2017 Pickering Award Recipient

Pro Bono Institute (PBI), in conjunction with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr*† and the Pickering family, is proud to present its 2017 John H. Pickering Award to Kirkland & Ellis.

Kirkland & Ellis is a founding member of PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project and a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative, has been a long-time leader in pro bono. The firm supports and promotes access to justice through meaningful pro bono projects that span a variety of issues.

About Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland’s principal goals are to provide the highest quality legal services available anywhere; to be an instrumental part of each client’s success; and to recruit, retain and advance the brightest legal talent. The Firm seeks long-term, partnering relationships with clients, to the end of providing the best total solution to the client’s legal needs.

Approximately 1,900 lawyers in varying practice areas work together as multidisciplinary teams to provide the full-service capabilities their clients need for the legal matters they retain Kirkland to handle. Kirkland’s open assignment system allows each attorney to choose the practice areas and matters on which they work.

About the John H. Pickering Award

John H. Pickering, a founding partner of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale), was a distinguished appellate lawyer and a leader of the legal profession who was well known for his extraordinary commitment to pro bono and public service. He served on Pro Bono Institute’s (PBI) Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee from its inception. This award is given annually to a major law firm that embodies Mr. Pickering’s spirit of service and the exceptional culture of pro bono service he worked to imbue in his firm.

Mr. Pickering was a key framer of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® who, at the time of its launch, convinced his dear friend, Associate Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, to send a personal letter to the leaders of each of the nation’s 500 largest law firms urging that they sign on to the Challenge. Justice Brennan, despite his failing health, then accompanied Mr. Pickering to the formal ceremony where the Challenge was announced to underscore his support for the Challenge and his affection and respect for Mr. Pickering.

In 2000, Mr. Pickering was the recipient of PBI’s annual Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award, presented at the Supreme Court of the United States. At that event, Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described Mr. Pickering as “a true Prince of our Profession.” She further elaborated on his pro bono accomplishments by noting that:

[A]t every stage of his career, John has demonstrated his special skill — to use the law to make things more than a little better. The man we celebrate this evening has received scores of accolades, for he is both a devoted public servant and Washington lawyer…[.] John spoke some years ago of the Justice he served in his youth, Justice Murphy, in the Court’s 1941 and 1942 terms. The words John then used fit John himself so perfectly, I cannot do better than to borrow them: His hands — John’s hands — are filled with acts of kindness.

PBI is proud to present this award in John Pickering’s name, in conjunction with his esteemed law firm and the Pickering family, to celebrate his devotion and to recognize outstanding commitment to pro bono legal service.