Beveridge & Diamond attorneys help members of their local communities, and beyond.
“I have been privileged to work closely with incarcerated individuals to help reduce their prison sentences. My clients share their experiences with me, both those leading to their incarceration and within the prison system.
The struggles that they face, often as young adults without a good education or positive role models, have opened my eyes to a significant failure in our society in this regard. My clients have expressed their appreciation for having somebody ‘on the outside’ stand up for them, and I am grateful to be able to give them a voice and to petition for change.”
–Sarah Kettenmann, Associate
Inspiring and Crucial Work
More than half of B&D’s attorneys—principals and associates— participate in the firm’s pro bono efforts and exceed the total hours and targeted percentages set by the American Bar Association.
The firm’s pro bono work focuses on wills and trusts execution, immigration and refugee support, landlord-tenant issues, and criminal clemency cases. Our attorneys work with the International Refugee Assistance Project, Kids In Need of Defense, D.C. Legal Aid, the Environmental Law Institute, and the Justice and Diversity Center for the Bar Association of San Francisco.
“Our clients needed support to navigate the complex court system in the District of Columbia to fight for their rights to have a safe and comfortable home, but they could not afford ordinary legal assistance. It was a hard fought battle and at several points became emotional. We studied the law; we listened to our clients’ concerns; we crafted, tested, and succeeded with litigation strategies that helped secure a meaningful victory for our clients.
“From court observations and conversations with our community partner, we learned that every year numerous families and individuals living in Washington, D.C., face landlord-tenant disputes but cannot afford legal representation. We are proud that we helped some of them obtain the justice they deserved.”
–Shengzhi Wang, Associate
For years, we have worked with individuals in the AIDS clinic at the Whitman-Walker Center, where we have received awards for establishing the wills and estate counseling clinic, for accomplishments in particular cases, and for the firm's overall commitment. More recently, we have served clients on behalf of the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, or CAIR. In 2017, CAIR named associate Dacia Meng to its Pro Bono Honor Roll.
The firm also has strong relationships with the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Inc., and the Migrant Legal Action Program.
“The significant pro bono asylum work that the firm does is inspiring and crucial. Last year, my colleagues and I secured asylum for a gay Muslim man from West Africa who was fleeing his home country due to widespread persecution against members of the LGBT community.
“Being a member of the LGBT community myself, it’s hard to put in words how meaningful and important it was to help our client defend against his deportation and obtain legal status in this country.”
–Anthony Papetti, Associate
An Established Culture of Doing Good
B&D credits pro bono hours as billable hours, applied towards bonuses and performance reviews. Our policy alleviates any notion that associates must sacrifice career advancement to do good work for those in need.
“Our firm supports lawyers who take on substantial pro bono cases that can extend for months and can occupy nearly all their time. At the same time, attorneys are encouraged to take small cases according to their case load, allowing them to develop experiences in refugee law, constitutional law, wills and trusts, and litigation support. With success stories floating around the firm, attorneys feel comfortable knowing that they can take on pro bono cases of any size.”
–Zaheer Tajani, Associate
Savoy Elementary School
Beyond representing clients in pro bono legal matters, the firm’s outreach at Savoy Elementary School is an important, long-standing part of its commitment to the Washington, D.C., community. One of the highlights of the school program involves teaching a six-week environmental science program to fourth or fifth graders each year, culminating with a field trip on the Anacostia River. For many Savoy Elementary students, this program is their first exposure to environmental science. For many attorneys, this program becomes one of their most meaningful ways of engaging with the future.
Attorneys are encouraged to seek out cases of interest and passion to pursue. As a result, the firm’s pro bono work is diverse and not limited to a few programs with which it maintains special ties.
“I’m so proud of the relationships we have developed over the years with the Whitman Walker Clinic, the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights coalition, and the Legal Aid Society of DC. These institutional relationships, of course, lead us to individual clients, and our work for these individuals has enriched my life enormously over the years. For example, years ago, we secured asylum for a man from Rwanda who feared for his life after supporting a political candidate. We helped him get asylum, and then did the same for his wife and four kids. Today, the children are thriving—one just graduated with a degree in engineering, another is in nursing school, and the others are working and going to school. These folks have changed our lives and this work is clearly as important to the firm and its ideals as our environmental work.”
–David Friedland, Principal
- The firm won a case in which a federal court ruled that a public school system had denied its client, a nine-year-old child with mental disabilities, the special education mandated by federal law in light of her condition. The court upheld a mandate that the child be given special educational support.
- Three B&D associates tried a medical malpractice case before a jury in federal court on behalf of a poor and, until recently, homeless woman who otherwise would have had no representation.
- Firm attorneys joined with the Migrant Legal Action Program, the Michigan Migrant Legal Service Program, and the National Housing Law Project in representing migrant workers against the U.S. government for failure to enforce labor housing regulations. The migrant worker class won on the merits, as the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan held that the government had, among other things, "abdicated its responsibilities by failing to enforce labor housing regulations requiring borrowers to follow notice and comment procedures prior to increasing rents and to roll back and refund illegally charged rent." When the government refused to remedy the problems, attorneys went back to court to secure appropriate injunctive relief, and later obtained a ruling of contempt against the U.S. government.
- A B&D associate worked with an incarcerated individual in applying for clemency and secured a commutation of his sentence approximately eight years earlier than his original release date.
- The firm participates in the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative and pledged to provide $500,000 worth of pro bono legal services by the end of 2020 in support of environmental sustainability.