Media Release


PBI Honors Covington & Burling LLP for Pro Bono Commitment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pro Bono Institute (PBI) announced today that it will present Covington & Burling with its John H. Pickering Award at its 2018 Annual Dinner on October 4 in New York. Covington, a founding member of PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project and a charter signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative, is receiving this award in recognition of its exemplary institutional commitment to pro bono and the inspiring pro bono performance of its lawyers and staff. PBI will present the award at its 2018 Annual Dinner on October 4 in New York.

Covington was selected for this prestigious award because of the firm’s dedication to pro bono service and steadfast willingness to pursue challenging, creative, and important matters. Covington has proven its commitment time and again to providing pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford counsel with the goal of improving clients’ lives, bettering communities, and deepening firm lawyers’ professional experience.

“Covington’s pro bono commitment spans attorneys at every level of the firm, serves economically disadvantaged individuals and families in the firm’s surrounding communities, and dates back to its founding 100 years ago,” said PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon. “I applaud Covington’s leadership and dedication to providing legal services to those in need.”

Since its founding, Covington has been committed not only to the highest professional standards of representation, but also to public service. In 2017, Covington lawyers devoted more than 146,000 hours to representing organizations and individuals in pro bono matters. Among the firm’s most noteworthy accomplishments in the last year, Covington achieved a number of important immigrants’ rights victories. In January, the firm secured a nationwide preliminary injunction blocking the federal government’s effort to shut down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This injunction represented a crucial safety net for Dreamers, who otherwise would be at risk of deportation from the only country they know as home. In April, Covington, as counsel to the City of Los Angeles, secured a permanent, nationwide injunction against Department of Justice policies favoring cities that use law enforcement funds to assist with federal immigration enforcement. In July, the firm and its co-counsel, the ACLU, The Center for Gender & Refugee Rights, and Human Rights First, secured a preliminary injunction blocking the federal government’s arbitrary detention of asylum seekers.

The firm also handles numerous impact litigation and systemic reform projects across the U.S. on a range of issues including immigration, LGBTQ equality, the First Amendment, gun violence prevention, criminal justice, mental health, voting rights, and veterans’ benefits. In November, Covington and the ACLU secured an injunction halting the ban prohibiting transgender troops from serving in the armed services.

Internationally, Covington helped usher in a new age of accountability in the global fashion industry when it launched arbitrations against two global fashion brands under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a five-year, legally binding agreement between brands and trade unions created in the wake of the 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse to make garment factories in Bangladesh safe workplaces. With Covington’s assistance, global labor union federations IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union settled the first arbitration in December 2017, securing substantial funds for factory remediation. The second arbitration was settled at the end of January 2018, when Covington secured a $2.3 million settlement on behalf of the global unions, representing one of the largest payments made by a brand to remedy workplace dangers in its supply chain.

“Covington is a values-driven law firm, and one of those values is an unwavering dedication to pro bono work and public service as an essential element of the professional life of the firm. We have a long tradition of serving those in need and are incredibly proud to give back to the communities in which we live and work,” said Timothy Hester, Covington’s chair.

About the John H. Pickering Award
John H. Pickering, a founding partner of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr), 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 interest law. He served on PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee from its inception in 1989 until his death in March 2005. This award is given annually to a major law firm that embodies Mr. Pickering’s spirit of service and demonstrates the exceptional culture of pro bono service he worked to imbue in his firm.

About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, PBI is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, in-house corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems.

About Covington & Burling LLP
In an increasingly regulated world,  provides corporate, litigation, and regulatory expertise to help clients navigate their most complex business problems, deals, and disputes. Founded in 1919, the firm has more than 1,000 lawyers in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, and Washington.