The founders of this law firm believed that more was demanded of us than operating a professional enterprise for our own benefit. Lindquist & Vennum was committed to community service from its first day of practice. A substantial part of that commitment has been to provide uncompensated legal services to less fortunate members of our society.
In 1995, the American Bar Association (ABA), recognizing the growing issue of unmet legal needs for the poor and disadvantaged across the country, challenged the nation's larger law firms to contribute a percentage of their attorneys' billable hours to pro bono work.
We accepted the ABA Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge (now the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge). We pledged our best efforts to ensure that we annually contribute, at a minimum, an amount of time equal to three percent of the firm's total billable hours to pro bono work. Our most significant step, one that sets us apart from other larger law firms, was to develop a Pro Bono policy that establishes an expectation that each partner, associate, and paralegal will participate in this fundamental aspect of the firm's culture.
Since 1997 we have met and exceeded our goal with 100 percent participation by our partners, associates and paralegals. Our firm-wide commitment to pro bono work is in keeping with our tradition of full participation in the community.
We know the legal profession enjoys a unique role in the community, and that we have the skills and ability to provide services for the disadvantaged and to promote the public interest in ways that no other profession can. The Leonard E. Lindquist Pro Bono Award, established by our firm in 1996, is presented annually to a Lindquist & Vennum attorney who exemplifies the firm's pro bono efforts.
We also encourage our staff to become involved in community service. One example of this is our Winter Closet Program. Since 1992, Lindquist & Vennum employees have provided warm outer clothing to disadvantaged children in the communities we serve. All coats and other clothing for winter wear are purchased new by the firm's employees. The program was envisioned by firm co-founder Leonard Lindquist and involves no law firm funds. Mr. Lindquist wanted the program to be "a giving program from the heart and not a business expense."
Because of the growth in this program, Lindquist & Vennum formed the Winter Closet Foundation in 2002. The Winter Closet initiative was the key reason Lindquist & Vennum was a recipient of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce's 2003 Quality of Life Award.
Lindquist & Vennum’s long history of dedication to public service also figures into the firm’s professional development program. Recently, we began the Pro Bono Breakfast Series. All attorneys are invited to attend any Pro Bono Breakfast to learn about areas of law encountered in serving clients in our many pro bono clinic settings. These sessions include training on topics such as family law, landlord/tenant law, and criminal law, as well as issues relating to government benefits, immigration, and juvenile court.
We value our pro bono accomplishments and continue to stay involved with community activities that provide us opportunities to share our talents and expertise.