PRO BONO AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH SERVICES
At Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, we believe in enhancing the communities in which we live and work by providing legal services, financial support, and volunteer services to worthy agencies and individuals in need. "Providing first-rate legal services to people and organizations with limited means is the cornerstone of our pro bono program," says Chairman Larry Sonsini. "We participate in the Pro Bono Institute's law firm challenge, which encourages firms to devote three percent of their total billable hours to pro bono activities, and we strongly encourage all our attorneys to contribute to this effort."
In fiscal year 2015 alone, our attorneys and other professionals provided more than 36,000 hours of pro bono legal work nationwide. Historically, the firm's services have ranged from defending an appeal of a groundbreaking $4 million verdict against a former operative of a Chilean dictatorship to defending a former federal prosecutor against unfair claims of copyright infringement brought by a major non-practicing entity (or NPE, also commonly known as a patent troll). We also have helped secure a historic class action settlement ending the routine shackling of detainees during civil hearings in San Francisco Immigration Court, obtained a favorable settlement to end Medicare's "improvement standard," secured a settlement with a Central Valley school district ensuring that young English language learners have an equal chance to succeed, and represented victims of persecution in a diverse array of discrimination, domestic violence, and asylum cases. Over the years, our attorneys have provided pro bono assistance to approximately 400 nonprofit agencies in fields such as healthcare, education, the arts, and the environment, as well as to numerous individuals.
These efforts have not gone unnoticed: The State Bar of California has honored the firm's efforts with its President's Pro Bono Service Award (Large Firm Category), and the firm has received the Bar Association of San Francisco's Outstanding Law Firm in Public Service Award. We also have received pro bono awards from the Humane Society, Rubicon Programs, Little Kids Rock, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program. In addition, the firm was recognized with the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's Impact Award, as a "Corporate Partner" by InnVision Shelter Network, and as "Partner of the Year" by Bay Area Legal for its pro bono contributions. In addition, a pro bono team was presented with the Jack W. Londen Award by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area in recognition of exemplary litigation efforts that protect and advance the civil rights of marginalized communities.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's community outreach program is another way our employees make a significant contribution to society. The firm organizes numerous events throughout the year, helping to identify and support a variety of interesting and meaningful volunteer opportunities. These include participating in food drives, walk-a-thons for medical research, habitat-restoration projects, and home and community facility renovation projects for low-income families and nonprofit organizations. Besides donating their time and skills, our employees regularly contribute to firm-sponsored fundraising drives, such as those supporting the victims of natural disasters—for instance, the devastating earthquake in Japan and ensuing tsunami—with the firm supplying matching funds.
The firm has implemented a wide variety of initiatives designed to reduce its impact on the environment. These include the installation of lighting retrofits and electric-vehicle charging stations, the use of green cleaning and moving products, the purchase of renewable energy from local municipalities, and the adoption of a voluntary composting program in several of the firm's offices. Additionally, the Green Team, a volunteer group of employees across all offices who share concerns about the firm's impact on the environment, plays an active role in encouraging environmentally friendly practices among employees. The firm is an active participant in the American Bar Association - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Law Office Climate Challenge and its associated programs, including the WasteWise Program, the Green Power Partnership, and the Energy Star Program.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati's Palo Alto headquarters recently were awarded LEED Gold certification, reflecting the fact that our buildings are sustainably operated and managed using strategies aimed at improving performance in key areas of human and environmental health. In recognition of our sustainability achievements, the firm also has been certified as a "Green Business" in connection with the Santa Clara County Green Business Program.