For more information about the firm’s pro bono program, please contact Dorothy Jackson, Pro Bono Coordinator, at or 404.885.3836.
Volunteer attorneys from Troutman Sanders Atlanta Office and another Atlanta law firm handled over 60 landlord tenant cases for Atlanta Legal Aid over the past year through the Eviction Defense Project, a pro bono effort between Legal Aid and the firms.
In our New York Office, Troutman lawyers serve as court-appointed advocates for tenants facing eviction from their New York City
apartments. Many of these clients have a physical or mental disability which prevents them from properly protecting their rights.
Each case is different but invariably involves low or no-income adults who must get city, state or federal funds to assist in the payment of rent.
Consequently, Troutman volunteers spend a fair amount of time assisting in advocating for eligibility in Medicaid, Social Security disability, food stamps, or other benefits programs.
International Pro Bono Initiatives
Lawyers in the Firm's Shanghai office assisted the founders of GIGA (Green Ideas Green Actions), an experimental program advocating green design and sustainable solutions in China. The lawyers helped the program establish a cross-border legal platform to solicit public donations to finance the project and a legal structure to host the GIGA project in the highly regulated environment for both NGOs foundation and online services in China. Our lawyers also advised GIGA on their contractual relationship with a Chinese government-sponsored foundation to leverage government resources as well as protect the business interests and intellectual property rights of GIGA.
Throughout the world, Operation Smile volunteers repair childhood facial deformities especially in cleft lips and palates while building public and private partnerships that advocate for sustainable healthcare systems for children and families. Together, volunteers create smiles, change lives, and heal humanity. The Operation Smile China Medical Mission was established in Hong Kong in 1991 to carry out medical missions and fund medical programs especially in China. Its voluntary medical teams have since traveled to over 24 cities and helped more than 8,800 children in China. A Troutman Sanders associate in the Hong Kong office sits on the board of Operation Smile China Medical Mission and is currently assisting it to set up its non-profit branch in China under new regulations allowing foreign non-profit organizations to be established in China.
Helping a Prisoner Establish a Claim of Innocence
A team of lawyers in the Richmond
office made history in June of 2005, when the Roanoke County Circuit Court held a hearing on Aleck Carpitcher
’s Petition for Writ of Actual Innocence, making him one of the first people to receive a hearing since the writ was created in 2004.
“This is a landmark case because it is one of the first hearings involving non-biological evidence held under the Writ of Actual Innocence statute,” said Steve Northup
, a partner in the Richmond
office and a board member of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which recruited Troutman Sanders to take the lead in the case.
In 1999, Carpitcher was convicted of sexually assaulting a then 9-year-old girl and was sentenced to 73 years in prison.
The girl was the only witness against Carpitcher, but he nonetheless was convicted.
The girl recanted her testimony in 2000 – nine months after Carpitcher was convicted – but Carpitcher could not present the evidence because of Virginia
’s 21-Day Rule.
She has not changed her testimony since 2000, and Virginia
’s Writ of Actual Innocence statute made it possible to bring the evidence before the court.
In November 2004, as the statute requires, the Petition was filed with the Virginia Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals ordered the Circuit Court to determine:
(1) whether the girl recanted; and (2) whether she was pressured or coerced to change her story.
Following the Circuit Court's findings in October, 2005, the Court of Appeals declined to issue a writ of innocence notwithstanding the girl’s recantation.
The case is now on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.
A final ruling in the case is expected later this year.
Notwithstanding the inability to obtain relief for the client thus far, the case is important and historic because it is one of the few cases under Virginia
’s Writ of Actual Innocence statute to have survived the initial filing of the Petition with the Court of Appeals and to have proceeded to a hearing.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Troutman has joined Microsoft Corporation, Angelina Jolie and about 30 other major law firms in an innovative project named Project KIND (Kids in Need of Defense), a program to represent immigrant children in the United States who are separated from their families and must go through the U.S. immigration process unrepresented by counsel.
D.C. Partner Wally Christensen was named to KIND Board in 2010. Other Board Members include: Brad Smith, Angelina Jolie, Pamela Passman, Lydia Tamez, Howard Buffett, John Bul Dau, Sonia Nazario, Kathleen Newland, Ambassador Eller Sauerbrey and Ronald Schechter.
Death Penalty Representation
Teams of lawyers in our Richmond and Atlanta offices have represented both state and federal death row prisoners in pursuing habeas corpus relief from their death sentences.
Troutman Sanders Provides Free Basic Estate Planning to Low-Income Individuals with Cancer
In addition to preparing advance directives and nominations of guardian for cancer patients at Atlanta's Grady Health System's Cancer Clinic, Troutman Sanders attorneys and paralegals make weekly visits to DeKalb Medical Center in Atlanta to prepare these documents for in-patients at DeKalb Medical Center in emergent situations.
Troutman Partners with Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation to Prepare Wills for Emergency Personnel in Alpharetta and East Point, Georgia
Attorneys and paralegals at Troutman Sanders, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., AT&T and Cousins prepare wills for firefighters and police officers in Alpharetta and East Point.
2010-2011 Recognitions for Pro Bono Efforts
For his service and dedication to the Washington, D.C. creative community, Richmond partner Hank Heyming will receive the 2011 Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts Large Law Firm Attorney of the Year Award. Hank will be presented with the Award at WALA’s "Celebrating Our Arts Patriots" Spring Reception honoring George Washington Law School Small Business Legal Clinic Professor Susan P. Jones on Thursday, May 5th at The Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C.
Hank is also the focus of Chapter 13 in the recent New York best seller The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. http://thankyoueconomybook.com/
At the June 25, 2010 Broadmoor Bench & Bar, the Federal Circuit Bar Association will proudly recognize Troutman Sanders LLP for its support of the general, government, and veterans pro bono programs. Incoming Chief Judge Rader (Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) will participate in the recognitions.
Troutman Sanders has been chosen as Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition's 2010 Law Firm Partner of the Year in recognition of the Firm's outstanding commitment to helping insure that detained immigrants have access to legal representation.
Troutman Sanders Selected as a Recipient of the 2010 Beacon of Justice Award by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association for its significant contributions to pro bono representation in the area of immigration law.
Holocaust Reparations Project
Troutman joined a national effort to provide legal assistance to Holocaust survivors in applying for reparations from a "Ghetto Work" reparations program established by the German government last fall. The German reparations program provides a one-time €2,000 Euro (nearly $3,000 US) payment to Holocaust survivors who worked while living in a German-controlled Ghetto. The German government estimates that there are at least 50,000 Holocaust survivors alive today who may qualify for these new reparations funds, with approximately 20,000 of those survivors living in the United States. One of the nation’s premier public interest law firms, Bet Tzedek, ("The House of Justice" in Hebrew), is organizing legal clinics throughout the United States to help qualifying survivors apply for the reparations.
Troutman Sanders Attorneys file an Amicus Brief with the United States Supreme Court
A team of attorneys at Troutman Sanders (Barbara Etkind, Prashant Khetan, Megan McClellan and Bill Hurd) recently filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of a petition for certiorari on the issue of whether a court may look outside the four corners of an individualized education plan when evaluating the content of that plan. The case is Jacob Winkelman, et al., v. Parma City School District. Troutman's amicus brief was filed on behalf of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), in coordination with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Children’s Law Center of the University of Richmond School of Law, Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee, Easter Seals of Northern Ohio, Inc., Parentadvocates.org, and Parents for Autistic Children’s Education. The Court deliberates over the summer about which cases it will hear in the October session. Click here
to read the amicus brief and here
for a press release by AOTA.