A recent survey has revealed which firms contribute the most hours to pro bono work. However, it is not the British firms who shine, instead it is US firms who are contributing the most hours to pro bono work. Washington-based firm Arnold & Porter topped the chart in 2015 and remain high on the chart this year at fourth. Chicago-based firm Seyfarth Shaw have nevertheless taken the top position, having contributed an average of 61.13 pro bono hours per fee earner.
Hogan Lovells was the only UK-based firm in the top ten, indicating a major discrepancy between hours contributed by UK and US firms. Participation in the survey increased from 26 firms to 37 with the majority being US firms. It can therefore be argued that the survey does not paint a complete picture of the British legal market in respect of pro bono hours. Overall figures indicate that fee-earner participation in pro bono decreased in 2016, while pro bono engagement from partners increased. The survey found that when pro bono hours are factored into the appraisal process, lawyers contributed on average 40.2 hours as opposed to 20.7 hours where pro bono is not included in the appraisal process. Similarly, lawyers at firms who have put in place mandatory pro bono targets contributed 65.5 hours, whereas firms who encourage only aspirational targets average 31.7 hours.
The full results of the survey are listed below.
|Firm||Average hours per fee earner||Fee earners with more than 10 hours of pro bono (%)|
|Weil, Gotshal & Manges||56.77||56.58|
|Arnold & Porter||55.91||100|
|Morrison and Foerster||49.34||63.16|
|Latham & Watkins||46.02||61.64|
|McDermott Will & Emery||39.23||62.5|
|Simmons & Simmons||34.6||–|
|Faegre Baker Daniels||33.86||47.62|
|Debevoise & Plimpton||31.16||56.64|
|Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer||31.12||–|
|Kirkland & Ellis||24.55||42.05|
|Bates Wells Braithwaite||24.42||47.83|
|White & Case||13.66||31.28|
|Shearman & Sterling||13.52||28.86|
|Ropes & Gray||12.62||24.41|
|Mayer Brown International||10.12||28.03|
|Mishcon de Reya||8.07||11.11|
|Winston & Strawn||5.17||16.67|
|Clyde & Co||2.51||9.22|
|Farrer & Co||1.92||7.83|