2016 in Review: 3 Philanthropy-Focused Firms We Love

December 21, 2016 Eva Issleib

Holiday greeting cards, Q4 deadlines, online shopping and some uncomfortable political banter at family gatherings all mean one thing - the Holidays are most definitely upon us.

As each of us work through the hustle and bustle of these activities that quickly fill our December, let us not forget some of the most important traditions of the season: service and giving to others.

One North would like to pause and look back on some of the wonderful and heart-warming work our clients have taken on throughout 2016. Our Brand, Creative, Strategy, Account and Technology teams have the honor of hearing, collaborating, bringing to life and showcasing snippets of these stories through digital - and we want to recap how truly amazing this work is.

“Pro Bono Publico” is an English term for “the public good," and is defined as a professional’s work undertaken voluntarily and without payment to benefit the civic good of others. Contributing volunteering hours and providing free legal help to those in need has long been a practice of many law and consulting firms, and we wanted to reflect on some unique Service and Pro Bono work we have witnessed over the past year.   

Drinker Biddle LLP devotes tens of thousands of hours to their Pro Bono work each year. This past November, Drinker Biddle received the “2016 Opening Doors Honoree” for Erie Charter School in Chicago, Illinois.

Erie Neighborhood House has been an essential social service agency since 1870 that has been serving and educating Chicago’s low-income immigrant population, and since opened a Charter School to low-income children in 2005.

Drinker Biddle employees regularly leverage their extensive legal expertise and professional networks to provide Erie House with pro bono legal guidance which led to their honorable award this year. To add to this accomplishment, Drinker Biddle also represent tenants who are incorrectly evicted, prisoners who are wrongly convicted, serve the homeless and so much more.

Sidley Austin LLP prides itself in international Pro Bono work for over 25 countries across the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This encompasses work in drafting agreements with contractors, providing healthcare to children in need, and protecting farmworkers land in rural regions.

In the United States specifically, n May of 2016, Sidley lawyers in the Dallas, Texas office obtained two favorable rulings in a long-running pro bono case on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities - which was a huge win to ensure that the state government complies with federal law for all individuals. Continuing, Sidley works voluntarily on death penalty appeals, civil rights litigation and veteran’s benefits appeals each year.

West Monroe Partners is committed to giving back to the communities in which their employees live and work as part of its 1+1+1 program designed to give back 1% of our time, talent and treasure to the greater good.  These efforts include pro-bono work for organizations like Community Health, Boyer Children’s Clinic and Student Conservation Association.

Their employees also share a common belief in making a deeper impact and bringing about change for the greater good. Specifically, West Monroe Partners' fellowship program, The Fischer Global Service Fellowship Program, supports their employees’ philanthropic and humanitarian interests with an extended three to six month compensated leave. These programs support disaster relief, help fight poverty and seek to educate people all around the globe.

As we reflect on these impressive pieces of work, this is just a small sample size of an extensive list of Pro Bono and Service stories that we simply cannot fit it all on one blog post. Whether it be advising a domestic violence victims on their legal rights or teaching inner city high schoolers about the importance of the law – this is indisputably impactful work that does not go unnoticed.  

So this December, whether you find yourself snuggled up with a hot chocolate watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (for the 4th time in a row) or putting in some late-night, coffee-filled hours with the team to complete a large project with a tight deadline – let’s all take a moment to recognize the importance of giving to those in need and the true significance it makes in the lives of so many.

As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."

Thank you to all our clients for your amazing, inspiring Volunteer, Pro Bono and Service work this year – we cannot wait to see what work 2017 brings!


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Eva Issleib Account Manager

At the time of publishing, Eva was an Account Manager at One North.

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