January 14, 2010 4:26 PM
Am Law Firms Join Haiti Relief Effort
Posted by Ross Todd
As The Am Law Daily continues to monitor the news coming out of Haiti, we decided to contact a handful of law firms to find out what they might be doing in response to the crisis created by the Caribbean nation's largest earthquake in 200 years.
Angela Vlachos Ruth, head of Holland & Knight's charitable foundation, says the firm will sponsor a "casual for a cause" day Friday. Lawyers and staff can come to work in jeans in exchange for making donations to quake relief. Vlachos Ruth says the firm--which has designated the American Red Cross as its primary charity but will accept donations earmarked for other relief organizations as well--will match the first $100,000 in individual contributions made by employees and partners. "People want to help and it's nice that we can do this together as a firm," she says.
DLA Piper plans similar fund-raising efforts in various offices, says firm spokesman Jason Costa. For these so-called denim days, employees who contribute at least $5 to relief efforts can wear jeans. Costa says lawyers and staff will have a variety of options for making their contributions including via direct payroll deductions. The firm is also looking for ways that it's global nonprofit affiliate, New Perimeter, can provide direct pro bono services in Haiti as soon as it is feasible to do so.
Dewey & LeBoeuf chairman Steven Davis sent out a memo Thursday morning letting lawyers and staff know that the firm will be making donations totaling $100,000 to the American Red Cross, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and an orphanage called Center of Hope (Haiti). In the memo, Davis also encouraged staffers and lawyers to make individual donations through the firm by next Wednesday.
The Kirkland & Ellis LLP Foundation contributed $100,000 to the American Red Cross and an orphanage in Haiti called Grace House of Hope for Girls. The firm says the initial foundation donation will be supplemented by individual gifts from Kirkland's staff and lawyers.
Hughes Hubbard & Reed has set up a donation page at UNICEF's Web site where staff and lawyers can donate money. The firm will also be making a contribution to UNICEF. Hughes Hubbard also will soon begin collecting nonperishable food and baby items in its New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Los Angeles offices to donate to UNICEF partner Food for the Poor.
As previously reported by Above the Law, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker created the Paul Hastings Cares Foundation, Haiti Earthquake Fund in response to the crisis, and seeded the fund with $100,000 earmarked for Doctors Without Borders - Haiti Earthquake Response.
This isn't the first time Am Law firms have responded generously in a time of crisis. According to a 2005 survey by The American Lawyer, 48 Am Law 200 firms contributed almost $8 million for the victims of the December 2004 South Asian tsunami. Sixty-nine percent of those firms donated $100,000 or more, according to a report by The Am Law Daily's colleague Amy Kolz.
Update, 1/15/10, 11:40 a.m. - A steady stream of news from several law firms about their support of relief efforts in Haiti has come through this morning. We encourage the use of the comments feature on this post to share, in a couple of lines, news of your firm's contribution.Make a comment