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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.

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Chadbourne & Parke LLP announced today that the Chadbourne & Parke Foundation will make an initial contribution of $100,000 to charities participating in earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. To encourage individual donations, the Firm also established a matching program, in effect until the end of February 2010, whereby individual donations by Firm employees in its U.S. and nine international offices will also be matched by the Foundation.

Troutman Sanders LLP is matching all employee cash contributions to disaster relief in Haiti, regardless of which organization they give to. The match is in effect until the end of January 2010. The firm's match will be made to either the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund or CARE.
The firm also has teamed with CARE to set up a website where employees can go to make donations to that organization, if they so wish. The link is: http://www.care.org/TroutmanSandersforHaiti

The Fulbright & Jaworski Foundation is supporting relief efforts in Haiti in response to the tragic earthquake, which caused catastrophic damage and loss of life. This tragedy calls for a generous response from all of us. In that spirit, the Fulbright & Jaworski Foundation will be supporting the relief efforts of the following organizations with contributions from the Firm:

American Red Cross International Response Fund http:/www.redcross.org

Project HOPE http://projecthope.org

To help maximize the impact of contributions to charitable organizations supporting this cause, Fulbright will match contributions from Fulbright personnel to either of the organizations listed above or any previous donation made to another 501(c)(3) charitable organization participating in the Haiti earthquake relief effort.

In this way, we can provide a small measure of help and hope to those who so desperately need it during this critical humanitarian effort.

The Winston & Strawn Foundation announced today it is responding to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti this week by donating $50,000 to Partners in Health, one of the largest public health organizations operating in the island nation that is already rushing medical assistance to Port au Prince and elsewhere. In addition, the foundation will match up to $25,000 in contributions from the firm's attorneys and staff to relief efforts through Partners in Health, for a total contribution of up to $100,000.

Cleary Gottlieb will match, up to a total of $200 for each employee (lawyers and administrative staff), contributions made to the American Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee or UNICEF to benefit the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

The firm will also be making a substantial direct donation to these organizations.

In addition, partners are making individual contributions in support of the relief efforts.

Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. will facilitate donations to the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) through their own SS&D Foundation and the firm would together match the amount of attorney and staff contributions made through the Foundation up to US$100,000.

Andrews Kurth LLP Managing Partner Bob Jewell announced on 1.15.2010, that the firm has launched an effort to raise $100,000 by 2.1.2010 to help the people of Haiti through this staggering tragedy. The firm will match dollar for dollar up to $50,000. Donations will be made to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. In addition, the firm is donating the remaining stockpiled hurricane relief water and supplies from the 2009 hurricane season. - Ashley Ronald Nelly, Senior Manager, Marketing Communications.

Regional firms are also taking steps to help in the relief efforts. Armstrong Teasdale gave $2,878 to the American Red Cross after a dress down fund-raising event on January 15. Employees in the firm’s St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri offices raised $1,878 of the total amount and the firm donated another $1,000.

Strasburger & Price has partnered with MediSend, a global humanitarian organization based in Texas that provides emergency medical supplies and equipment on a large-scale. The firm aims to raise $40,000 through employee and partner donations, and has also arranged for American Airlines to airlift critical medical materials to three recipient organizations: Partners in Health, Doctors Without Borders, and Salvation Army Emergency Relief.

Kilpatrick Stockton announced January 15th its support of recovery efforts for the many people of Haiti affected by the devastating earthquake. The firm will match up to $50,000 in contributions made by its lawyers and staff to the American Red Cross or CARE.

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