Overview

A deep commitment to pro bono legal work has been Foley Hoag LLP’s hallmark since we successfully represented the plaintiffs in Boston’s seminal landmark school desegregation case. Then and now, we believe that freely sharing our talents with individuals and the community makes us better lawyers, better people, and a better firm. Our dedication to pro bono work extends through our offices in Boston, New York, Paris and Washington D.C 

Pro Bono Committee Members

  • Rebecca Cazabon
  • Jonathan Keselenko
  • Erin Klein
  • Daniel Schimmel

In a typical year, Foley Hoag handles approximately 100 matters and contributes approximately 24,000 hours to our pro bono program, accounting for more than five percent of the firm’s work. We also serve the community in other ways, including board involvement and charitable organizations.

Our peers have acknowledged Foley Hoag’s leadership in pro bono work. Vault career intelligence website ranked us in the top 10 nationally in the Pro Bono category in 2016, and The American Lawyer ranked Foley Hoag 11th out of the AmLaw 200 law firms in the magazine’s 2015 pro bono report.

Key areas we address on a pro bono basis include domestic violence, gay/lesbian rights, housing, environmental protection, disability rights, health care, prisoners’ rights, voting rights, immigration/political asylum, taxation, and education/charter schools. We also advise nonprofits, inner-city businesses, artists, and domestic and international inventors.

Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights
Foley Hoag is a longtime advocate for equal rights for gay and lesbian individuals. In 2009, we co-filed a federal lawsuit with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and another firm to obtain federal benefits for same-sex married couples. The suit resulted in the first district court ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). After the ruling was appealed, the First Circuit affirmed our victory, declaring that the plaintiffs had the same federal spousal benefits as any other married couple. 

Fair Housing 
Foley Hoag has helped to protect the fair housing rights of hundreds of families and individuals. The firm’s legal work has involved challenges to steering and other discrimination in the sale and rental of housing; innovative efforts to undo the perpetuation of segregation in Massachusetts communities; and collaborations with leading non-profit advocacy and civil rights groups.

Domestic Violence 
For more than 20 years, Foley Hoag lawyers have helped victims of domestic violence and sexual assaults obtain protective orders and other forms of relief. Today, more than 30 Foley Hoag lawyers and paralegals are active in this work.  Our pioneering program has been at the forefront of legal change in this area.  Foley Hoag has represented either a party or an amicus in many of the most significant appellate cases involving domestic violence in Massachusetts.

Political Asylum
Foley Hoag lawyers regularly represent clients referred by the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project and the Battered Immigrant Women’s Project.

Race Relations
The Foley Hoag Foundation is the first and only foundation focusing exclusively on the improvement of race relations in Boston. It was established in 1980 using fees awarded to the firm for its victory in Boston’s landmark busing desegregation case. Foley Hoag lawyers frequently assume leadership roles with grantee organizations.

Awards and Honors
The firm and individual lawyers are frequently recognized for their pro bono work. A sampling:

2015

  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recognized Foley Hoag for our “extraordinary commitment” to pro bono work as a member of its Pro Bono Honor Roll for Calendar Year 2014 
  • Foley Hoag associates Kristyn Bunce DeFilipp and Caroline Donovan were honored by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice with their Pro Bono Civil Rights Award in June 2014
  • Foley Hoag received the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation Award in June 2015 in recognition of its efforts to strengthen the global rule of law, support the global social entrepreneurship movement and improve the lives of the world's poor and disenfranchised

2014

  • Foley Hoag partner Andrew Schwartz and alumnus Joshua Pemstein received the Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston’s 2014 Robert B. Fraser Award for Pro Bono Excellence in June 2014
  • Foley Hoag associates Kathleen Brill and Kevin J. Conroy were honored by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice with their Pro Bono Civil Rights
  • Foley Hoag associate Eric Haskell received the Political Asylum & Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award in June 2014

2013

  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recognized Foley Hoag for our “extraordinary commitment” to pro bono work as a member of its Pro Bono Honor Roll for Calendar Year 2012
  • The Victim Rights Law Center - Shining Star Award, associate Eric Haskell
  • Frank Murray Inn of Court Lawyer of the Year Award - partner Michael Keating
  • The American Lawyer Pro Bono Report – Ranked number 11, highest ranking Boston firm
  • Number 3 in Pro Bono category in the annual Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms
  • MACDL 2013 President's Award - partners Michael Keating and David Kluft, and associate Daniel McFadden

2012

  • Law360 – Top 10 Pro Bono Firm  
  • Number 6 in Pro Bono category in the annual Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms
  • The American Lawyer Pro Bono Report – Ranked #12, highest ranking Boston firm
  • The American Lawyer A-List – Honorable Mention category for ranking between 21-50 of top national law firms based on financial performance, pro bono activity, associate satisfaction and diversity
  • The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Award – associate Amy Senier
  • Chelsea Collaborative human rights group - Named Foley Hoag a “Social Justice Champion”
  • The Victim Rights Law Center - Shining Star Award, associate Tom Ayres
  • The Political Asylum and Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) – Pro Bono Award, associate Amy Senier
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Top Women of Law Award – Pro Bono Managing Attorney Rebecca Cazabon

2011

  • The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Award – associate Catherine Deneke
  • The Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project – 2011 Pro Bono Detention Award
  • Buzzards Bay Guardian Award - partner Jonathan Ettinger
  • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Recognition Program - honored Foley Hoag
  • The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recognized Foley Hoag for our “extraordinary commitment” to pro bono work as a member of its Pro Bono Honor Roll for Calendar Year 2011
  • The American Lawyer Pro Bono Report – Ranked #8, highest ranking Boston firm

2010

  • Law360 – Top 10 Pro Bono Firm  
  • The Political Asylum and Immigration Representation Project (PAIR) – Pro Bono Award, associate (now counsel) Punam Rogers 
  • The American Lawyer's Pro Bono Report – Top Boston law firm, top 25 nationally 
  • The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Award – associate Ramzi Ajami

2009

  • The National Legal Aid and Defender Association – honored Foley Hoag for the representation of a Guantanamo Bay detainee
  • The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under the Law of the Boston Bar Association – Civil Rights Recognition Award, associate (now partner) Robin Toone 
  • The American Lawyer's Pro Bono Report – Foley Hoag ranked second-highest Boston law firm, Top 25 nationally
  • The Women's Bar Foundation – honored the Foley Hoag pro bono program during its annual awards ceremony
  • The Victim Rights Law Center – honored the Foley Hoag pro bono program at the 2009 Shining Star Awards, recognizing the collective effort of the firm's team, along with individual contributors Tony Mirenda, Ara Gershengorn and Jennifer Cardell