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Varnum 2017 Pro Bono Contribution Merits State Bar of Michigan “Circle of Excellence” Recognition

May 8, 2018

Varnum recently announced its pro bono contribution for 2017. The firm is once again included in the State Bar of Michigan’s "Circle of Excellence" at the Leadership Level, the highest level recognized by the Michigan State Bar Foundation.

Although Varnum provides free legal services to a wide variety of individuals and on behalf of various nonprofit agencies, for reporting purposes the firm takes credit only for files referred by Legal Aid of Western Michigan, the Mel Trotter Ministries Legal Clinic, and on files assisting veterans. The time spent on these matters is treated in the same manner as billable client time.

In 2017, the firm provided 1,333 hours in pro bono services on 76 files that met these criteria. The $425,225 in waived fees and $8,531 in waived costs, combined with a $40,000 cash contribution to the Access to Justice Fund, brought Varnum’s total pro bono participation to $473,756.

Varnum provides a financial contribution in excess of the Voluntary Standard established by the State Bar of Michigan, pays all costs associated with each representation, and waives reimbursement for these expenses from the referring entity.

“Our partners devote a significant amount of time to the program through handling pro bono files as well as supervising younger attorneys and summer clerks who also work on the files,” said Varnum litigation partner Mark Allard, who serves as the firm’s pro bono coordinator. “The support and participation in this program by staff, paralegals, and attorneys throughout the firm makes it clear that pro bono representation is part of the fabric of our firm.”

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