Pro Bono & Community Service

Overview


Our McDermott family feels a personal and professional responsibility to our communities around the world. Through pro bono legal services, volunteer service or charitable giving, our lawyers and professional staff are committed to giving back. We strive each year to expand our efforts to support those in need.

We offer a comprehensive pro bono and community service program managed and led by our Firm-wide Pro Bono and Community Service Partner and the chair of our Pro Bono & Community Service Committee, which seeks to ensure that the same Firm standards of quality, service and care that are given to our paying clients are also afforded to those we serve on a pro bono basis.

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Explore Our Experience

Lifting a Financial Burden: Pro Bono Team Achieves Innocent Spouse Tax Court Victory

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Lifting a Financial Burden: Pro Bono Team Achieves Innocent Spouse Tax Court Victory

After building a family and spending years as a stay-at-home mom of three children, Melody Smith* learned through local TV news coverage that her husband, Robert*, had been indicted for fraudulent and criminal activity related to the use of client investment funds.

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Making Legal Connections to Help Immigrants Escape Persecution

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Making Legal Connections to Help Immigrants Escape Persecution

In 2003, Veronica Martinez-Santos fled to the United States from Guatemala. Her daughter, Juana, and sons Pedro and Juan Carlos followed in 2005, trekking for two weeks through Mexico to escape persecution by MS-13 gang members who had killed their eldest brother.

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Securing Financial Justice for Low-Income Seniors

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Securing Financial Justice for Low-Income Seniors

After suffering a stroke and other significant health issues by the time he was in his early 60s, California resident Matthew Reed was unable to prepare food, use the bathroom independently or perform other basic functions. He couldn’t safely remain home alone, but his wife needed to work nights to pay their rent and other necessary expenses.

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OPENING DOORS

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OPENING DOORS

With her pro bono legal team, Jennifer Arguijo spent years seeking eligibility for a change in her immigration status under a provision of the Violence Against Women Act. Their victory sets a new legal precedent and wins other abuse survivors the opportunity to petition for relief

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BRINGING A TAXING CONFLICT WITH THE IRS TO A SUCCESSFUL CLOSE

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BRINGING A TAXING CONFLICT WITH THE IRS TO A SUCCESSFUL CLOSE

After Daniel Green was paralyzed in a bicycle accident, the IRS disallowed his claimed medical expense deductions on that year’s tax return. The resulting financial burden would have forced him and his family out of their home. They worked with their McDermott team to secure a favorable settlement.

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Fighting for Proper Disability Benefits for a Vietnam War Veteran

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Fighting for Proper Disability Benefits for a Vietnam War Veteran

As a result of his military service in Vietnam, Mr. R developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and tonsil cancer, which he argued was related to Agent Orange exposure. After the war, he received monthly benefits for a 30% rating for PTSD, and no benefits for tonsil cancer, since the US Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) did not agree that it was connected to his service.

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Obtaining Asylum for an Eritrean Pro Bono Client

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Obtaining Asylum for an Eritrean Pro Bono Client

Mussie Mehari Zerae was forcibly conscripted into the Eritrean military as a teenager. When he questioned the government’s conscription policy and conditions for soldiers during unit meetings with military leaders, he was arrested and removed from his home. Over the course of more than a year, he was tortured and imprisoned in deplorable and overcrowded conditions.

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Pro Bono


It is estimated that at least 80 percent of low-income Americans go without desperately needed civil legal assistance and that more than one billion people around the world survive on less than $1 per day.

McDermott’s pro bono program seeks to bridge the gap for low-income individuals by providing critical legal services in the areas of family law, civil rights, housing, benefits, special education, school discipline, adoption and guardianship, elder abuse, criminal defense and asylum and immigration. We provide legal services to nonprofits and entrepreneurs serving disadvantaged communities. We also seek to alleviate poverty, protect human rights and effect legal and social change around the world through our collaborations with international non-governmental organizations and social enterprises.

Our Commitment in Action

Pairing Personal Passion & Legal Prowess Pays off for the Sikh Coalition

Community Service


McDermott’s volunteer service and philanthropy programs seek to revitalize the Firm’s local communities. Whether mentoring youth, sponsoring walks or runs, packaging food for the homeless or serving as board members or trustees, our lawyers and staff roll up their sleeves and get involved.

As part of our Kids First Initiative, McDermott lawyers and staff dedicate countless hours to mentoring and tutoring inner-city students, teaching students about their constitutional rights, encouraging students to pursue higher education and careers in the legal profession, and acting as mock trial and debate coaches for schools in some of the poorest communities in the United States.

Through our community service and charitable giving programs, we seek to revitalize our communities by cleaning up parks and other public spaces; painting and updating schools and community centers; landscaping low-income neighborhoods; and donating clothing, equipment, supplies and financial contributions to schools and community-based organizations.

Pro Bono & Community Service

Insights & Events / Media