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The assistance and advice of our pro bono partners is vital, enabling us to leverage our internal resources and greatly increase the number of projects we undertake.

The Bren­nan Center works with dozens of lawyers from more than 30 law firms on a vari­ety of projects that further our litig­a­tion, research, and public advocacy efforts. The assist­ance and advice of our pro bono part­ners is vital, enabling us to lever­age our internal resources and greatly increase the number of projects we under­take. Pro bono work spans our program areas and can range from short-term projects to complex multi-year litig­a­tion and public policy initi­at­ives.

Gener­ally, we place litig­a­tion projects with firms that commit a senior litig­a­tion part­ner and one or more asso­ci­ates to the task. Research and draft­ing projects usually can be handled by a smal­ler group of lawyers. 

If your firm is inter­ested in part­ner­ing with the Bren­nan Center on pro bono projects, please contact Elisa Miller, at elisa.miller­

Recent pro bono projects include:

Voting Rights & Elec­tions

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Whar­ton & Garrison LLP attor­neys helped wage this success­ful suit to over­turn a law curb­ing community regis­tra­tion drives in Flor­ida. A federal judge ruled that the restric­tions viol­ated the U.S. Consti­tu­tion and federal law. The team now works to protect community voter regis­tra­tion before the Fifth Circuit. (League of Women Voters of Flor­ida v. Detzner)

Dech­ert LLP partnered with the Center, Lawyers Commit­tee, and others to repres­ent the Texas NAACP and the Mexican Amer­ican Legis­lat­ive Caucus (MALC). The group inter­vened in federal court to success­fully block imple­ment­a­tion of the state’s restrict­ive photo ID law before the 2012 elec­tion. (Texas v. Holder)

Sulli­van & Crom­well, together with the Bren­nan Center and Lawyers Commit­tee for Civil Rights, repres­en­ted inter­venor-defend­ants to oppose South Caro­lin­a’s harsh new voter ID law. The state had sued to over­turn DOJ’s decision block­ing the law. The court post­poned the new law’s effect until after the 2012 elec­tion. (South Caro­lina v. Holder)

Arnold & Porter LLP assisted the Center and others with an amicus brief urging the Sixth Circuit to block Ohio from discount­ing provi­sional ballots with tech­nical defi­cien­cies, espe­cially due to poll-worker error. (SEIU v. Husted)

Holland & Hart partnered with the Bren­nan Center to repres­ent Common Cause Color­ado to ensure Color­ado voters, espe­cially those the state deemed “inact­ive,” were treated fairly in that state’s mail-in voting process. (Gessler v. John­son)

The Center joined the Lawyer’s Commit­tee and pro bono part­ners at Bryan Cave LLP to chal­lenge Flor­id­a’s new restric­tions on early voting as racially discrim­in­at­ory and imper­miss­ible under the Voting Rights Act. (State of Flor­ida v. United States)

Davis Polk & Ward­well draf­ted two amicus briefs on behalf of the Center and the Flor­ida League of Women Voters to bolster court chal­lenges to Flor­id­a’s system of purging voters from its voting rolls. Board member and Davis Polk part­ner Dan Kolb leads this effort. (U.S. v. Flor­ida)

Cuti Hecker Wang LLP and Emery Celli Brink­er­hoff & Abady LLP helped win lawsuits  chal­len­ging the New York State Board of Elec­tions’ imple­ment­a­tion of new elec­tronic voting tech­no­logy in advance of the 2010 elec­tions. (Conser­vat­ive Party of New York State and Work­ing Famil­ies Party v. New York State Board of Elec­tions)

Davis Polk & Ward­well and other firms draf­ted a number of briefs in an import­ant voting rights case considered by the Supreme Court, which chal­lenged Indi­ana’s require­ment that registered voters show photo ID at the polling place. (Craw­ford v. Marion County Elec­tion Board)

Money in Polit­ics

Proskauer Rose LLP draf­ted an amicus brief on behalf of the Bren­nan Center and others to help defend NYC’s success­ful elec­tion public fund­ing system from a chal­lenge by peren­nial campaign finance oppon­ent James Bopp. (Ognibene v. Parks)

Hogan Lovells US LLP draf­ted an amicus brief on behalf of the Center and others arguing that the FEC erred by allow­ing donors to inde­pend­ent expendit­ure commit­tees to evade disclos­ure if they did not earmark their dona­tions for a campaign. Hogan attor­neys were led by part­ner Ira M. Fein­berg. (Van Hollen v. FEC)

Pro bono part­ners draf­ted amicus briefs before the Supreme Court defend­ing laws restrict­ing inde­pend­ent expendit­ures by corpor­a­tions.  One such brief was cited twice by Justice Stevens in his lengthy dissent. (Citizens United v. FEC)

In a long­stand­ing project, the Center defen­ded Connecti­c­ut’s public finan­cing system for legis­lat­ive races since 2006 with assist­ance at all stages from Hogan & Hartson. (Green Party of Connecti­cut v. Jeffrey Garfield) Simpson Thacher & Bart­lett also helped the Center’s defense of North Caro­lin­a’s ground­break­ing system of public finan­cing of appel­late judi­cial elec­tions. In Novem­ber 2008, the Supreme Court denied certi­or­ari, result­ing in a complete victory. (Duke v. Leake)

Govern­ment & Court Reform

Pro bono coun­sel repres­en­ted an ally in a certi­or­ari peti­tion to the Supreme Court.  The case resul­ted in a complete victory — affirm­a­tion of the right to a fair hear­ing before an impar­tial judge. (Caper­ton v. Massey Coal)

Justice for All

Debevoise & Plimp­ton LLP draf­ted an amicus brief on behalf of the Bren­nan Center in this Supreme Court case that addresses the contro­ver­sial issue of race as a factor in univer­sity and college admis­sions. Part­ners Steven S. Michaels and James E. John­son, a Center board member, led this effort at the firm with help from Amanda Block. (Fisher v. Univer­sity of Texas at Austin)

Liberty & National Secur­ity

Arnold & Porter LLP, with the Bren­nan Center and others, repres­en­ted the Al Falah Center in its suit against a New Jersey town that tried to prevent the group from build­ing a mosque and Islamic community center. (Al Falah Center v. Town­ship of Bridge­wa­ter)