Pro Bono/Social Impact

We are a firm composed of numerous people performing innumerable works of service in our communities and in the legal system.

Pro bono work, we have found, benefits the people performing it almost as much as its intended beneficiaries. In that spirit, the people of Pillsbury bring both their entrepreneurial spirit and their team approach to a wide range of pro bono and volunteer projects.

Much of the work centers on providing basic legal services to the poor. We counsel nonprofit organizations on a variety of matters—formation, mergers, intellectual property, real estate, and tax. We also take on high-impact litigation for worthy causes.

Passion to serve
From summer associates to senior partners, we bring passion and belief to our pro bono matters—and both the firm and individual lawyers regularly receive community recognition for these efforts.

Every lawyer is expected to perform a minimum of 25 hours annually in service to the firm’s pro bono clients, with associates receiving billable-hours credit.

First-year pro bono fellowship
Every year, one of our first-year associates is awarded a Stimson Fellowship: one year working with a recognized pro bono service provider. The firm pays annual salary and benefits—and the Stimson Fellow joins the firm as an associate once the year is concluded.

Mid-level associate fellowship
One associate per year is designated—by selective process—a pro bono fellow. The chosen associate devotes 50 percent of her or his time working on a visible, high-impact pro bono matter, while receiving a salary and retaining the same opportunity for bonuses and advancement as other associates.

Recent projects
Many of our most important pro bono projects have stemmed directly from initiatives by our people.

In recent years, these have included:

  • Representing Native American voters in South Dakota through the nonprofit Four Directions, and providing polling place monitors for major elections.
  • Representing adult victims of childhood sexual abuse in a suit against a prep school that knowingly employed a pedophile football coach for 25 years.
  • Representing nonprofits in Los Angeles on building projects financed with low-income housing tax credits.

Charitable contributions
In addition to our pro bono efforts, the firm also provides financial support to a number of important charities.

Since even charities need start-up money, The Pillsbury Foundation makes substantial contributions to Ashoka and other innovative charities, to get them up and running.

In the annual United Way competition among San Francisco companies, our employees won top spot in the large law firm category, 10 years in row.

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Special counsel Julia Judish received Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic Volunteer of the Year award.