Pro Bono & Community Outreach

At Van Ness Feldman, we strive to create long-lasting partnerships with the communities that we call home. Undertaking pro bono and community service projects are not only a professional obligation, they are valued as an individual, personal responsibility for everyone at the firm.


    Van Ness Feldman prioritizes opportunities to give back to our communities. During the holiday season, the firm makes donations to worthy charities that are either recommended by our employees, or coalesce around a theme that applies to the communities in which our offices are based.   This past year, the firm focused on the issue of hunger and food scarcity, and donated funds to food banks in each of our respective communities. 

    In addition, the Seattle office spearheads the Annual Thanksgiving Charitable Matching Program, which has benefited numerous local and national nonprofit organizations. Since its inception, the program has generated more than a half-million dollars for charitable organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Each year, clients, colleagues, and friends of the firm receive a custom-designed card that invites them to make donations that qualify for a matched donation by the firm.


    Pro bono service is a core value of Van Ness Feldman and a key part of our commitment to the places we call home. Our work in this area seeks to balance our commitments to our local communities – the District of Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and, as a national law firm, to the nation as a whole. Below are recent examples of the firm’s pro bono work.

    Asylum Cases – The firm represents persons seeking asylum in the United States on the grounds that if they were returned to their home countries, they would suffer death, torture or imprisonment solely because of their beliefs, affiliations, or identifications. The firm partners with the Catholic Charities, which screens the cases and supports our attorneys.

    Housing – In a partnership with D.C. Law Students in the Courts, the firm represents homeowners who have been subjected to improper treatment by financial institutions and tenants whose rights have been violated by landlords.

    Legislative Lobbying –  College and Community Fellowship is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting female prisoners in federal prisons prepare for life after they are released. One of the obstacles prisoners face is an existing federal law that prohibits access to federal education funds to pay for on-line courses, books, etc., even though studies have shown that a person who earns a degree while in prison is 50 percent less likely to return to prison than those who did not. The firm is using its legislative lobbying capability to seek to persuade Congress to lift this prohibition.

    Children’s Issues – The firm assisted both the National PTA and the National Network for Youth in drafting legislation to further their organizations’ goals, including assisted with drafting comprehensive legislation that requires school districts to fully involve parents in their programs while providing them with financial assistance to do so. The firm also assisted the National Network for Youth with legislation to prohibit judges from incarcerating youth just because they were homeless. The firm received awards from both organizations for its work on their behalf.

    Disabled Veterans Benefits Appeal Cases – The firm represents individual veterans who have been denied disability payments by helping them to appeal the decision against them to the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Appeals. The cases are referred to the firm by the Veterans Appeals Consortium.

    Trauma-Informed Policy & Programs - Van Ness Feldman is the leading law firm in the county in providing legal and policy advice to non-profit organizations dedicated to putting the powerful scientific discoveries about the causes and effects of childhood and historical trauma to work in federal, state and local policies and programs.  Van Ness Feldman is proud to have helped found and served as pro bono general counsel and policy advisors, to two national trauma-informed organizations, the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice and  the Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives. By putting our expertise in impacting federal policy for our clients, along with 40 years of providing legal advice and counsel to Native American and Alaska Native communities, we have successfully assisted these organizations in reaching their goals.