Richards Layton & Finger

Pro Bono

Richards, Layton & Finger provides its attorneys with an opportunity to participate in a broad range of pro bono, public service and community activities, in an environment that provides the attorney with the chance to work with lawyers from different departments and practice areas within the firm.

The firm expects each attorney to devote from 20 to 40 hours per year to pro bono or community service activities. These activities are broadly defined to accommodate a variety of interests, and attorneys are free to select the pro bono or community service activities that interest them. All hours spent on pro bono and community service projects are treated as billable hours.

Pro Bono and Community Service Committee
The firm’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee develops teams composed of directors and associates from various practice areas within the firm, designed to focus on the specific pro bono needs of individuals in the community. Our award-winning pro bono program has been recognized by the Delaware State Bar Association as a leader in the state, and members of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee regularly participate in programs to educate other law firms. The Pro Bono Committee is proud of the fact that, through its team concept, all full-time associates and most of the firm’s directors are participating in some form of pro bono and community service activity. In 2009, Richards Layton attorneys donated over 8,000 hours of time to their pro bono projects.

Team Projects

Child Advocate
This team is composed of more than 30 attorneys who serve as guardians for children involved in child welfare proceedings. An attorney may be appointed to represent the interests of a minor child where both parents are incarcerated or otherwise unavailable to protect the interests of that child. On occasion, members of this team will represent several children of the same parents in a custody proceeding. Since 2002, Richards Layton attorneys have represented more than 170 children in such proceedings, logging nearly 7000 hours of service.

Approximately 40 attorneys and staff members have been trained as mentors and are currently tutoring students in reading and math skills at Bancroft Academy, a City of Wilmington elementary school. The firm also contributes to Bancroft’s art program, and student art is displayed in the firm’s conference center.

Protection from Abuse
This team assists victims of domestic violence in securing protection from abuse orders in the Family Court of the State of Delaware. Attorneys work with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services and are assigned on an as-needed basis at hearings every Friday. These volunteers attend the hearings, which are similar to mini-trials, as the victim’s advocate.

Estate Planning
Attorneys at the firm are trained to assist impoverished individuals in drafting wills and living wills. Members of this team are assigned on an individual basis by Delaware Volunteer Legal Services. There is a substantial need for this assistance in the state.

Individual Projects
A number of the firm’s attorneys elect to participate in pro bono projects on their own. For example, our attorneys participate on the Federal Civil Panel, volunteering to handle prisoner cases brought in the federal court. Others provide employment advice to local nonprofit service agencies, while others are involved in securing tax-exempt status for nonprofits or providing them with legal advice. Associates are encouraged to sit on the boards of nonprofits as a way to gain experience and give back to the community.

In addition to pro bono and community service projects, several attorneys are involved in the political arena as committee members and in elected positions. One associate serves as a representative to the Delaware General Assembly and another presently serves as House Counsel in the Delaware General Assembly, as others have in the past.  One attorney has also served as a state committeeperson.

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