Cole Finegan, Hogan Lovells
Hogan Lovells orchestrates pro bono projects on an international level and a local level

by Law Week

LAW WEEK: What types of pro bono projects does Hogan Lovells take on?

FINEGAN: On a global basis, we’ve done several things. One is we have focused on something called Empowering Girls and Women. It’s the Empowering Girls and Women Initiative. And we made a commitment to that of the Clinton Global Initiative. We pledge to devote at least 56,000 hours of volunteer time and $1 million in philanthropic contributions to support that, and we have certainly done that. In fact, we made that commitment back in 2015 and as 2018 closed, we went well beyond that in achieving our goals that we’ve set.

Globally on a pro bono basis. We did 140,000 hours in 2018. And that was just attorneys, and then for staff we did 165,000.

LAW WEEK: And you have a benchmark for pro bono hours for each attorney?

FINEGAN: Twenty hours. And when you go by some of these offices, some of the doors will show who achieved what they were supposed to achieve.

LAW WEEK: How is that pro bono structured throughout the rm?

FINEGAN: Certainly, in terms of the citizenship and philanthropy, we have got a whole team that’s based in London and in Washington and New York, and those folks really run these programs.

And then obviously we have people that work within each of the offices or office administrator.

And then we also when we look at associate hours, typically we want associates to bill 2,000 hours, but we count 150 hours of pro bono time toward that goal. So we’re encouraging them not only to do that, but we recognize it and when we look at the metrics in terms of their compensation, that’s factored in there also.

LAW WEEK: On the local level, how do you organize what your pro bono efforts are as far as assigning cases and how it ts in with some- one’s hours?

FINEGAN: Over the years, we’ve just had some very interesting programs, and I can divide them into different areas. We have got a team of lawyers led by Gina Rodriguez and Jodi Scott, who have championed these four Guatemalan children who came up seeking political asylum and were separated from their families. And this is a case that’s been winding its way to the federal courts here for at least two years where we’ve de- voted thousands of hours of pro bono time. So that’s one place where we’ve done something like that.

Another one is the Rose Andom Center, which is the domestic violence center here in town, which came together after 10 years of work by Mayor Hancock and then-district attorney Mitch Morrissey and myself as the former city attorney. We raised approximately $13 million over 10 years and Hogan Lovells provided all the legal service for free. We provided hundreds, if not thousands, of hours for that.

It was a woman named Sierra Russell who tragically died unexpectedly about a year ago, but she gave hundreds of hours of pro bono, and we helped secure the land, get the land swap put in place, get all the permits, raise the dollars to do the permitting the real estate world so there’s examples of you know, some pro bono cases that I remember here in Denver that we worked on.

Then we’ve got citizenship programs that have been going on for many years. There’s one at Cheltenham Elementary that we have been doing for well over a decade where we have lawyers and staff who go there in person, and then they perform online literacy, tutoring.

They can do it in person, or we do it via telephone and computer from our offices here. So, you know, people work for half an hour each week to visit the students are to work with the students and children.

We do a Bill of Rights program there where we go and we’ve had a number of volunteers, give in-person presentations over the years to the kids at Cheltenham about the Constitution, civil rights, civil liberties, how laws are made.

We had the Women’s Bean Project that we’ve been involved in for a number of years we have up to six volunteers at anytime and they go work on the production floor side-by-side with the women in the program. That is a project that’s been in place for many, many years and it’s really about helping women who have had a hard time in life. They may have been in prison, had drug issues or alcoholism and getting them back on their feet, getting them a job.

And then we have a number of people, like my assistant goes over to the Ronald McDonald House, and they help with the meals or the cleanup or help with the families whose children are seeking treatment at local hospitals.

LAW WEEK: How have these projects specifically been identified?

FINEGAN: What we’ve tried to do over the years is certainly at the glob- al level, I think it has been very intentional and we’ve looked at different places where we think we could really make a difference.

Locally because we are so involved in the community — Hogan Lovells has been here for 26 years and now going on our 27th year — and we’re very involved in the community, so there’s a number of us who’ve been involved in the government or in different aspects of Denver life, so as we identify issues and know about them, what tends to happen is people get involved with nonprofits and they serve on the board or identify projects that they want to help with.