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Compounding Efforts to Make a Difference

partnering opportunities WITH jenner & block

To broaden our reach through pro bono opportunities, Jenner & Block is proud to partner with clients who share our values and commitments toward our communities. In 2017, we partnered with organizations such as GCM Grosvenor, Advocates for International Development and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), among others. 

A Bloomberg BNA article explores how corporate legal departments are increasingly turning to law firms to establish and grow their pro bono programs. Jenner & Block has created a menu of pro bono opportunities for in-house lawyers so clients can identify the best fit, including cases by subject matter, type of legal work and the duration of a case, said Andrew Vail, co-chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

We also can provide training and support for in-house lawyers.  For example, in New York, we conducted a training in the immigration space, with the help of the New York Legal Assistance Group, after which the in-house lawyers immediately met with clients who needed help filling out paperwork to apply for US citizenship.  After a training for another client, we put together a team of our lawyers and the in-house lawyers to handle one case, and a team of the in-house lawyers took a case on their own.

In Chicago, we have partnered with clients in all of the areas listed at the bottom of this page, as well as on fair housing matters and disability and elder law issues. 

We have also joined with clients on beach, park and neighborhood clean-up efforts, as well as on diversity pipeline initiatives and in “Lawyers in the Classroom” programs.

Many other types of cases, matters and service projects could be appropriate for partnering. 

Let’s discuss ways that, together, we can expand access to justice for the many who are in need and benefit the communities in which we live and work.  Please contact any Jenner & Block lawyer to explore ideas and opportunities for addressing critical problems confronting us.    

Interested in partnering with us? Contact any Jenner & Block lawyer with your thoughts and ideas, and let’s make a difference together. 

examples of partnering from 2017



asylum representation with client gcm grosvenor

Obtaining asylum into the United States if often life-altering, but daunting—especially without legal representation. With immigrant enforcement actions on the rise, and shifts in the immigration laws afoot, having a lawyer to navigate the asylum process is perhaps more necessary than ever. Accordingly, the need for lawyers is perhaps greater than ever.

For years, Jenner & Block has worked with the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), a Chicago-based legal aid organization which provides representation for immigrants and asylum seekers, and advocates for policy reform. In 2017, we partnered with our client GCM Grosvenor (GCM) to take on five asylum cases from NIJC’s case list. 

Partner Wade Thomson, co-chair of NIJC’s leadership board, coordinated a training session by NIJC lawyers at our Chicago office for our lawyers and GCM in-house lawyers who are new to asylum cases. At the training, attendees broke into groups and met separately with the five asylum clients, including a Mexican woman who fled death threats from gangs and a gay man who fled Nigeria, which has strict laws against homosexuality. 

“Representing people who have literally ran for their lives is a significant responsibility we welcome,” said Wade. “We applaud GCM for its leadership and willingness to take on challenging pro bono cases. Such partnering between in-house and outside counsel is a great model for getting more lawyers involved in pro bono.”

“Collaborating with our external counsel gives busy in-house lawyers a chance to leverage additional resources to work on more complex pro bono cases,” said Tony Neuhoff, GCM’s vice president, legal and compliance. “GCM’s partnership with Jenner & Block has given many of our lawyers the opportunity to engage in meaningful pro bono work alongside very experienced co-counsel.”

“Immigration is a critical issue today,” said Terri Mascherin, a partner in Chicago who is responsible for the GCM relationship. “This project gives us the opportunity to help truly deserving clients who can’t return to their home countries because of persecution. It’s especially rewarding to partner with our good client, GCM Grosvenor, in doing this important work.”

Additional Jenner & Block lawyers working on the cases with GCM included Partners Olga Loy, Peter RosenbaumAndrew Vail and Shaun Van Horn; Associates Michael BolosKatharine CilibertiSkyler Silvertrust and Erica Smith; Staff Attorneys Neil BerkowitzAlexander Ghantous and Leonardo Morales; Discovery Attorneys Pedro Fernandez and Dmitry Halvorsen; former associates Alan Iverson and Yasmin Kurukgy; and former discovery attorney Tanisha Hawkins.

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generating a global impact

At the beginning of 2017, Jenner & Block’s London office established a relationship with Advocates for International Development (A4ID), a global charity whose mission is to engage leading law firms to provide pro bono legal assistance aimed at overcoming poverty in developing nations.

In addition to providing pro bono legal advice direct to A4ID on IP matters, our partnering with A4ID has generated a range of worthwhile mandates for a number of new pro bono clients. Throughout 2017, the London team has been advising Engineers Without Borders, a global network that promotes sustainable technology and clean energy, on UK data protection compliance and cybersecurity. We are also acting for the US-based Global Alliance for Legal Aid in connection with a Ponzi-scheme fraud that has affected the lives of thousands of ordinary people in Uganda, and we’ve been advising Amnesty International in relation to the rules regarding disclosure of documents and information, freedom of information and intrusive surveillance.

As solicitor-advocate and partner in our London office, Christian Tuddenham has been advising Komaza Forestry, a Kenyan non-governmental organization (NGO), on its contractual arrangements with local farmers as part of a large-scale forestry project in Africa.

“The Komaza Forestry project aims to reduce poverty through training farmers in forestry management,” Christian explained. “They needed assistance preparing a standard form contract to formalize the NGO’s relationships with the farmers that it supports.” 

Christian spoke further on his involvement, as well as his views on the impact of pro bono initiatives:  “It was a simple enough request, but whether you are in Kenya or the UK, legal services are expensive in relative terms. So many NGOs and charitable organizations, and those whose lives they seek to improve, simply cannot afford good quality legal advice. In that context, even a few hours of our time can make a real difference.”



Helping Unaccompanied Minors

In October of 2017 and in January of 2018, about 20 young people facing deportation from the United States – legally called “unaccompanied minors” – came to Jenner & Block’s New York office for day-long clinics aimed at screening them for immigration relief.

The firm partnered with KIND, or Kids In Need of Defense, to run the clinic. KIND’s mission is to protect children who enter the US immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no such child appears in immigration court without representation. The firm has a longstanding relationship with KIND and has handled many immigration cases referred to the firm from them.

The clinics held last fall and this year represented the first time that Jenner & Block and KIND joined forces to screen young clients on-site and direct them to their next steps in the immigration process.

The firm participants – including lawyers, staff and others – first underwent a training session and then jumped into the work, interviewing one or two clients each. At the end of the screening process, the interviewers would guide the clients toward the appropriate next step, such as applying for a visa or asylum, and set them up to find lawyers to seek that immigration relief.

The firm team that organized the clinics with KIND included Partner Michael Ross, Associates Jacob Alderdice and Thomas Garza and Legal Assistant Azza Khalifa.

Among the many groups, organizations and clinics we support are the following: