Pro bono is an integral part of Quarles & Brady's culture. The firm’s commitment to outreach speaks to the values held in high regard by our firm and our attorneys. Last year, Quarles & Brady attorneys dedicated almost 24,000 hours of pro bono time to individuals and organizations in need.
We recognize that there is a gap—a substantial one, in fact—between those who need legal representation and those who can access it. Too many people are forced to go it alone when facing a crisis such as eviction, deportation, custody, and domestic violence. By donating their time, skills, and resources, Quarles & Brady attorneys help reduce this gap and provide much needed support to families in need.
- In 2016 Quarles & Brady donated 23,101 pro bono hours. In 2017, that number was 23,626 hours, which equates to more than $8.2 million.
We work with dozens of organizations on both a local and national level, including the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program. In August 2017, the firm launched its partnership with this nonprofit organization which assists veterans in accessing disability benefits. We trained more than 70 people—both internal to the firm as well as attorneys from client and other organizations—live in Milwaukee and via our videoconference capabilities to all other offices. In February, we will host another live session in Tampa.
SPOTLIGHT: The Milwaukee Eviction Project launched December 2016
Legal Action of Wisconsin’s Eviction Defense Project (EDP) launched in December 2016. The program is court-based and provides free legal aid for low-income tenants in Milwaukee County facing eviction. Quarles & Brady is proud to be in on the ground floor of this initiative, and to have assisted in its creation. With the aid of Quarles & Brady and other volunteer attorneys, the EDP is helping to keep families in their homes and to stabilize neighborhoods. Volunteer attorneys may find a defense to an unlawful eviction, help negotiate a payment plan to keep a tenant in their home or secure a more practical move-out date, and even seal records, making it easier for tenants to find stable housing in the future.
Since January 2017, the clinic has:
- Assisted 329 unique clients (across all of 2016 only 112 tenants had legal representation).
- Engaged 96 volunteers: 81 attorneys and 15 students which collectively have donated 700+ hours of time.
The Gonring Award
The Gonring Award is named in honor of retired partner Michael J. Gonring who served as the firm’s national pro bono coordinator for 15 years before retiring in 2016. The awards honor volunteer attorneys or teams who demonstrate dedication to the development and delivery of legal services through one or more pro bono projects during a fiscal year. The firm donates $1,000 to a nonprofit designated by each winning team/attorney.
2017 Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award winner
E. King Poor
Partner | Chicago office
King, has worked for years to coordinate and lead pro bono cases in appellate courts across the country. He uses these appointments to work with younger associates, providing them with hands-on opportunities to work on appeals. He has represented clients in more than 100 appeals, including those involving arbitration, class action defense, commercial litigation, creditors rights and bankruptcy, employment, environmental claims, real estate disputes, school law, trusts and estates, and government regulatory matters.
2017 Pro Bono Associate of the Year Award winner
Emily K. Fons
Associate | Milwaukee office
Emily heads up the Volunteer Lawyer project with Legal Action of Wisconsin where she helps find legal representation for petitions at domestic abuse injunction hearings. This year she worked with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic and Milwaukee Justice Center to bring a recurring clinic to the Sojourner Family Peace Center. The new clinic assists individuals already receiving services through the Center, including sexually abused women and children, and homeless women living in the attached shelter.
2017 Pro Bono Team of the Year Award winners
Rachel A. Graham
Partner | Madison office
Partnering with the ACLU and Juvenile Law Center, this team has brought suit in federal court against four Wisconsin state officials citing unconstitutional use of solitary confinement and inhumane conditions at the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and the Copper Lake School for Girls. To date, the team has filed a complaint, moved to certify a class, tried an evidentiary hearing for a preliminary injunction, and is preparing for a June trial. This involvement has required a substantial commitment of time and effort.
2016 Pro Bono Partner of the Year Award winner
James I. Kaplan
Partner | Chicago office
James’ pro bono involvement includes working with Northwestern Law School’s MacArthur Justice Center Clinic (MacArthur Center) and serving as an advisory board member for the Northwestern University Law School Center on Wrongful Convictions. In the past several years, James has helped secure the release of a dozen men wrongfully convicted of murder in Illinois. This past year he also led a team for the National Innocence Network that won a major decision at the Illinois Supreme Court on witness identifications in homicide cases.
2016 Pro Bono Team of the Year Award winners
Lauren R. Harpke
|Hillary J. Wucherer
Partner | Milwaukee office
A team of attorneys in the Milwaukee office, led by Lauren Harpke and Hillary Wucherer, was recognized for their provision of pro bono legal services to more than 100 families, most of whom were parents seeking guardianship rights for their disabled children coming of age.
2016 Pro Bono Associate of the Year Award winners
Hunter G. DeKoninck
Associate | Indianapolis office
Hunter started a legal clinic in partnership with Wheeler Mission Ministries. The legal clinic marshalls support from Quarles & Brady attorneys, as well as dozens of attorneys from other local firms and government agencies, to assist Wheeler residents with their questions surrounding court hearings, family law disputes, debt issues, criminal expungement, wills, and other issues.
Julia J. Koestner
Associate | Phoenix office
Julia provides pro bono assistance to the Florence Immigration & Refugee Rights Project, which offers services to detained adults and unaccompanied children facing immigration removal proceedings in Arizona.
Associate (now Partner) | Tampa office
Colleen is recognized for her work in representing a client in a clemency application. Her efforts helped to commute the sentence of her client from life in prison to 360 months.
For More Information
For further detail regarding the depth and breadth of our various pro bono initiatives, please contact Dawn Caldart, our Director of Pro Bono & Professional Development at (414) 277-5553 / [email protected].