October 28, 2020

Willkie has partnered with organizations on numerous pro bono efforts that address many of today’s most critical issues, including transgender rights, religious freedoms, gender, disabilities, ethnicity and social mobility. Some of our notable representations this year have addressed issues ranging from reproductive rights in minority communities to voting rights for Texas residents. Recent cases have included:

Fraihat v. ICE – This case was filed on behalf of the tens of thousands of people held in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities throughout ICE’s nationwide detention system, and sought COVID-19 protections. Willkie partnered with Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

FemHealth v. Mt. Juliet – Representing Carafem, a national network of reproductive health care clinics, this lawsuit was filed against the city of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in federal court over a zoning ordinance that bans the provision of surgical abortion care within the city limits. Willkie partnered with American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Tennessee.

Toomey et al. v. State of Arizona – This case was filed on behalf of University of Arizona professor Dr. Russell Toomey, who challenged the state employee health plan's blanket exclusion on "gender reassignment surgeries" when it wouldn't cover a hysterectomy. Willkie is partnering with The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU Foundation of Arizona.

Richardson v. Texas Secretary of State – This lawsuit was brought on behalf of two Texas voters over Texas’s use of unconstitutional signature-matching procedures for mail-in ballots that have historically disenfranchised thousands of voters every election cycle. Willkie is partnering with pro bono partner the Texas Civil Rights Project in representing the plaintiffs.

Thomas v. Andino – This lawsuit was brought on behalf of voters over South Carolina’s failure to take action to ensure all eligible voters can vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Willkie is partnering with The American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of South Carolina.

Casa De Maryland v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec. – Willkie was part of a legal coalition representing plaintiffs that brought suit challenging the Trump Administration’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The coalition also included the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

Appleseed Project – “Protecting Girls of Color from the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” is a comprehensive report and the final product of a year-long research project examining disparities in school disciplinary treatment for black girls in Massachusetts, Alabama, and Kansas issued by the Appleseed Network, a non-profit network of independent organizations in the United States and Mexico working towards social and legal justice. Willkie served as pro bono partner to Appleseed throughout the project.

The need for pro bono services is greater than ever and we are proud to work with underrepresented clients across a broad range of causes and issues.