MAY 11, 2023 – Recognizing her extraordinary contributions to expanding access to justice, the American Bar Association's Business Law Section has selected Rachel Brown, director of pro bono and social impact at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, as a recipient of its 2023 National Public Service Award.
Brown was honored "for her outstanding work helping some of the largest in-house legal departments in the U.S. build out their internal pro bono programs."
"Simply put, Rachel's a superstar," said Joanna Plichta Boisen, the firm's chief pro bono and social impact officer. "She has been a guiding light to some of our most innovative projects and led by example with her own outstanding work supporting clemency. She's touched countless lives with her energy and commitment, and been a true champion for under-served communities. I'm grateful every day to have her as my colleague."
Davis Wright's pro bono and social impact program has been widely recognized as a national trailblazer, particularly in its success engaging busy in-house attorneys and arranging opportunities for them to do good. In-house departments, unlike law firms, have frequently not been resourced or incentivized to do pro bono work, and Brown's efforts are effectively addressing this longstanding contributor to the justice gap.
By organizing bespoke days of service, leading trainings, and building community, Brown has helped establish new pro bono pathways for in-house business attorneys to serve individuals who would otherwise not have access to legal representation. All told, she has spearheaded more than 50 pro bono projects and days of service for dozens of in-house clients, while also helping these companies reach their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals. In addition, Brown helped found Davis Wright's annual In-House Pro Bono Summit, now in its fifth year, which attracts representatives from scores of companies to learn about ethics, malpractice, and other issues that must be considered in launching a pro bono program.
In her own practice, Brown recently collaborated with the firm's Seattle partner-in-charge, through the Seattle Clemency Project, to win release for a client who was incarcerated at the age of 14.
"Thanks to Rachel's continued hard work and creativity, there are many more skilled lawyers using their gifts and resources to serve communities that need help the most," said Boisen. "All of us at the firm are very excited to see what breakthroughs in access-to-justice she will help us achieve next."
About Davis Wright Tremaine
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP is an AmLaw 100 firm with more than 600 lawyers representing clients based throughout the United States and around the world. The firm recently published its innovative 2022 Pro Bono and Social Impact Report, available here: https://probonoreport.dwt.design/.