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Public service is part of Pepper's culture, and lawyers interested in pursuing public service activities will find opportunity and institutional support here. As a result, the firm and its lawyers have received several awards from public interest groups and bar associations.
As evidence of Pepper's commitment to public service, we are one of the few law firms in the nation to establish the position of Director of Pro Bono, who coordinates the firm's pro bono efforts. Our Director of Pro Bono, Joseph A. Sullivan, is an experienced litigator and pro bono attorney.
For at least four decades, Pepper lawyers have accepted unpopular and challenging cases, participating in pro bono activities ranging from death penalty litigation to civil rights class actions to individual civil matters for indigents. Over the years, we have contributed thousands of hours of professional time to public interest matters. Our work benefits the public, the individuals we serve, and the development of our lawyers' skills and sense of professional and public service.
Pepper takes on pro bono activities with the same care as other matters. Once we accept a pro bono project, we pursue it with all of the energy and attention to detail that we apply to our other work. We expect our lawyers to devote as much time as necessary to handle the project successfully. Whenever an associate handles a pro bono matter, a senior lawyer is assigned to supervise the case. To encourage our associates to take on pro bono projects, we count the hours spent on such matters, along with time devoted to client-billable matters, for purposes of meeting the firm's minimum billable hours goal. In addition, we weigh the quality of performance on a pro bono case equally with the work on any other project for purposes of associate evaluation.
Pepper receives pro bono referrals from public interest organizations, judges, other members of the bar, clients, and, occasionally, individuals who are aware of our reputation in this area. We work with or receive referrals from such diverse organizations as the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program, the American Civil Liberties Union, Community Legal Services, the AIDS Law Project, the Women's Law Project, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, the Support Center for Child Advocates, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Dauphin County Bar Pro Bono Program, and Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services.
As a firm, we have publicly pledged to devote an amount equal to 3 percent of our billable hours to pro bono work by accepting the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, and we expect our attorneys to share that commitment.