Community & Social Responsibility

Pro Bono

Inspiring and Crucial Work

More than half of B&D’s attorneys across seniority levels participate in the firm’s pro bono efforts.

The firm’s pro bono work includes wills and trusts, immigration and political asylum, landlord-tenant issues, criminal clemency, veterans’ affairs, and environmental conservation. Our attorneys support work for American Gateways, the International Refugee Assistance Project, Kids In Need of Defense, DC Legal Aid, the Environmental Law Institute, We Act for Environmental Justice, the Food Recovery Network, the Justice and Diversity Center for the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the Veterans Yoga Project, among others.

For years, we have worked with LGBTQIA+ individuals referred to us by Whitman-Walker Health which has recognized B&D for establishing the wills and estate counseling clinic, for accomplishments in particular cases, and for the firm's overall commitment. We also serve clients on behalf of the Amica Center for Immigrant Rights (formerly CAIR), which consistently names B&D lawyers to its Pro Bono Honor Roll. In 2024, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association honored B&D with a Beacon of Justice award, given to members of the pro bono legal community who are tireless advocates for equal justice.

My pro bono work at B&D has allowed me to explore areas of law outside of what I experience day to day. In the short time I have been with the firm, I have helped fill out immigration paperwork, submitted a trademark application, written estate planning documents, and helped tailor agreements for the formation of community gardens.

I've learned so much from an academic perspective and, more importantly, a human perspective. I have truly enjoyed seeing our work's positive impact on our community.

Liz Johnson (Associate, Washington, DC)

An Established Culture of Doing Good

B&D credits pro bono hours as billable hours applied towards bonuses and performance reviews. Our policy ensures that associates need not sacrifice career advancement to do good work for those in need.

Representative Work

B&D encourages attorneys to pursue cases based on their interests and passions. Therefore, the firm has ties with various organizations representing a range of client needs. As a result, B&D's pro bono work is highly diverse.

“I’m so proud of the relationships we have developed over the years with Whitman Walker Health, 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.”

David Friedland, Principal

Examples of B&D’s work include:

  • Serving as the pro bono General Counsel for the Environmental Law Instititute (ELI) and collaborating with ELI on numerous programs and initiatives.
  • Providing ongoing, periodic pro bono legal services to the Chesapeake Conservancy. We have supported the Conservancy’s work to protect land from development and provide sustainable land uses, including public access for recreational purposes, and provided legal support for its acquiring a building in Annapolis, Maryland, that now serves as the Conservancy’s new home and a conservation center that will provide space for collaboration among environmental groups. B&D lawyers also supported ongoing efforts to create a new Chesapeake National Recreation Area.
  • Providing general legal services to the Food Recovery Network (FRN). FRN was founded in College Park, Maryland, in 2011 to direct usable food waste in university dining halls away from landfills and to undernourished populations.
  • Serving as pro bono legal counsel to Farm Unity, an organization dedicated to connecting local Maryland communities through community farms. B&D helped Farm Unity receive 501(c)(3) status and regularly assists with organization governance-related legal tasks. Farm Unity has donated over 600 pounds of produce in the summer 2023 season alone to hundreds of individuals on Medicaid. The organization provides excess produce for free to patrons at their Crofton Library garden location. Farm Unity is expanding its work to enable the development of community gardens at local elementary and high schools with the support of legal services from B&D.
  • Providing ongoing pro bono services to the Sudbury Valley Trustees including assistance with various land stewardship issues and the commencement of litigation in state land court to enforce violations of a conservation restriction designed to protect sensitive wildlife habitat, water, and wetlands resources.
  • Representing the plaintiff in a lawsuit aimed to rectify the denial of legal rights to the Creek Freedmen and their descendants by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the U.S. Department of Interior. The descendants of Black Creek Freedmen (persons enslaved in the Muscogee Nation and freed after the Civil War) have been denied rightful citizenship in the Muscogee Nation based on their race. The lawsuit seeks to uphold the rights guaranteed by the Creek Treaty of 1866, aiming to restore the rightful place of the Creek Freedmen as citizens of the Muscogee Nation.
  • Providing organizational support to the Veterans Yoga Project, an organization dedicated to providing yoga classes and training for veterans and their families suffering from PTSD and mental stress-related issues.
  • In 2022, American Gateways recognized Maddie Boyer and the Firm for our work representing a Mexican mayor and his extended family who had faced years of persecution by the cartel-infiltrated government. The violence culminated in an open-fire massacre of the Mayor’s family in an attempt to assassinate him. B&D took the case more than ten years ago, taking the case from interviews to extended hearings. Finally, in 2022, following a plea for prosecutorial discretion, asylum was granted to the Mayor and all extended family members.