Pro Bono


Across the globe, Kirkland attorneys have a passion for pro bono. Our many relationships with legal aid and social justice organizations across the world empower us to identify and aid individuals and organizations that we can help with free legal services. - Leslie Smith, Chair, Firmwide Pro Bono Management Committee


Kirkland is committed to providing legal services without charge to those who cannot afford counsel, with the goals of improving clients’ lives, bettering communities and deepening our own professional experience. In 2020, Kirkland attorneys devoted more than 139,000 hours to representing organizations and individuals in pro bono matters — some representing classes of individuals, some involving significant legal issues, and all important, sometimes life-altering, to the people and organizations represented.

We staff and support pro bono work with the same enthusiasm and resources that we devote to our billable work. Kirkland treats pro bono work equivalently with billable client work in performance reviews and for compensation purposes.

All of our attorneys — from summer associates to senior partners — have opportunities to work on a broad variety of projects that appeal to their unique interests, time availability and experience. Our award-winning pro bono work includes immigration law, disability rights, civil rights, death penalty cases and criminal appeals, discrimination cases, health and patient rights, veterans’ benefits, and the representation and counsel of various nonprofit organizations, among other areas.

We frequently partner with clients and public interest organizations on pro bono initiatives to maximize the impact of our work.

Video Highlight

In 2020, Kirkland & Ellis teamed up with Lawyers for Good Government to launch the COVID-19 Small Business Remote Legal Clinic, offering pro bono legal consultations for small business owners to help understand options available under the COVID-19 stimulus package and other programs.

139,000+ Hours Dedicated to Pro Bono

We aim to make a true impact through our pro bono work, drawing on the strength of attorneys across our global offices in 2020

89% of Lawyers Contribute Pro Bono Work

The opportunity to do pro bono work is available to senior partners and the newest associates. Pro bono time is valued and evaluated the same as billable work.

9,000+ Pro Bono Hours to COVID Relief-Related Work

More than 533 attorneys and staff engaged in COVID-related pro bono work in 2020

Video Highlight

OUR WORK AT THE PORT ISABEL IMMIGRATION DETENTION CENTER: Washington D.C. international trade partner Sanjay Mullick and D.C. litigation associate Gavin Tisdale discuss their work in Port Isabel, Texas assisting separated families with preparing for their credible fear interviews.

Kirkland Immigration Network

Since 2006, the Kirkland Immigration Network (KIN) has helped to connect our attorneys and staff with opportunities to serve immigration clients and facilitate knowledge-sharing among all members of the team who are committed to immigration matters.

Through KIN, Kirkland attorneys and staff serve immigration clients in asylum petitions, U-Visa and Violence Against Women Act petitions, appellate advocacy, know-your-rights presentations, and the representations of unaccompanied minors to obtain special immigrant juvenile status. KIN attorneys also represent immigration organizations, such as the National Immigrant Justice Center, by filing amicus briefs and administrative petitions for rulemaking. We also work closely with Sanctuary for Families, Immigration Equality and other immigration partners in representing clients seeking immigration-related remedies. 

Under the KIN umbrella are the Kirkland Immigration Intervention Project for Domestic Violence Victims and the LGBT Asylum Project. Including these projects and others under one Firmwide initiative allows these projects to benefit from the related work that each has accomplished, and provides a support framework for any immigration-related cases that attorneys take on from other organizations.

Video Highlight

OUR WORK WITH THE ACADEMY FOR GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: A public charter school striving to be a learning laboratory and incubator for the city of Chicago and the world.

Pro Bono Partnerships

We have established strong relationships with many important public interest organizations and often partner with them to represent those in need. They include such groups as the Alliance for Children's Rights, the Legal Assistance Foundation, Lambda Legal, Sanctuary for Families, the National Women's Law Center, the Western Center on Law & Poverty, the Disability Rights Legal Center and the National Immigrant Justice Center.