Pro Bono

“At Richards Layton, we understand the importance of giving back. Through their pro bono efforts, our lawyers create deep roots in the community, experience the personal and professional fulfillment that comes from doing meaningful work, and, most importantly, work together to improve the lives of others.” 
                                                     - Doneene Damon, President of the Firm

Richards, Layton & Finger has a longstanding commitment to serving others.  For more than a century, our lawyers have been acknowledged leaders in the Delaware Bar, and in the community at large.  We take these leadership roles seriously and provide our attorneys and professionals with the necessary tools and resources to enhance and promote their pro bono and community service efforts.

Our pro bono and community service program encourages attorneys and staff to donate their time and talents to causes that are most meaningful to them.  We have long valued pro bono service and give attorneys billable hour credit for their pro bono hours each year.  We have created pro bono teams to best identify shared interests among our attorneys, and to advance team-building and mentoring initiatives within the firm.

In 2018, Richards Layton attorneys devoted more than 9800 hours to pro bono and community service.  This number reflects the contributions of 78 percent of the firm’s associates, 74 percent of our directors, and 60 percent of our counsel.

Click here to view our firm's FY18 Pro Bono Annual Report.

PRO BONO TEAMS

The creation of five distinct pro bono teams contributes to our success in providing valuable assistance to those in need in our community and beyond.

NON-PROFIT TEAM

Our attorneys on the Non-Profit Team represent local and global non-profits, including assisting with entity formation and governance issues, and service on various boards of directors within Delaware, and beyond.

OFFICE OF THE CHILD ADVOCATE TEAM

Our attorneys on the Office of the Child Advocate Team serve as attorney-guardians ad litem for children involved in child welfare proceedings in Family Court.  Training is provided and each attorney works directly with a child to ensure that the best interests of the child are properly represented.

PROTECTION FROM ABUSE TEAM

Our attorneys on the Protection from Abuse Team work with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) in providing free representation to victims of domestic violence who seek protection from abuse orders.

FEDERAL CIVIL PANEL TEAM

Our attorneys on the Federal Civil Panel Team handle cases that often involve civil rights violations in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

WILLS TEAM

Our attorneys on the Wills Team partner with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services (DVLS) to provide estate planning and end-of-life needs for indigent clients. Through one-on-one counseling, our attorneys prepare wills, health care directives, durable powers of attorney, and other estate-planning essentials.

PRO BONO INITIATIVES

Revitalizing Distressed Communities in Wilmington, Delaware

  • We represent Central Baptist Community Development Corporation in connection with its Eastside Rising project, which is an effort to revitalize Wilmington’s heavily distressed Eastside community through housing improvement, workforce development, and economic empowerment.
  • Our firm is a founding member of the Rodney Square Conservancy, which has brought together area residents, local and state government, and local business leaders in Wilmington, with a mission of revitalizing and preserving historic Rodney Square for the benefit of the community, and future generations.
  • We represented Sacred Heart Village, II in connection with a $7.1 million HUD Section 202 project for the building of a 26-unit residential home for below-poverty-level seniors in the heart of Wilmington’s East Side community.
  • Our firm assisted in the creation of the Village of St. John, which opened its doors in the fall of 2019 to provide permanent, affordable, and safe housing for low-income senior citizens in Wilmington's former Brandywine Village neighborhood.

 

Championing for Children

  • Our attorneys assisted in the formation of Down to Box, a local non-profit organization that aims to empower individuals with Down syndrome by training them in boxing and self-defense techniques.
  • Our attorneys helped create, and continue to further the mission of, the Mariano Rivera Foundation to provide youth from impoverished families with tools that will empower them for their future.

 

Global Advancement of Non-Profit Organizations

  • Through a partnership organized by Lex Mundi, our attorneys have assisted with corporate restructuring and governance issues for mothers2mothers, an international nonprofit organization working to eradicate pediatric HIV by training, employing, and empowering mothers living with HIV.
  • Also, in conjunction with Lex Mundi, our attorneys have provided legal services to APOPO, a non-profit organization headquartered in Tanzania that trains rodents to detect both landmines and tuberculosis. Our attorneys assisted with the formation of two tax-exempt Delaware corporations that were established to develop and train the search-and-rescue animals.

 

COMMUNITY SERVICE

As community leaders, we are deeply involved in service projects that enhance the lives of our neighbors. Throughout each year, our lawyers and staff join together in large numbers to participate in a variety of inspiring community efforts.

The Bancroft School Mentoring Team

In partnership with Big Brothers & Big Sisters, our attorneys and staff have been dedicated to mentoring and tutoring children at The Bancroft School in Wilmington’s Eastside community during their lunch hour each week. This program helps children realize their individual potential and lets them know they are part of a community that cares about them and their future.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

The firm’s attorneys and staff share an annual tradition of spending Martin Luther King Day volunteering together on various community-wide projects, including collecting and distributing much-needed food and supplies to Eisenberg Elementary, renovating a USO center, repairing and painting an addiction center, and donating and delivering warm clothing, blankets, and food to local homeless shelters.

      

Emmanuel Dining Room

Throughout the year our attorneys and staff join together each month at the Ministry of Caring’s Emmanuel Dining Room to serve hot, nutritious lunches to the homeless, at-risk, and working poor in our community.

Ministry of Caring Adopt-A-Child Program

Each December our attorneys and staff generously contribute wrapped holiday gifts containing wish list items for underprivileged youth living in the City of Wilmington.

AWARDS & ACCOLADES

Our lawyers’ most recent pro bono achievements include:

  • Richards, Layton & Finger received the Delaware State Bar Association’s 2019 Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Leadership Award, given to a law firm that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of pro bono services to Delaware’s indigent population.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the Delaware State Bar Association’s 2019 Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Achievement Award, which is presented to a Delaware lawyer who has exemplified an incredible dedication to pro bono work for the underserved populations in Delaware.
  • A Richards Layton attorney is the chair for the 2019 Delaware Combined Campaign for Justice.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the 2018 Delaware State Bar Association’s Community Service Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney was awarded the 2016 Order of the First State, the highest honor the Governor of Delaware can bestow, which recognizes individuals who have made a significant impact on the citizens of Delaware.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the 2016 Delaware Barristers Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney was named to the National Association of Professional Women, VIP Woman of the Year Circle 2016.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the 2016 Delaware State Bar Association LGBT Section Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney was named to the National Association of Professional Women, VIP Woman of the Year Circle 2015.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the 2015 American Bar Association’s Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the Delaware State Bar Association’s 2015 Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Commitment Award, which is presented to a Delaware lawyer who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to pro bono work for our state’s underserved populations.

 

A SAMPLING OF PAST HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS

  • A Richards Layton attorney was awarded the National Diversity Council, Leadership Excellence in the Law Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the Pennsylvania Diversity Council, Leadership in Law Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney was selected for the Temple University Beasley School of Law, Gallery of Success.
  • Three Richards Layton attorneys were awarded the Delaware Distinguished Service Medal, usually reserved for military personnel, in recognition of their countless hours of valuable pro bono service to assist the Delaware National Guard.
  • One of only four award recipients worldwide, Richards, Layton & Finger received the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Award for the North American region for its work with organizations that tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the President’s Award from the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association for his extensive pro bono work on behalf of Delaware’s volunteer fire and ambulance services.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the Commissioner’s Award from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, a prestigious national award honoring one recipient from each state for making an exceptional contribution to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.
  • Richards, Layton & Finger received the Delaware State Bar Association’s Christopher W. White Distinguished Access to Justice Leadership Award, given to a law firm that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the field of pro bono services to Delaware’s indigent population.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the International Women’s Review Board for Excellence in Law Award.
  • A Richards Layton attorney received the YWCA Trailblazer Award.
  • An Official Commendation from the Superior Court of Delaware was awarded to a Richards Layton attorney for outstanding dedication to public service and pro bono advocacy work in Mental Health Court.