Tucker Arensberg’s Commitment to Providing Pro Bono Legal Services
We take seriously our responsibility to clients and the administration of justice. An obligation we embrace is to provide pro bono legal services. “Pro bono” means for the public good or welfare.
This service to clients, without regard to the ability to pay, is a hallmark of Tucker Arensberg.
Our firm was founded by men and women who were committed to representing needy individuals and organizations in our community. Throughout the history of the firm, our attorneys have aggressively represented people at no cost.
For 2015 over 1,300 hours of pro bono work was performed by our attorneys, paralegals and staff.
Pro Bono Matters Handled by the Firm
During the McCarthy era, in the 1950s, attorneys in the firm served as panel counsel for the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Firm attorneys volunteered to represent individuals who were accused of being communists. The attorneys of Tucker Arensberg were successful in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overturn the disbarment of a Pittsburgh attorney who had allegedly represented a communist and was, by association, accused of being a communist himself.
Protecting free speech and civil liberties continued to be important to our firm and attorneys in the 1960s. In the long hot summer of 1964, Charles C. Arensberg volunteered for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, which was representing black activists in Jackson, Mississippi. Mr. Arensberg spent two weeks that summer working with civil rights advocate Charles Evers, defending a black pastor who was accused of arson.
More recent pro bono matters handled by firm attorneys include the 18-year representation of a group of siblings as they moved through the dependency system after being adjudicated by the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. Those children needed a voice in the Court system, and their firm attorney was called upon, over an 18 year period, to advocate on their behalf.
Other attorneys at Tucker Arensberg have served as pro bono counsel to individuals who have applied for political asylum through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. To qualify for asylum in the United States, an applicant needs to demonstrate that he/she is unwilling to return to their home country as a result of a legitimate and well-founded fear of persecution. In both cases, a member of the firm personally drove the applicant to the asylum interview in Washington, DC and represented the applicant, at no cost, during the hearing. Both applicants were successful in their asylum requests.
Firm Support for Pro Bono Services
In 2001, we adopted a Pro Bono Policy. That policy recognizes the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stating that lawyers should render “public interest legal service.” Our policy acknowledges that pro bono service can take a variety of forms, including offering free or reduced-fee, legal services, or making financial contributions to organizations that provide legal services to people of limited means.
Neighborhood Legal Services is a legal service organization that is the recipient of financial support and contributions from Tucker Arensberg and individual attorneys within the firm. In addition to making financial contributions to organizations such as Neighborhood Legal Services, attorneys at Tucker Arensberg have served on its Board.
We are a member of the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, a group of law firms and corporate law departments that participate in signature projects to ensure the delivery of pro bono services to needy individuals.
Attorneys and paralegals at Tucker Arensberg regularly volunteer to represent domestic violence victims under the Protection From Abuse Act. Attorneys also represent families and individuals at child custody, conciliation, mediations, and hearings in the Family Division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.
Attorneys in our Harrisburg office are also active in pro bono matters. All attorneys in that office are regular participants in the Dauphin County and United States Middle District’s pro bono programs. A shareholder in the Harrisburg office chairs the Middle District’s pro bono program.
Attorneys and paralegals who meet our internal goal of providing at least 10 hours of pro bono services each year are recognized as Pro Bono All-Stars at a firm luncheon each year. Attached is our Pro Bono and Community Involvement Annual Report.
We are proud to support the attorneys and paralegals who fulfill their obligation to provide pro bono legal services. Serving the less fortunate, advocating for civil rights, or acting as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves are characteristic of the attorneys of Tucker Arensberg.