Pro Bono Work
We take great pride in the fact that we have been able to employ our resources and legal talent to help further advance diversity, equity, and inclusion across the nation. Examples include the following:
- Foley Hoag prevailed in a highly charged and visible lawsuit in which we partnered with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights under Law to challenge the Massachusetts Redistricting Act on the basis that it diluted minority voting strength in the Boston area. This most recent success, which changes Boston's political landscape, is reminiscent of our representation of plaintiffs more than 30 years ago in the landmark case requiring desegregation of the Boston schools.
- For two decades, we defended on behalf of our client, the NAACP, consent decrees implemented in actions to remove barriers to the integration of the Boston Police and Fire Departments, and we continue to work with a variety of cities and towns to assure that they utilize non-discriminatory hiring practices.
- Foley Hoag has a legacy of working to promote diverse educational environments. For example, in 2013, our lawyers worked with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund ("AALDEF") to submit an amicus brief in the case of Fisher v. The University of Texas to uphold the use of race in UT's admissions policy. After a decision on remand by the Court of Appeals in UT's favor, and a second appeal by the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court amicus brief we filed for AALDEF in Fisher II was cited in the Court’s majority opinion reaffirming Fisher I.
- We have represented many organizations that empower women and people of color in the United States and abroad to create and foster businesses and other entrepreneurial opportunities in their communities, such as Accion International, the Center for Women and Enterprise, Initiatives for a Competitive Inner City and others.
- Our lawyers have assisted the NOW Legal Defense Fund in defending the Violence Against Women Act. Our attorneys have worked to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in obtaining protective orders and other forms of relief for over 25 years, including a recent victory in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
- The firm is presently participating in the ACLU of Louisiana's Justice Lab. The initiative, "Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial," seeks over time, and in a sustained and deliberate fashion, to bring cases in Louisiana challenging racially motivated stops and seizures under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments in an effort to test the impact that litigation can have on police conduct. Over thirty litigators at the firm, including a dozen partners, have signed up to work on this initiative and have participated in the ACLU's in-depth training.
- We have represented organizations (such as The Arc of Massachusetts, which works to enhance the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities) to fight discrimination against those with disabilities.
- We co-filed a federal lawsuit with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and another firm to obtain federal benefits for same-sex married couples. The suit resulted in the first district court ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The First Circuit affirmed our victory on appeal, declaring that the plaintiffs had the same federal spousal benefits as any other married couple.
Read more about our firm's pro bono legal work here.