Elsewhere online
June 30, 2015

As Earnings Rise, Big Law Firms Giving Little for Legal Aid

Major law firms reaped record revenues last year but devoted only one-tenth of 1 percent of their proceeds to providing legal aid for the needy, The New York Times writes, citing an analysis by The American Lawyer magazine. Giving by firms accounts for 7 percent of legal-aid funding, which totaled $1.39 billion in 2013, according to the American Bar Association. Most of the total comes from federal and state coffers.

"Big Law" earnings topped $100 billion last year, with profits at a dozen firms exceeding $3 million per partner. Most firms were unwilling to disclose to The American Lawyer how much they donated in legal aid. James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, told the magazine that despite cutbacks in government support for legal aid, many big firms focus their charitable giving on causes and organizations favored by major clients.