Pro Bono

Lane Powell believes the integrity of the legal system depends on equal access to justice. In 2007, we donated over $3.5 million worth of pro bono hours to disadvantaged individuals and organizations that cannot afford legal counsel.

Lane Powell fully endorses the pro bono policies of the American Bar Association, Oregon State Bar Association, Washington State Bar Association and the Multnomah Bar Association. The Firm encourages its attorneys to devote time to pro bono activities and provides billable hour credit for up to 100 hours of pro bono work.

Attorneys provide the same level of skill and attention to pro bono matters that they would to any other client. In a July 2007 letter, Bas Vanderzalm, President of Medical Teams International, wrote a letter thanking Lane Powell for its pro bono service. “As one of the largest non-profit organizations in Oregon, we interact with a large variety of businesses and for-profit companies. I can say without any reservation that Lane Powell PC ranks at the top of all the business groups with whom we have had contact in Oregon and the Portland area,” he wrote. “I have no question that the value of services provided to us by your firm has exceeded $100,000. More importantly, I know that the quality of the services we have received are equal to those your staff provides to your best clients. We have always received the highest standard of legal advice in a timely manner. In fact, your staff have often consulted with us after normal working hours on their own time because they care about our work and want to do what they can to help us fulfill our mission.”

In 2007, Lane Powell was nominated by the Portland Business Journal for its annual Corporate Philanthropy Award in recognition of our community service efforts.

Representative Pro Bono Work

  • We support an attorney who devotes 80 percent of his time to pro bono and volunteer work, primarily with Holt International Children’s Services, Medical Teams International, Mercy Corps Northwest, Western Farm Workers of America, and the Naa Amerley Palm Education Foundation, along with individuals in need.
  • We won a grant of asylum for a refugee client who came to America to escape persecution in Somalia and Kenya. Her initial application for asylum was denied, and she was in the process of being deported back to Somalia when Lane Powell agreed to represent her. Following trial, the judge granted asylum, allowing her to stay in the U.S.
  • Each month, a rotating roster of attorneys in Portland work at the Southeast Legal Clinic, a branch of the Oregon Law Center’s Neighborhood Legal Clinic Project. Common legal needs include collection, contract, landlord/tenant, unemployment, small estates and insurance defense issues.
  • On a pro bono basis, we serve as general counsel to Special Olympics Oregon, Inc.
  • We served as pro bono counsel for Voices for Silent Disasters, a Fall, 2007, concert series to raise money in conjunction with Mercy Corps for Uganda Disaster relief.
  • As pro bono counsel, we helped the Nisei Veterans Committee, a non-profit that honors Japanese-American soldiers, negotiate with King County on the terms for $200,000 of funding, saving them thousands of dollars.
  • When a 77-year-old Holocaust survivor suffered a heart attack the day before he was to sign his will naming eight charities, and others, as his beneficiaries, we represented Jewish Family Service and argued the case on behalf of all the charities. Because he died without a will or heirs, his assets were at risk of escheating to the State of Washington. The court ruled in favor of sustaining the gifts.
  • We won political asylum and permanent U.S. residence for a family who had fled their native Syria because of human rights violations. If they had been deported, they would likely have faced interrogation, detention, torture and possible execution.
  • In response to some of the worst flooding in Washington state’s history in 2007, we helped affected homeowners receive legal support for issues and questions in their insurance policies or mortgages, and helped tenants understand their rights and obligations when units became uninhabitable due to water or structural damage.
  • We serve as pro bono counsel for Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls for intellectual property and corporate matters.
  • We participate in Alaska Legal Services’ Attorney of the Day Program, which offers qualifying applicants a chance for a free consultation with an attorney.
  • We served as pro bono tax counsel for the Community Transitional School, a school for homeless students that is starting construction on a permanent location.
  • We provide pro bono counsel to Beaverton, Oregon’s Open Technology Business Center.
  • We are committed to doing pro bono work for organizations that promote sustainability, such as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.
  • The Naa Amerley Palm Education (”NAPE”) Foundation awards the Lee Nusich Scholarship named for Lee Nusich, Counsel to the Firm and a member of NAPE’s Advisory Board, as a tribute to both his and Lane Powell’s support, which were instrumental in obtaining funding for the scholarships. The scholarships help students in Ghana attend Ghanaian Universities.

Representative Board Memberships and Financial Support

Our Firm as a whole and individual attorneys financially support dozens of deserving community organizations; in addition, our attorneys contribute hundreds of hours serving on Boards of Directors. Some of the many organizations we support include: Dress for Success, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, REACH Community Development, the Museum of Flight, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Cornish College of the Arts, the American Heart Association, the Children’s Museum of Seattle, the Japan-American Society of Oregon, and Northwest Business for Culture and the Arts.

Honors and Awards

Lane Powell’s commitment to pro bono work has earned us the following accolades:

  • Lane Powell received the Alaska Bar Association’s 2009 Pro Bono award.
  • Craig Bachman, Garrett Crawshaw, Ken Davis, Peter Hawkes, and Chip Hudson were named to the Multnomah Bar Association’s (”MBA”) 2007 Pro Bono Honor Roll. The list honors the dedication shown by the attorneys who participate in the pro bono programs operated in Multnomah County by Legal Aid Services of Oregon, the MBA Young Lawyers Section and the Oregon Law Center. Chip Hudson and Parna Mehrbani were named in 2006.
  • The Equal Justice Coalition, in conjunction with the King County Bar Association, presented Lane Powell attorney Brian Meenaghan with the Alliance for Equal Justice “Service to Justice Award” in 2006.
  • On November 16, 2006, Lane Powell attorney Steven Ungar was presented with a Criminal Justice Act Panel Recognition Certificate of Appreciation for 12 years of dedicated service to his clients in the District of Oregon, as well as to the cause of indigent defense services. Steven was also named an emeritus panel member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel.

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Diversity

Lane Powell has more than 135 years of commitment to our communities. This commitment is reflected in Lane Powell's hiring and promotion of women and individuals from diverse backgrounds. The Firm has established an attorney Diversity Committee. The Committee is tasked with designing and implementing programs and strategies that promote an inclusive work environment and encourage the development and success of all employees.

 

MultiCultural Law Magazine Recognizes Lane Powell for Diversity

Lane Powell ranked as one of the country’s top 100 firms for diversity in a recent poll by MultiCultural Law magazine. The annual issue featuring the top ranking firms will be received by many Fortune 500 general counsels, all ABA-approved law schools, as well as a host of national minority and women’s legal organizations. The magazine highlights successful minority and women lawyers. Readers get straightforward interviews with some of the nation’s leading minorities in the legal community. Look for this issue of MultiCultural Law magazine in April 2005.

We are proud of our Firm’s commitment to diversity and our communities. This commitment is reflected in Lane Powell’s hiring and promotion of women and individuals from diverse backgrounds.

The Diversity Committee's mission statement is as follows:

 

  • Promote, focus and improve the Firm's efforts to recruit, retain and advance attorneys from diverse backgrounds;
  • Promote, both inside and outside the Firm, our commitment to diversity;
  • Provide training to Lane Powell attorneys and staff on issues related to our increasingly diverse community, both inside and outside the Firm;
  • Promote efforts to reach out to the larger legal community to increase diversity in the legal profession;
  • Coordinate firm and individual attorney membership in local and national organizations committed to diversity in the legal profession;
  • Ensure that Lane Powell is represented at local and national events and conferences that focus on and promote diversity in the legal profession; and
  • Serve as a resource for the attorneys within the Firm with regard to developing and implementing strategies and tactics to promote, focus and improve our efforts to recruit, retain and advance attorneys from diverse backgrounds, particularly with regard to mentoring and training attorneys from diverse backgrounds.

Diversity Program

To illustrate Lane Powell’s continuing commitment to diversity, our attorneys have volunteered to participate in a cutting-edge program on racism, race relations, and racial problems in the legal profession. The six-week program, conducted by the Understanding Racism Foundation, included large law firms and was geared toward creating an understanding of the problems faced by minorities in our society. The program’s goal is to awaken participants to the awareness that racial problems still exist in our society, both overtly and subtly. And many individuals are unaware and are influenced by prior generations’ prejudice. It is hoped that this increased awareness will result in a more comfortable work environment for minorities and lead to greater attraction and retention of minorities. This program is ongoing, and Lane Powell is proud to have been the first firm to host it. Our attorneys have also participated in the Pre-law Conference for High School Students of Color sponsored by the American Bar Association and the Washington State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division.

To incorporate diversity at all levels of staffing, we actively recruit candidates from diverse backgrounds; this supports our commitment to diversity while also creating a team of qualified professionals, a team which we are extremely proud to call Lane Powell.

 

Diversity Statistics

 
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