In the summer of 2010, representatives from General Electric Company** and Arnold & Porter LLP*combined forces to help address some of the issues facing at-risk youth in the Washington, D.C. area. The team met with the Children’s Law Center (CLC), an organization that provides free legal counsel to low-income children in the D.C. area, to formulate a plan. After meeting with CLC, the organizations decided to focus their efforts on increasing access to special education resources.
Washington, D.C. has an exceptionally high prevalence of disability among children, with more than 12,000 children who have disabilities requiring special education accommodations. Many schools and health clinics often fail to provide special education services, and, more often than not, low-income families do not have the abilities to seek legal representation in order to obtain resources for their children — so the work of the GE/Arnold & Porter partnership is particularly important in the D.C. area.
In developing the special education representation efforts, the partnership set about ensuring the sustainability of its model. Lawyers new to pro bono or special education law watch a videotaped training session in order to orient themselves with special education representation and the community. Each case is assigned one General Electric attorney and one Arnold & Porter attorney, ensuring attorney availability for urgent needs. In addition, each case is monitored by a CLC staff member who may also provide training on an as-needed basis and answer questions as they arise.
Evelyn Becker, CLC’s pro bono director, said of the partnership, “We are grateful to General Electric and Arnold & Porter for helping to forge this new avenue of representation in the District in order to offer more comprehensive services for our clients. Without their enthusiasm or dedication, this would not have been possible.”
Are you involved in an interesting partnership? We’d love to hear more about it!
*denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
**denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM