Public service is part of who we are as a firm. Bass, Berry & Sims is a recognized leader for pro bono work, and we strive to consistently go above and beyond, dedicating our resources to make a real difference for low income or underrepresented people in our communities and to impact social justice.
As part of our longstanding commitment to pro bono, in 2019 the firm launched a comprehensive initiative to provide opportunities and incentives for attorneys to give back to the community and tackle significant legal issues. This expanded dedication of resources had a measurable impact – increasing the time committed to pro bono work by 98% in 2019 over 2018!
The new initiative provides for increased hours or credit for all attorneys to dedicate to pro bono activities. For non-member attorneys, the firm has increased billable hour credit from 50 to 100 hours annually. These hours are counted toward the annual billable hour requirement and allow attorneys to devote more time to serve in pro bono capacities. For members, the firm provides pro bono credit to individuals who devote significant time to pro bono work.
A cornerstone of the new initiative was the creation of the BBS Fellows program, which allows attorneys across the firm’s four offices to spend up to six months serving full-time in a pro bono capacity within the community. In 2019, Angie Bergman spent six months working with Choosing Justice Initiative where she advocated for bail reform in Nashville’s criminal courts, federal court, and alongside the Nashville Public Defender’s Office. You can read a recap of Angie’s experience here. In January 2020, Danielle Irvine began a fellowship with Tennessee Innocence Project, establishing a presence in Memphis and pursuing a claim of innocence for a client.
The initiative included creation of the Pro Bono Member position, allowing a partner of the firm to dedicate half of his/her work to pro bono activities and administration of the firm’s program. David Esquivel – a long-time advocate of pro bono and access-to-justice initiatives – is currently serving in this capacity. David is a founding member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and has served as its chair since 2013.
Read more about the firm’s pro bono news highlights by clicking below.