Pro Bono

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Kirkland is committed to providing legal services without charge to those who cannot afford counsel, with the goals of improving lives, bettering communities and deepening our professional experience.

Pro bono opportunities are available to all attorneys at Kirkland — summer associates included — and offer a broad variety of projects to appeal to different interests, time commitments and experience. Our award-winning pro bono work includes immigration law, disability rights, civil rights, prisoner rights, death penalty cases and criminal appeals, discrimination cases, guardianship, health and patient rights, veterans’ benefits, and the representation and counsel of various nonprofit organizations, among other areas. 

As soon as attorneys join Kirkland, they can bring pro bono matters in to the Firm. Kirkland also generates a substantial number of pro bono matters through our partnerships with public interest organizations, and attorney pro bono coordinators in each of the Firm’s offices assist their colleagues in finding interesting, rewarding pro bono projects. 

Our attorneys receive the same billable hour credit for pro bono work as billable work. In 2015, more than 72 percent of our attorneys devoted 20 or more hours to pro bono. 

Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Fellowship Program 

The Kirkland & Ellis Pro Bono Fellowship Program, which the Firm’s Chicago office hosts in conjunction with the University of Chicago Law School, started in 2010. The program provides a unique opportunity for law students, during the summer following their first year of law school, to gain practical experience in a law firm setting while engaging in public interest legal work. 

The Public Interest Law Initiative 

Each year, Kirkland funds multiple postgraduate fellowships as part of the Firm’s commitment to the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), an organization with a mission to cultivate a lifelong commitment to public interest law and pro bono service within the Illinois legal community. The fellowships allow incoming Kirkland lawyers to work at public interest legal aid organizations across Chicago while studying for the bar exam. The legal aid organizations help clients become citizens, buy homes, adopt children, secure disability benefits and gain asylum, among many other achievements. Kirkland sponsors approximately 30 PILI Fellows every year, the most of any law firm in Chicago.

New York City Public Service Fellowships 

Kirkland’s New York office annually awards Public Service Fellowships to outstanding law school graduates from Columbia Law School and the New York University School of Law for a year of public service work aimed at addressing unmet legal needs in New York City.

Pro Bono Recognition


Kirkland Recognized on The National Law Journal’s 2016 Pro Bono Hot List

ABA Death Penalty Representation Project Awards

Above & Beyond Pro Bono Awards

Law360 Pro Bono Firms of 2015

Kirkland Receives Empire State Counsel Silver Award



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