New Horizons for Pro Bono Work

The pandemic continues to change law firm strategy and operations across the board.  As we all cultivate a new flexibility, Gilbert LLP is bringing a fresh perspective to its pro bono work as well.

We’re incredibly proud of the pro bono work that we’ve done here in D.C., and of the many ways that our employees come together to help those in need.  But earlier this year we saw a different kind of opportunity, and made a different kind of contribution that we hope will spark further creative thinking about our pro bono work.

In December of 2021, tornados struck Western Kentucky, causing mass devastation across the region.  Our firm had no real ties to the area, and no personal involvement in what happened.  But we saw a community in need, and talked with local residents and officials about what assistance would be most valuable to them.

In early 2022, Gilbert provided a donation to the town of Mayfield, Kentucky, helping the town rebuild an historic downtown park that had been destroyed by the tornados. 

But beyond financial assistance, several Gilbert employees also traveled to Mayfield to assist with the rebuilding and to attend the park dedication ceremony.  It was a profoundly humbling experience to see the impact that our firm was able to have on the people of Mayfield.

It’s worth asking whether we should limit ourselves to only giving back to those physically closest to us.  The world is constantly evolving and, in many ways, growing smaller.  As the legal world moves into a new phase of remote working, employees are scattered across the country.  Our own office has ties not only to D.C., but communities in Texas, Montana, and Colorado as well.  And maybe, as our Kentucky experience reveals, we don’t need any direct ties to a community in order to assist the people living there.

Of course, none of this means that we should stop focusing our pro bono and community service efforts on the DMV communities we’ve worked closely with for over two decades, and no law firm can address every crisis or reach out to every community in need.  But at the very least, we’ve realized that when we see a need, “That’s not something we do,” shouldn’t be the end of that conversation.  Instead, we should ask “Why not?”