono Contact Email william.vannortwick@akerman.com
Is the pro bono information indicated here firm-wide or specific to one office? Firm-wide
% Firm Billable Hours last year N/A
Average Hours per Attorney last year 21.8

Pro Bono Participation

Percent of associates participating last year 15
Percent of partners participating last year 27
Percent of other lawyers participating last year 4

Average hours

Average hours per associate last year 38
Average hours per partner last year 50
Average hours per other lawyer last year 46
What percentage of attorneys performed more than 20 hours? 20
What was the number of actual pro bono hours contributed by the organization in the prior calendar year? 14,701
Does the organization maintain a written pro bono policy that sets forth the organization's commitment to pro bono? Yes
How does the organization define what constitutes pro bono legal work? In accordance with the Pro Bono Institute, the term 'pro bono' refers to activities of the firm undertaken normally without expectation of fee and not in the course of ordinary commercial practice and consisting of (a) the delivery of legal services to persons of limited means or to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; (b) the provision of legal assistance to individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights; and (c) the provision of legal assistance to charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate.
Does the organization set annual goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed by the organization? No
Does the organization set individual attorney goals regarding the minimum number of pro bono hours to be contributed? No

Advancement/compensation

Is an attorney's commitment to pro bono activity considered a favorable factor in advancement and compensation decisions? Yes
If yes, to what extent?

Pro bono support services

Are full-time support services (word processing, online research Lexis/Westlaw, out of pocket costs) available for pro bono representation? Yes
If so, are there any limitations?
Are associates provided written evaluations of their work on pro bono matters? No
Does the organization employ one or more of the following structures to manage its pro bono program and to provide training and guidance to participating attorneys? (Check all that apply): Full-time attorney in a dedicated pro bono coordination/oversight role
Pro Bono Committee
How is pro bono work assigned/distributed?
If an attorney is permitted to bring a pro bono case for possible consideration by the firm, who makes decisions about whether the firm will handle the matter? (check all that apply) Pro Bono Coordinator
Pro Bono Committee
Does the organization provide any of the following to enable its attorneys to participate in pro bono activities or work in a public interest setting? (Check all that apply):

Summer associate pro bono opportunities

Are pro bono opportunities available for summer associates? Yes
Additional comments (Please use this space to provide any additional information about your organization's pro bono program including any special recognition or awards the organization has received for its pro bono work.) Akerman has a long standing tradition of providing pro bono legal services to people in need and nonprofit organizations, covering a range of issues including child advocacy, civil and human rights, veterans affairs, immigration, and domestic violence. The firm has made an institutional pledge to make an even greater impact by expanding our pro bono services with a particular focus in the areas of education and youth development.
In recent years, the firm has intensified its philanthropic efforts with the launch of a national signature program, the Akerman Give Back Campaign. The initiative is a collective effort by firm lawyers and staff to align firm resources, including volunteer and pro bono service, in support of organizations that share Akerman's focus on serving children in need.

The firm was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Chief Justice's Law Firm Commendation Award by the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar — the highest recognition of pro bono legal service awarded in the state to a law firm. In the past year, Akerman and our lawyers have received award recognition for pro bono leadership from organizations including Lex Mundi, the Daily Business Review, Sanctuary for Families, the Dade County Bar Association, the Orlando Business Journal, and Florida's Children First.
What are some of the areas in which your organization has performed pro bono work in the past year? In recent years, Akerman has intensified its pro bono focus on serving children in the child welfare system. All lawyers are encouraged to participate in the firm’s national Child Welfare Project, which provides trial and appellate representation for children in dependency proceedings, and offers transactional legal services to the nonprofit organizations that serve foster youth. The Child Welfare Project allows lawyers to use their legal expertise to benefit vulnerable children and families across the country, and focuses the firm’s pro bono resources on making a last difference for kids.

In conjunction with the Project, Akerman has developed an unprecedented philanthropic partnership with the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) and their local programs across the country, pledging to raise $1 million in support of the CASA mission and launching an academic scholarship program for foster youth. Akerman is proud to serve as the first law firm to partner nationally with CASA, building on countless hours of pro bono service that our lawyers have contributed through participation in CASA/GAL programs across the country and through many other initiatives that support underprivileged children and their families.

Akerman lawyers provide both litigation and transactional representation in many areas of legal specialty, including appellate law, real estate, intellectual property, corporate law, civil and criminal litigation, and probate. Our attorneys focus on serving low-income and under-served clients, including children, domestic violence victims, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and persons with disabilities.

Akerman lawyers have taken on the following significant pro bono representations on behalf of those in need within the past year:


• A team of Akerman lawyers represented a young child in a complex dependency action involving multiple jurisdictions, two interlocutory appeals involving issues of first impression, extensive briefing, and a final adversarial trial involving several parties.
• Akerman lawyers represent a nonprofit that serves homeless families in a federal housing discrimination lawsuit against a municipality for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
• In an intensely contested matter that has been covered extensively by regional media, a cross-office, cross-practice group team of Akerman lawyers and professionals represents a consortium of low-income Florida families in an ongoing battle to save their homes from a condominium association accused of fraud, self-dealing, and waste.
• A team of Litigation and Real Estate lawyers, paralegals, and legal administrative assistants in the Los Angeles office have developed a Foster Care Adoption Project in partnership with Public Counsel, the largest pro bono law firm in the nation.
• Akerman transactional lawyers provide regular consultation to the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association in real estate, public policy, intellectual property, and corporate matters.

Fellowship sponsorship

Does your organization sponsor split public interest summer and/or post-graduate fellowships?
Public Interest Fellowship Comments