For the public good pro bono Review

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1 For the public good pro bono Review

2 PRO BONO COMMITTEE Jacob Bernstein, Northern Virginia Jonathan Bockman, Northern Virginia Hillel Cohn, Los Angeles Peter Dopsch, New York Tara Dunn, Denver Dorothy Fernandez, San Francisco Sean Gates, Chair, Los Angeles Steve Keane, San Diego Patrick McCabe, San Francisco Barbara Mendelson, New York Sylvia Rivera, Los Angeles Tim Roughton, London Sean Ruff, Washington, D.C. Bob Salerno, Washington, D.C. Cassandra Swain, Palo Alto Bill Tarantino, San Francisco Kimberly Van Voorhis, Palo Alto Ron White, New York Drew Woodmansee, San Diego PRO BONO STAFF Jennifer K. Brown, Pro Bono Counsel Lynn Gastellum, Pro Bono Program Assistant Sandra Nazzal, Senior Pro Bono Coordinator Kathi Pugh, Senior Pro Bono Counsel Rachel Williams, Pro Bono Counsel Cover photo Josh Dick Photography/www.joshdickphoto.com

3 From the Firm Chair Dear Morrison & Foerster Community, Morrison 2011 & marked Foerster s the pro 25th bono anniversary program of has The had Morrison another outstanding & Foerster Foundation. year. One of the oldest law firm-affiliated charitable foundations in the United States, the Foundation has been giving Our behind-the-scenes work came to fruition when California s governor signed a law authorizing the back to the communities in which Morrison & Foerster personnel live and work since The Flexible Purpose Corporation as a new corporate form in California. Susan Mac Cormac, co-chair of Foundation is funded chiefly by Morrison & Foerster partners and receives additional support our Business Department, was a leader of the California Working Group for New Corporate Forms that from firm employees (and others). drafted this law to allow for-profit companies to establish social or environmental purposes in their charter documents In its and first place year, the those Foundation s purposes on charitable par with economic giving totaled gain $16,240. in the companies In 2011, we operations. donated $3.4 It was million, also a busy including year for more civil than rights $600,000 litigation. for After disaster three recovery years of efforts litigation, in Japan. a federal Over district the years, court we and the U.S. have Department contributed of over Justice $33 sided million with to our nonprofit client, organizations, federal employee primarily Karen at Golinski, the local and level. ruled We do that the federal not Defense make donations of Marriage for Act s business prohibition development on recognizing reasons. This same-sex commitment marriages to purely is unconstitutional. charitable This landmark giving ruling remains allowed one of Ms. the Golinski hallmarks to finally of Morrison add her & Foerster. wife to her employee health insurance plan. And, after We thank years the of challenging firm s partners the and U.S. many military s of its now-repealed employees for Don t their years Ask, of Don t support. Tell We policy, remain we successfully dedicated secured to making reinstatement a real difference, to active particularly duty for two for clients our communities who had been disadvantaged discharged under children that rule. They are and now for low-income serving proudly individuals as openly seeking gay members meaningful of the access armed to justice. forces. It is rewarding to work on matters that make headlines. But we are equally proud of our work on behalf As we embark on our next quarter century of charitable giving, we hope you share our pride in of individuals and nonprofit organizations that may never make the news. Providing more than 96,000 the Foundation s enduring commitment to our communities. hours of pro bono service in 2011, our lawyers helped low-income tenants remain in their homes, launched nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and abroad, fought government agencies for veterans benefits, assisted social entrepreneurs in protecting their intellectual property, gained legal status for asylum seekers and refugees escaping terrifying conditions in their home countries, and served many other clients in need. We are pleased to share some of our clients stories in this report. Paul T. Friedman, Chair Keith The C. Wetmore Morrison & Foerster Foundation Chair, Morrison & Foerster LLP

4 pro bono: a CORE value of MORRISON & FOERSTER

5 Inside 6 Promoting Civil and Constitutional Rights 10 Safeguarding Every Child s Right to Education 14 Helping Organizations Do Good 18 Sustaining the Planet 22 Making Systems Deliver for Individuals 26 Building Inclusive Communities 30 Enhancing Fairness in Criminal Justice 34 Reaching Beyond National Borders 38 Protecting Immigrants and Refugees 42 Awards and Rankings 44 Nonprofit Clients 46 Partner Organizations Pro bono review 5

6 Liberty. Equality. Justice. 6 Morrison & Foerster

7 Promoting Civil and CONSTITuTIONAl Rights Liberty. Equality. Justice. The lawyers of Morrison & Foerster are privileged to represent pro bono clients as they ask the courts to give meaning to these abstract constitutional guarantees in the actual circumstances of people s lives. Ending Legal Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation The right of men and women to live free from bias on the basis of their sexual orientation has rapidly gained wide acceptance, with polls showing that a strong majority of Americans under 35 support equal rights for all. Morrison & Foerster s pro bono clients have been at the center of this sweeping social change, pressing key lawsuits to establish equality for lesbians and gay men. The firm s partners in these continuing efforts include Lambda Legal, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Karen Golinski, a federal employee who is married to another woman, finally has spousal health benefits as a result of a legal battle we have been waging since The victory came in early 2012, when a federal district court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law that prohibits the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional. The Golinski case took a dramatic turn in early 2011 when the Obama administration announced that it would no longer defend legal challenges to DOMA, and filed a brief agreeing with our position that DOMA denies equal protection of the law. Some congressional leaders intervened in the case to defend DOMA and the denial of insurance benefits, and they are now appealing the ruling we won. Ms. Golinski finally has insurance for her spouse and the dignity of being treated as an equal by her government. The next chapter in the story of the U.S. military s response to gay and lesbian soldiers is now being written, following the repeal of the widely discredited Don t Ask, Don t Tell policy, under which gay and lesbian members of the military were subject to discharge if their sexual orientation became known. Morrison & Foerster remains a central player in the drama. While Don t Ask, Don t Tell was still in effect, we filed suit seeking reinstatement for three men who had been discharged from the service for being gay. Two of the three have now returned to active duty, proudly serving their country once again. Another suit brought by MoFo to prevent the discharge of Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was among the legal challenges credited with inducing the repeal of Don t Ask, Don t Tell in December Pro bono review 7

8 Promoting Civil and Constitutional Rights I am honored and humbled to return to the service of my country and the job I love. I am grateful to my legal team and all of those in the armed forces who helped to facilitate this reinstatement. Staff Sgt. Anthony Loverde United States Air Force The Montana Supreme Court heard argument in early 2012 on a case we brought to win recognition and respect for the enduring relationships of same-sex couples in that state. This suit seeks not marriage rights Montana s constitution defines marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman but the establishment of domestic partnerships or a similar status that will provide same-sex couples with the same benefits and obligations that married heterosexual couples enjoy. In Tennessee, Morrison & Foerster lawyers are challenging the constitutionality of a state law that prohibits localities from adopting antidiscrimination provisions that are more protective than antidiscrimination provisions in state law, and retroactively voids all more protective local provisions. The state law was adopted quickly after the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County enacted a local law requiring businesses that contract with the city to have an employment policy protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. State law does not prohibit such discrimination. Contesting Abortion Regulations A woman who has decided to end her pregnancy faces a new requirement if she seeks an abortion in the state of Texas: she is subjected to an ultrasound examination for the sole purpose of making her see and hear images of the developing embryo. In 2011, the firm partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights to file a class action lawsuit against this statute. We contended that this law profoundly intrudes on the practice of medicine, forces physicians to deliver ideological speech to patients, and treats women as less than fully competent adults, in violation of constitutional guarantees including freedom of speech, privacy, equal protection of the laws, due process, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. We won a preliminary injunction that limited the law s effect, but it was vacated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in early The district court then dismissed the case, strongly disagreeing with the Brendan Reed Associate, Corporate, Northern Virginia Morrison & Foerster s reputation for pro bono work was a core reason I joined the firm. Here, exemplary commitment to access to justice for all is not a slogan; it s an ethos that runs through the heart of what it means to practice law successfully. 8 Morrison & Foerster

9 Promoting Civil and Constitutional Rights Fifth Circuit s legal conclusions but recognizing them as binding. We continue to collaborate with the Center in considering challenges to other laws that restrict women s reproductive rights. Advancing Jury Trial Rights New York, like many other states, has enacted a law that sends certain sex offenders to involuntary confinement in a psychiatric institution after their prison terms end. In New York, the decision whether a convicted sex offender suffers from a mental abnormality is left to a jury, but a judge then decides whether to impose involuntary confinement. Morrison & Foerster lawyers represent a convicted sex offender who completed a six-year sentence for his crimes in 2006 and has remained involuntarily confined to a state psychiatric institution ever since. We are not challenging the state s authority to impose post-prison confinement on sex offenders. Rather, we contend that our client and other offenders are entitled under the state and federal constitutions to have a jury decide whether to keep them in custody based on their mental state. The case is pending before the New York Court of Appeals, the state s highest court. Janie Schulman Partner Litigation Los Angeles My most heart-wrenching pro bono matter was when I obtained an order that the adoptive parents of a threemonth-old baby (a kind minister and his wife) return the baby to my client who was the birth mother. My client was an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador who had been coerced into releasing her baby by an unscrupulous adoption organization. Since the baby probably would have had an easier life with the minister, my decision to take the case was not popular. But if I had it to do all over again, I would. I am proud that MoFo supports its lawyers in doing what is right even when it is not popular Pro bono review 9

10 fulfill potential 10 Morrison & Foerster

11 Safeguarding Every Child s Right to EduCATION The guarantee of a free and appropriate public education is a cornerstone of equal opportunity. Morrison & Foerster lawyers are profoundly engaged in making this guarantee meaningful for children of all incomes, talents, and abilities. We keep an eye out for those who are falling through the cracks of overstrained systems, and are proud to advocate for these children at every level, from administrative hearings to class action lawsuits, hoping to win them their best chance at fulfilling their potential. Protecting At-Risk Students from Teacher Layoffs A concentration of inexperienced teachers in schools that serve the neediest children is a common feature of urban school districts. As teachers gain tenure, they tend to transfer to schools with more resources and less challenging students. Then, when budget cuts force teacher layoffs, the last hired, first fired principle can decimate the teaching corps at the schools that are struggling the most. This was the case for three inner-city middle schools in Los Angeles that lost 40% of their teachers to layoffs in 2009, and faced similar cuts in Morrison & Foerster, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Public Counsel Law Center, stepped in to interrupt this dynamic. After filing Reed v. State of California, we won a halt to imminent layoffs with a court s finding that high teacher turnover devastates educational opportunity, and that new layoffs would violate the students right under the California constitution to equal educational opportunity. We reached a settlement with the school district to protect students at these and 42 additional at-risk schools from bearing the brunt of future layoffs, while also adopting new retention incentives for both teachers and administrators. An appeal by the local teachers union resulted in a ruling that the settlement is invalid, so we are now seeking review by the California Supreme Court Pro bono review 11

12 Safeguarding Every Child s Right to Education The spectacular result of Morrison & Foerster s advocacy is an opinion being hailed around the country for the important principle it reinforces: a difficult parent does not excuse a school district from its obligations to provide services and supports to children with disabilities. Jennifer Clarke Executive Director, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Advocating for Students with Disabilities In the United States, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA, promises children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible. A similar guarantee supports special education services in Great Britain. Morrison & Foerster attorneys continue the firm s long tradition of helping children reach their potential by advocating for special education services. In an important victory at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, we prevailed on behalf of a child with autism against the Anchorage, Alaska school district for failing to provide him an appropriate education. We won reversal of the lower court, which had ruled that the school district was meeting the boy s needs, even though he was actually losing ground on key educational aims. Following this success, the school district agreed to fully fund the child s education throughout his school years and to repay his parents for the costs they incurred because the district didn t follow the law. Attorneys in our New York, Los Angeles, and London offices are working with families individually to help children with disabilities gain the free and appropriate education to which they are entitled. In New York, for instance, we helped a 16-year-old girl who was incarcerated gain special education services. We are also advocating for an 18-year-old who remains in the 9th grade because he has not received adequate assistance with his serious reading deficiencies. Kimberly Van Voorhis Partner, Litigation, Palo Alto My most memorable pro bono moment was the day the foster parent rate increases in California took effect. What was particularly rewarding was knowing that our victory had an impact on thousands of abused and neglected children across the state. Finally, the caretakers of these children were getting the money they needed to keep their foster children healthy, happy, and safe. I keep a scrapbook in my office filled with handwritten thank-you notes and pictures. When I come into my office it reminds me every day that these are real people with real problems, and through our pro bono efforts, we made the world a better place for them. So if you ever wonder why I do pro bono, I would say, Come by my office, and you ll see exactly why. 12 Morrison & Foerster

13 Safeguarding Every Child s Right to Education Eliminating Unconstitutional School Fees Struggling public schools may be tempted to balance their budgets by charging student fees for anything from extracurricular programs to required workbooks. At least in California, however, such fees have long been recognized as unlawful because they violate the state constitution s guarantee of free public schools. Morrison & Foerster has joined a local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge these fees, in a lawsuit that is now underway in state court. Enhancing Parental Involvement in Education Parental involvement is one of the most powerful influences on a child s educational attainment. However, parents often lack information, understanding, and the confidence to engage with the school system and to advocate effectively for their children. Morrison & Foerster attorneys joined with pro bono attorneys around the country to contribute to a project organized by the national Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to give parents the information they need to be successful advocates for their children in obtaining a quality education. Attorneys researched local regulations and procedures on special education, school discipline, dress codes, English-language learners, ability grouping, and graduation requirements in multiple jurisdictions. The Lawyers Committee and its partners are providing the research directly to local parents and advocacy groups, and to the public on the Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program website: Obrea Poindexter Partner Financial Services Washington, D.C. Pro bono work provides me with a much different kind of personal satisfaction than the work I do for other clients, because I know my pro bono clients could never afford to pay for our legal assistance Pro bono review 13

14 build capacity 14 Morrison & Foerster

15 Helping OrganizATIONS Do good Nonprofit organizations play an essential role in the United States and around the world in meeting basic human needs and enriching our lives. Not only does Morrison & Foerster routinely advise hundreds of nonprofits each year; the firm is also at the forefront of the movement to permit new corporate forms that allow businesses to have a double bottom line : making a profit and advancing social or environmental goals. Giving a Boost to Flexible Purpose Corporations On January 1, 2012, the Flexible Purpose Corporation came into being as a permissible corporate form in California. Morrison & Foerster was instrumental in this development, as a leader of the California Working Group for New Corporate Forms that drafted the law. A Flexible Purpose Corporation is a for-profit company that has established social and/ or environmental purposes in its charter documents, and that places those purposes on par with economic gain in the company s operations. This form gives entrepreneurs who want to combine traditional business goals with social betterment missions a choice beyond the usual nonprofit or for-profit dichotomy. A How-To Guide for Social Entrepreneurs Responding to the lively interest in social enterprise on both sides of the Atlantic, TrustLaw Connect, a pro bono clearinghouse organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, requested help in creating a Guide to Social Enterprise in England & Wales and the U.S. A group of Morrison & Foerster attorneys, based in London and San Diego, has taken on the project. The guide will describe possible legal structures for social enterprises in the target locations, including information on establishment, taxation, liabilities, and sources of finance. It will also offer case studies, templates, links to useful websites, and documents for use in the incorporation process Pro bono review 15

16 Helping Organizations Do Good The time and attention you put into reviewing all of our documents and making certain they meet both California law and best practices is greatly appreciated. Your efforts help to ensure that we will continue to provide meals with love to people in the Bay Area who so greatly need our services. Ed Lamberger Chair, Board of Directors Project Open Hand Carrying Out a Donor s Intent Many people make significant contributions to the nonprofit organizations they believe in by naming charities in their wills. When an individual attempted to thwart a deceased couple s intent to leave property to Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services in Los Angeles, Morrison & Foerster attorneys undertook what turned out to be a legal saga that was finally brought to a successful conclusion in The couple had created a trust for their mentally disabled son, with the remainder of the trust property designated to pass to the son s wife or children upon his death. If he died without a wife or children the balance would be donated to Didi Hirsch. The son, in his old age, was befriended by a woman who, at age 57, attempted to arrange for the son to adopt her as his daughter so that she would receive the trust proceeds once the son died. The adoption court denied the adoption petition but the woman persisted, petitioning the probate court for an order declaring her to be the equitable adoptee of the son who, by then, had passed away. In 2010, our attorneys obtained a court order establishing that, as a matter of law, the woman was not an equitable (or any other kind of) adoptee. The woman appealed. After argument, the California Court of Appeal affirmed and the California Supreme Court denied review, at last ensuring that the donors intent to benefit the suicide prevention program of Didi Hirsch was carried out. Preserving Community Resources The AIDS epidemic has inspired the creation of countless nonprofits to address the widely divergent needs of different communities affected by this disease. Some of these earlier-established organizations now struggle for survival, placing community members at risk of losing essential services. Morrison & Foerster attorneys in California advised the San Francisco AIDS Foundation as it took on the programs and employees of the STOP AIDS Project, formerly a separate organization. The deal broadens the scope of Sophie McGrath Of Counsel, Corporate, London In London, our social enterprise clients often require new and novel ways of using existing corporate forms to achieve their aims. This challenges us to work with them to develop such structures, knowing that in doing so we are promoting the growth of social enterprise in the UK. 16 Morrison & Foerster

17 Helping Organizations Do Good the San Francisco AIDS Foundation s programs, while enabling the community-based HIV education and prevention programs of the STOP AIDS Project to continue to serve the gay and bisexual population in San Francisco. Intellectual Property Protection Morrison & Foerster attorneys in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., provide extensive trademark assistance to nonprofit organizations, enabling them to protect the names and logos that become integral to their brand. Current trademark clients include Project Bandaloop, a dance company that has pioneered vertical performance on the sides of buildings and natural landmarks; Invisible Children, which uses film and social action to aid war-affected children in central Africa; and the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which is seeking to protect its musical fundraiser, Beats for Boobs. Using New Technologies to Address an Old Problem Hollaback! takes a novel approach to an old problem, using mobile technology to fight back against sexual harassment on city streets. The organization s website offers a forum for victims to share stories and provide data about street harassment so that they can map locations where such incidents occur, creating a crowd-sourced initiative to end street harassment. Morrison & Foerster attorneys are advising Hollaback! on its corporate structure and intellectual property issues. Peter Dopsch Partner Financial Transactions New York As a business lawyer whose pro bono matters are mostly for nonprofit entities, I see the benefits of our work in the small day-to-day victories we help our clients achieve a real estate lease for new space, a successful financing transaction to provide more liquidity, a contract for the development of a new program. While these projects may lack the flash of successful impact litigation, they are nevertheless important to our clients and a source of real satisfaction to us as lawyers Pro bono review 17

18 A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT 18 Morrison & Foerster

19 Sustaining the Planet Devising ways for humans to leave a lighter footprint on Planet Earth is a challenge that demands creative solutions. From protecting the Sierra Nevada mountains to spreading solar technology in East Africa, Morrison & Foerster lawyers work with nonprofit partners toward a healthier and more sustainable future. Supporting Conservation in the Amazon Basin Attorneys from Morrison & Foerster offices in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco are involved in two projects to support conservation in the vast and vital Amazon Basin: We are again assisting the Amazon Conservation Association, which is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that works in Peru and Bolivia to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon. In a new matter for the group, we are establishing a trust fund through which the International Conservation Fund of Canada will support the Association s conservation projects in the Amazon Basin. We are advising our long-term client, The Nature Conservancy, on the conversion of a pioneering carbon credit project in Bolivia into a conservation project. Some years ago, The Nature Conservancy joined an agreement with government, nonprofit, and private companies to purchase mining concessions to significantly expand a national park. The anticipated carbon credit benefits for the private companies did not materialize. We are now advising The Nature Conservancy on transforming the original project into a long-term collaboration that would continue to support the expanded national park. Designing a Healthier Environment Morrison & Foerster attorneys are providing critical business and intellectual property expertise to social entrepreneurs tackling ubiquitous environmental challenges with new, affordable household technologies. Prakti Design Lab in India designs and distributes fuel-efficient, clean-burning cook stoves that could transform the lives of three billion of the world s poorest people, who rely on biomass and inefficient, smoky stoves to cook their daily meals. Angaza Design is improving the quality of life in East Africa with pay-as-you-go solar technology. Its solar-powered household lighting and charging system runs clean, bright LED lights, charges cell phones, and powers radios, saving customers money now used to buy kerosene and batteries, while raising their productivity at night and improving their health and education Pro bono review 19

20 Sustaining the Planet We wouldn t be here if MoFo hadn t helped us incorporate, set up our governance, and taught us what we needed to know to become a fish-buying organization. Larry Collins President San Francisco Community Fishing Association Building a Sustainable Fishery In a refreshing story of cooperation for the common good, familyowned fishing businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area that want to pass down a sustainable enterprise to future generations have teamed up with environmentalists who want to maintain a healthy marine ecosystem, and the result is a community fishing enterprise that gives buyers direct access to fresh, locally caught seafood. After more than five years of work with Morrison & Foerster lawyers to determine an appropriate structure and establish functional governance procedures, the San Francisco Community Fishing Association, a fish-marketing association owned by local fishermen, is now open for business and selling fish on the wholesale market. Preserving a Park and Endangered Wildlife Clashes between human use and wildlife often appear to present an obvious solution: eliminate the human use and the wildlife will thrive. But the case of Sharp Park Golf Course near San Francisco suggests that the obvious solution is not always the correct one. Several environmental organizations sued the City of San Francisco to close most of this renowned historic golf course, where modest greens fees, classic design, and spectacular scenery provide a unique recreational opportunity to the public. The organizations claim that the course endangers the habitat of San Francisco garter snakes and California red-legged frogs. Morrison & Foerster intervened in the suit on behalf of the nonprofit San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, to join the City and County of San Francisco in defending the course. Our experts studies showed that closing the golf course would probably decrease the populations of both animals, as uncontrolled growth of invasive vegetation, increased predator populations, and other hazards took their toll. On the basis of this evidence, the federal district court rejected the plaintiffs request for a preliminary injunction to close most of the course, and the case is now on hold while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service evaluates the City s plan to Susan Mac Cormac Partner, Corporate, San Francisco I believe that with money and education comes heightened social responsibility. Here at MoFo we can provide legal services on a pro bono basis to really effect change on the local level to the dispossessed in our communities and on a global level to organizations that are implementing programs to combat poverty, disease, and (closest to my heart) environmental degradation. 20 Morrison & Foerster

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