Firm Receives Legal Services Corporation Pro Bono Award

August 1, 2018
Legal Services Corportation
Washington, D.C. office is recognized for nearly decade-long partnership with Idaho Legal Aid Services.

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) Board of Directors has presented Latham & Watkins’ Washington, D.C. office with a Pro Bono Service Award for partnering with Idaho Legal Aid Services for nearly a decade and contributing more than 7,000 hours of pro bono service. LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 133 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, including Idaho Legal Aid Services, which nominated Latham for this award.

In collaboration with Idaho Legal Aid Services and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, a team of Latham lawyers has worked since 2009 to challenge two Boise, Idaho ordinances that prohibit sleeping in public, even when there are inadequate shelter beds available to homeless individuals at Boise’s few emergency shelters. Boise amended its ordinance in response to the lawsuit, but homeless persons continued to be issued citations and jailed. In 2015, the United States Department of Justice submitted a rare Statement of Interest in the case, agreeing that the enforcement of Boise’s ordinances when shelter space is unavailable to Boise’s homeless population would amount to the criminalization of homelessness itself in violation of the Eighth Amendment. In 2017, Latham partner Michael Bern argued the case, Martin v. Boise, before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Latham has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono legal services, financial support, and volunteer time to those most in need within our communities. Between 2000–2017, the firm provided more than 3.2 million pro bono hours in free legal services to underserved individuals and families and the nonprofit sector valued at approximately US $1.5 billion.