Our Commitment To The Community We Live And Work In
From the beginning of its existence, Farella Braun + Martel has supported the community through pro bono work, charitable giving and participation in charitable and civic organization events. The founding partners led by example, and are well known for their extensive contributions to the community. This commitment continues unabated today.
Farella considers pro bono matters like any other case in the office, in fact, the hours worked on approved pro bono matters are treated as billable hours. The firm does not limit the number of hours for which lawyers can receive credit for pro bono work. Associates are encouraged to further hone their skills and serve our community by taking on pro bono opportunities. As one attorney with the firm observed, “My pro bono appellate work, which included an argument before the Ninth Circuit as an associate, not only provided me with a valuable experience, but great personal satisfaction from knowing I was helping someone who would otherwise have no access to legal assistance.”
Farella is a signatory of the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, an initiative involving law firms nationwide who have made an affirmative commitment to bill at least three percent of their total billings to pro bono matters annually. Nearly every year, the firm has met or exceeded its commitment to the program.
In 2005, the Pro Bono Institute specifically recognized Farella for its vigorous efforts and dedication to the community. The Ninth Circuit bestowed its highest accolade on Jerome “Jerry” I. Braun, one of the firm’s founding partners, with its 2005 John P. Frank Award, recognizing his contributions and service to the legal community and the courts. In 2009 and in 2010, the firm was recognized for its “Outstanding Pro Bono Contribution” by the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV).
Seeking Innovative Ways To Volunteer
Since 2005, Farella attorneys have volunteered and participated each month in the Courthouse Landlord/Tenant Project: Attorney of the Day program. This program is a joint project of the Volunteer Legal Services Program (VLSP), the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) and the San Francisco Superior Court.
Each month, associates, supervised by a partner, staff the mandatory settlement conferences for unlawful detainer cases for which jury trials have been requested. Our clients are the pro per litigants in the actual settlement conferences. These conferences usually take place on Wednesday or Thursday of the week. If the matter does not settle, we take the case to trial which usually occurs the following Monday. This program has been mutually beneficial for the firm and the people whom we represent: The litigants get top-flight legal assistance and our attorneys get hands on experience in settling and trying cases.
For more than 25 years, the firm has staffed and supported the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights (LCCR) Tuesday Night Clinic, which offers walk-in clients assistance with legal matters. Rick Van Duzer has led the firm involvement in the program and in recognition of his efforts was awarded the LCCR’s Keta Taylor Colby Award in 2004.
Some ways in which we have found to give back to the community together are:
In February 2012, Farella marked its 50th Anniversary
with a community giving program
that included substantial gifts to the San Francisco Food Bank and ConnectEd, as well as a challenge to all partners, associates and staff to donate 50 hours to a community organization of their choice.
Every spring, attorneys and staff participate in Rebuilding Together's National Rebuilding Day (formerly Christmas in April). Rebuilding Together
is a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is to "preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities", assuring that low-income homeowners- from the elderly and disabled, to families with children- are able to live in warmth, safety and independence.