Community Involvement & Pro Bono

No Standing on the Sidelines

As both lawyers and citizens we believe in putting our time, energy, and specialized skills and knowledge to work for the people and causes that most need them. There’s much to do, and we feel fortunate to be able to pitch in through pro bono work and community service. As a charter signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, we expect our lawyers and paralegals to devote at least 50 hours annually to pro bono work (for which we provide billable credit). Some of our most experienced lawyers set the tone, which is evident in every office, and at every level. We’ve found that our programs, policies, partnerships, and hard work reward us as well as those we serve.


Representative Pro Bono Projects

  • The Policing Project, a nonprofit organization based in New York, works closely with communities and police departments throughout the country to promote community engagement and give community members a greater voice in policing. Our pro bono work on behalf of the Policing Project has involved advising on public records and Sunshine Law requirements, appearing before the Tampa Citizens Review Board (CRB), helping to draft a survey to collect information on the public’s experiences with the Tampa Police Department, and other coordination among the Policing Project, CRB, and the Tampa Police Department.

  • In the last 17-plus years, our lawyers have accepted nearly 30 referrals from the Children’s Law Center (CLC). The CLC, which serves children in need, is one of the largest pro bono organizations in the District of Columbia. We generally represent foster parents or family members seeking custody or adoption of children, or are appointed as guardians ad litem for children who need independent advocates. We average one to two concluded cases a year. These cases average about 11 months from intake to resolution, with intense periods of activity. The vast majority of our matters are resolved through full trials that may include presenting written evidence, fact witnesses, expert witnesses, briefing, and argument. CLC executives have advised us that they sometimes seek our help with cases they find particularly challenging and those that require strong advocacy and trial skills because of aspects such as troubling facts, complicated mental health or abuse situations, complicating immigration issues, or legal issues that may set important precedents for Washington, D.C., children. Several of our CLC clients have returned to us for representation for a second adoption, and we have never lost a case referred to us by the CLC.   
  • On behalf of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, we provided a thorough review of the organization's more than 1,000-acre property portfolio in an eight-county area on Florida's west coast. Our attorneys and paralegals worked with the organization's long range program and properties task force to complete a comprehensive due diligence review of all these properties. The representation included a complete review of title information, land use, zoning, and surveys to ensure these properties met the programmatic needs of the nearly 12,000 girls who use the Girl Scout camps each year and those who will use them in the future. Carlton Fields continues to represent the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida in connection with several projects at camp properties. The Florida Bar Journal issue on pro bono work highlighted this project as an example of how transaction attorneys, as well as trial lawyers, can provide pro bono services.   
  • The Carlton Fields construction group participates in the James A. Haley Veterans Legal Clinic, which is operated in conjunction with Bay Area Legal Services and provides much-needed legal advice and counseling to bay area veterans. Subjects include criminal matters, family law, trusts and estates, bankruptcy, immigration, contract disputes, and landlord-tenant matters. Before the construction group got involved, the clinic met every other month, and routinely had more veterans than lawyers available to assist. Since the construction group started participating, the clinic has been able to assist every client, and there are now enough participating lawyers to hold the clinic monthly. Additionally, the construction group has partnered with the in-house legal team at Citibank, further increasing the number of lawyers available to participate in this project. 
Sylvia Walbolt
Shareholder Sylvia H. Walbolt, recipient of the 2010 Pro Bono Publico Award from the ABA's Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service

"I think it's critical that lawyers, particularly senior lawyers, not only talk about pro bono, but actually do pro bono. It tells young lawyers that this is important."


The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.