Shipman & Goodwin’s unwavering commitment to pro bono service is embodied in the time and energy we devote to delivering volunteer legal services and support to those who are poor, underrepresented, or otherwise in need.
Throughout our more than 90-year history, we have actively supported pro bono service on both a firm-wide basis and among attorneys at all levels. We encourage and support all of our attorneys to use their experience for the benefit of the community, and continually look for opportunities to help those who need our skills the most. We approach work for pro bono clients with the same high level of professionalism, excellence and commitment with which we approach work for all of our clients.
Following is a list of some of the organizations and efforts we are involved in:
Connecticut Bar Association Pro Bono Network Programs
AIDS Legal Network
Draft wills and health care advance directives for persons living with HIV or AIDS, and sometimes represent them in bankruptcy matters.
Connecticut Fair Housing Center
Represent indigent or low-income tenants in housing matters, evictions and participate in advocacy activities such as writing amicus briefs in matters affecting affordable housing and equal housing opportunity.
Law Works for the People
In cooperation with this Connecticut Bar Association pro bono project, Shipman & Goodwin attorneys represent indigent clients in divorce and custody disputes, housing matters, bankruptcy proceedings, and Social Security hearings.
Lawyers for Children America
Several attorneys have completed training in advocacy for children accepting court appointments to serve as attorneys for minor children and guardians ad litem in abuse and neglect proceedings brought by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF). The attorneys visit their clients; appear in court for hearings on their status; participate in DCF administrative case reviews; and work to advocate for judicial actions in the best interests of the children.
Pro Bono Partnership
Provide pro bono legal services to nonprofit agencies serving low-income individuals: negotiating or reviewing leases, conducting real estate closings, drafting employment policies and employee handbooks, and applying for tax-exempt status.
Security Deposit Clinic
Regularly participate in a monthly clinic organized by Statewide Legal Services and Greater Hartford Legal Aid to assist indigent clients in representing themselves in small claims court to recover security deposits wrongfully withheld by landlords when apartments are vacated.
VITA and LITC Tax Programs
Represent indigent and low-income individuals in tax matters, obtaining low-income tax credits and dealing with the Internal Revenue Service on delinquency matters.
Regularly accept court appointments to represent indigent criminal defendants in state and federal trial and appellate courts covering the range of criminal defense work, including investigation, plea negotiations, trial, and appeals to the state Appellate and Supreme Courts and to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
Guardianship and Conservatorships:
Trusts & Estates attorneys accept court appointments from the state’s Probate Courts to represent individuals with guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.
Represent indigent clients in deportation and other immigration matters (after receiving training through the American Immigration Lawyers Association) and provide advice to individuals wanting to become naturalized United States citizens.
Holocaust Reparations Project
Donated free legal services and coordinated a pro bono effort to assist eligible Connecticut residents with receiving pensions from the German government under the Ghetto Work Payment Program, intended for Holocaust survivors who worked voluntarily in German-controlled ghettos. As a result of a new ruling that dramatically increased the potential number of approved applications, this was a follow-up to a 2008 initiative where firm attorneys and paralegals joined with the corporate law department of Aetna, Inc. and with Jewish Family Services to assist Holocaust survivors in applying for payments under the then-new program. The application process for this reparations payment program was complicated and beyond the capability of social service agencies.
Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE)
Provide a wide range of free legal services to survivors of domestic violence, including civil protection orders, litigation and immigration.