Pro Bono Efforts in the News

Texas Defender Service Honors Debbie McComas with Light of Justice Award

HOUSTON – Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Debbie McComas has been awarded the Texas Defender Service (TDS) Light of Justice Award, honoring lawyers who have provided pro bono representation in death penalty cases. >>

Haynes and Boone in the Texas Lawbook: Yetter Coleman, Haynes and Boone Challenge TX Foster Care System

A 13-year-old boy who was overmedicated with eight psychotropic drugs and a 16-year-old girl who has moved more than two dozen times since entering foster care are the latest examples of vulnerable Texans turning to the federal courts for help. >>

Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Recognizes Haynes and Boone Pro Bono Services

DALLAS – The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP), a joint program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, has awarded Haynes and Boone, LLP a Silver Award for Pro Bono Service, recognizing the firm for providing free legal services to the surrounding Dallas community. >>




Serving the Common Good Where We Live and Practice

At Haynes and Boone we believe that a meaningful professional career is much more than just handling major business transactions or trying complex lawsuits. Our lawyers actively use the law for helping those people and organizations who need it most but are least able to pay.

Haynes and Boone is committed to supporting such opportunities for pro bono service and believes this kind of leadership is the right thing for a firm like ours to do. It serves the common good where we live and practice.

Taking Pro Bono Seriously

Although we believe that all of our lawyers should make personal decisions about public service, we formed our firmwide Pro Bono/Public Service Committee nearly 20 years ago to coordinate pro bono legal work and other public service opportunities and match them to our lawyers and staff. The Committee includes associates and partners, and our encouragement of pro bono service is reflected in the fact that more than 70 percent of associates and nearly 40 percent of partners regularly undertake pro bono work.

Our goal is that each lawyer should aspire to at least 50 hours of pro bono public legal services per year – and our annual total of more than 11,000 pro bono hours is testimony to how seriously Haynes and Boone lawyers take the pro bono challenge.

We take these individual efforts seriously:
  • Our lawyers are all required to report their pro bono hours the same way they report billable hours
  • Pro bono time is viewed favorably in performance reviews
  • Every associate is required to handle a pro bono case as soon as they join the firm.

Achieving Worthwhile Results

The matters that our lawyers undertake are as diverse as society’s needs. For example, we represent:

  • Abused and neglected children, and unaccompanied immigrant children in the U.S.
  • Seekers of political asylum who face violence or death if they return to their home countries
  • Indigent clients who need help ranging from family violence situations to defense in death penalty cases.

Often our efforts result in well-deserved recognition. A team of our attorneys received the 2008 W. Frank Newton Award for outstanding pro bono effort after a 7-year fight to free two indigent Mexican nationals wrongly convicted and sentenced to life for murder. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered that both defendants be given new trials, and a grand jury declined to indict them, setting both free after 12 years in prison. In 2010, the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP) presented the Dallas Office of Haynes and Boone, LLP with the Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award for donating about 1,500 hours of pro bono services to DVAP clients. The next year, DVAP honored the firm with its Gold Award for Pro Bono Service when 122 Haynes and Boone attorneys and staff volunteers worked a total of 2,003 hours on pro bono matters referred to the firm by DVAP.

Meanwhile in Fort Worth, in December 2013, Clayton Youth Enrichment Services (YES!), a non-profit organization providing before and after school child enrichment programs at elementary and middle schools in Tarrant County, awarded Partner Karen Denney the Friend of Clayton Award (for nine years of service as an active board member, most recently serving as the board of director’s vice president), and Associate Lisa Normand the Community Champion Award (for pro bono services in advising on Clayton YES!’s trademarks relating to several child enrichment programs). Haynes and Boone and American Airlines were honored by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (LANWT) with the 2011 Outstanding Law Firm of the Year Award for taking pro bono cases providing quality civil legal representation to deserving low income clients.

In Houston, the firm has won designation as the Outstanding Firm Contribution Award from the Houston Bar Foundation for the firm's significant contributions and volunteer work on behalf of the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program.

Organizations we assist include:

  • Access Fund
  • Camp Fire USA
  • Clayton Youth Enrichment Services (YES!)
  • D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program's Advocacy & Justice Clinic
  • Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program
  • Goodwill Industries of Dallas
  • Houston Volunteer Lawyer Program 
  • Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
  • Justice for Children
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Promise House
  • State Bar of Texas Access to Justice Commission
  • Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas