Holland & Hart expects that its lawyers will donate a portion of their time and professional services to worthy public interest activities -- that is, activities that fall within traditional notions of charitable, civic, or educational endeavors and that are of recognizable benefit to indigent individuals, to the community at large, or to a recognized group within the community.In 2008, The American Lawyer's Pro Bono Scorecard ranked Holland & Hart as the number-four law firm in the country for our pro bono activities.
"We accept as a guiding principle that this firm has a special obligation to participate in public service activities without expectation of compensation and we expect each lawyer to accept and act upon that principle." - from Holland & Hart's Statement of Principles
"The firm expects that over an appropriate time period, each attorney will undertake to perform public service/pro bono public work of a significant nature, i.e., between 5-20% of the total hours expectancy for three years over a rolling three-year period." - from Holland & Hart's Public Service/Pro Bono Public Policy and Procedure
New associates are encouraged from the beginning of their tenure with Holland & Hart to take on pro bono clients. The firm does not dictate which side of a case an attorney should represent or what types of cases an attorney may undertake on a pro bono basis, although all matters are subject to conflict screening.
"On average, our lawyers commit approximately 9% of their chargeable hours to pro bono work. Because time spent on pro bono matters is encouraged, not challenged or demeaned, our lawyers can be involved in pro bono work not only without sacrificing their career goals, but as a means of furthering their personal and professional development" - David Broadbent, Holland & Hart's Pro Bono Coordinator
Commitment to Community
Holland & Hart was built upon a commitment to community and volunteerism. Our attorneys and staff continue to set new standards in community service with the creation of the Holland & Hart Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to build community through service. The Holland & Hart Foundation was created in 1998 with the objective of providing volunteers for community service projects and building community within the firm. "The Foundation's purpose is to match the talents of lawyers, staff, alumni, and their families with the needs of the communities where they live," explains Samuel Guyton, co-founder of the Holland & Hart Foundation. The Foundation is the only one of its kind in the country. Please visit our Foundation website at www.hollandhartfoundation.org.
Pro Bono Efforts
Holland & Hart has a long-standing national reputation as a law firm committed to providing legal and civic pro bono services to non-profit organizations that help others, and to those who are indigent, downtrodden, and would otherwise go without legal help.
The following is a sampling of our recent pro bono and public service endeavors and successes.
Democratic National Convention-Related Trials
During the 2008 Democratic National Convention (DNC), a group of anarchists bent on destruction took over city streets, charging into traffic and obstructing public passage. Denver police surrounded and diffused the violent mob, ultimately arresting and prosecuting about 100 people for violation of Denver Municipal Code. Dozens of pro bono defense lawyers came to assist the accused, but the City was left to handle the prosecutions. The City needed help to cover the DNC-related trials which were proceeding in parallel. Holland & Hart attorneys Michael Carrigan, Clarissa Collier, JP Martin, Brooke McCarthy, Dan Pabon and Jon Bender supported Denver's Prosecution and Code Enforcement Section in prosecuting the mass arrests. The firm assisted in more than a dozen such prosecutions, analyzing evidence, drafting briefings, negotiating plea agreements and trying the cases. At the end of the trials, most of those arrested pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial. The police and the City deserved the same quality pro bono support devoted to the accused because they saved the city that night in August.
Protecting First Amendment Rights
Utah was the first state to adopt legislation requiring sex offenders to provide all of their internet identifiers and the websites they use. In Doe v. Shurtleff (U.S. District Court for the District of Utah 2008), representing a man affected by the legislation, Holland & Hart attorneys David Broadbent, Brent Johnson, Rebecca Ryon, Cecilia Romero, and Romaine Marshall filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. They argued that the legislation violated the man's First Amendment right to free speech, including the right to be able to speak anonymously. The defendants (including the Utah Attorney General) appealed to the 10th Circuit Court, arguing that as a sex offender, the plaintiff relinquished those rights. The judge dropped the appeal. The defendants asked to interpret the statutes as only letting the Utah Department of Corrections use the Internet information for the purpose of conducting criminal investigations, barring them from releasing it to the public. The judge held that the statute violated the First Amendment: society values free speech greater than the dangers of its misuse.
Fighting for Religious Freedom
Holland & Hart attorneys Larry Montano, Robert Sutphin and Kristina Martinez and their client, a Native American Indian of the Potawatomi Tribe, pursued a religious freedom/civil rights action in New Mexico's federal district court against the New Mexico Department of Corrections and several of its employees. The client, incarcerated in state prison, alleged that the Department was unlawfully infringing upon his right to practice religion by depriving him of reasonable access to the Sweat Lodge and the materials needed to perform various ceremonies, the primary vehicle of the client's religious expression. Due to a history of disparate treatment of Native American inmates, the state promulgated laws affording certain access to practice their religion. By depriving him of access, the client alleged that the Department was violating the law and substantially burdening his sincerely held religious beliefs. Before trial was scheduled to begin, the Department offered to provide the client access to the materials on favorable terms. The firm is still awaiting a final resolution in this matter.
Preserving Constitutional Rights
Since March 2005, Holland & Hart attorneys Bill Murane, Scott Barker, Trip Mackintosh, Danielle Voorhees, Brooke McCarthy, Jon Bender, and Meghan Winokur have been representing five Guantanamo Bay detainees in habeas corpus petitions filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to vindicate their habeas rights as established in the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case of Rasul v. Bush. The goal has been to secure a judicial hearing to determine the validity of the detainees' detention, consistent with the rule of law and this country's longstanding fidelity to the writ of habeas corpus. Holland & Hart's work is part of a national effort under the leadership of the Center for Constitutional Rights. This truly historic representation has drawn the support of and accolades from leaders of the National and State Bars, the Judiciary, and Congressional leaders, as well as retired military officers and the editorial boards of many leading newspapers in the nation. As a result of these efforts, one of Holland & Hart's clients has been determined to be innocent and has been released, and two others have been designated for release without charge.
Fighting for the Rights of Citizens of a Small New Mexico Community
In November 2002, Michael Feldewert and Robert Sutphin, from Holland & Hart's Santa Fe office, achieved an exceptional victory in a challenge to New Mexico's issuance of a modified landfill permit. The New Mexico Court of Appeals decided to void a permit for a solid waste facility located in Wagon Mound - a small, isolated community along Interstate 25 between Denver and Santa Fe. The permit modification would have allowed this facility to become a nationwide dumpsite for asbestos, killing-plant offal, sludge, industrial waste, chemicals and other potentially hazardous materials.
Saving Colorado's Precious Lands
Paul Phillips, resident in Holland & Hart's Denver office, helped set up and is providing ongoing legal advice to the Colorado non-profit the Trust for Land Restoration (TLR), the mission of which is healing and restoring to conservation/habitat uses the "last, worst places" that bear the scars of mining or other industrial activity. TLR has a number of demonstration projects in Colorado, and also holds a number of conservation easements as a result of Mr. Phillips' help.
Preserving the Rockies
Tom Todd, Boots Ferguson, and others in Holland & Hart's Aspen office have worked with Challenge Aspen, which provides skiing and recreational programs for the disabled, on the purchase of a ranch in the Frying Pan River Valley for a future youth camp facility. The Aspen office is also working with the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, which provides backcountry ski huts named in honor of the WWII mountain troops who trained at Camp Hale outside Leadville, Colorado, to buy mining claims in a pristine mountain valley above Leadville and protect backcountry skiing in the area.
Helping to Make Good Things Happen
Adam Cohen and others in our Tax Practice Group in Denver recently assisted the Rocky Mountain Childhood Cancer Foundation in achieving tax-exempt status. The organization assists families with children who have cancer and blood disorders. The assistance comes in many forms, including financial help with prescription medication, negotiating reduced or waived fees from doctors, encouraging education in these areas for the children, their schools, friends and teachers, and providing entertainment to the children while they are receiving treatment. The Tax Practice Group has also assisted Shades of Blue in achieving tax-exempt status. This organization encourages children to learn about aerospace and the subjects required to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. It conducts programs at and outside of schools.
Holland & Hart's attorneys dedicated 1,850 pro bono hours in 2007 representing Pinnacle Canyon Academy (PCA), a charter school in Price, Utah, with approximately 450 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th. In 2005, Holland & Hart was asked to help PCA in a lease dispute with its landlord, T.E. Enterprises of Price, LC (TEE), which filed a law suit claiming damages of $600,000 arising out of an alleged breach of contract when PCA vacated the property. Three months after moving out of the TEE property, PCA was sued by TEE for breach of the lease. Holland & Hart attorney John Harrington represented the school throughout discovery, and, when a settlement could not be reached, represented PCA in a five-day jury trial. Although TEE claimed $600,000 in damages, the jury rendered a verdict in their favor for $234,000 and rejected 14 of the 18 claims made by TEE.