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Pro Bono 

“We strive diligently to be great citizens as well as great lawyers.”

– Joseph C. Dilg, Former Managing Partner

V&E lawyers are guided by the principle that pro bono clients – like all of our clients – should be fully and effectively represented. As a result, we devote significant time and financial resources to the legal needs of persons who cannot afford to pay for representation. V&E’s pro bono initiatives provide our lawyers an opportunity to connect with the human side of the practice of law. From senior partners to first-year associates, our lawyers apply their skills to personal passions and make lasting impacts in the communities in which they live and work.

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Whether we’re helping to reunite mothers and children, assisting Holocaust victims in the U.S. with obtaining restitution from the German government, or representing veterans and active duty military personnel with legal problems, V&E’s long tradition of pro bono work has grown over the years to become a broad and diverse practice area. The strength of V&E’s pro bono program is deeply rooted in the firm’s core principles and is sustained by our lawyers’ personal dedication to service. Our lawyers have the opportunity to participate in many unique pro bono cases relating to wide range of legal areas including:

• Civil rights
• Criminal defense and appeals
• Death penalty litigation
• Environmental law
• Family law
• Habeas corpus claims
• Holocaust victim rights
• Human rights
• Immigration
• Juvenile law
• Landlord/tenant disputes
• Mediation
• Mental health issues
• Political asylum
• Social security and pension benefits
• Tax assistance
• Veteran’s assistance
• Womens’ rights


Our Commitment
Nearly 30,000 hours of free legal service is provided to those in need by V&E lawyers each year. Our pro bono work comes from many sources – from attorneys interested in specific issues, to legal service providers who work each day to improve the lives of those in need, to partnering with clients to assist the underserved. V&E’s pro bono work is treated like all other client matters and lawyers receive full billable time and credit for all hours worked. The number of lawyers on each matter can range from one associate with a partner supervisor to as many as 25 lawyers working on larger projects.

In 2008, V&E added a full-time Pro Bono Counsel, Ellyn Haikin Josef, to assist the firm’s Pro Bono Committee with both program facilitation and related projects. In January of 2012, Vinson & Elkins named Harry Reasoner, Former Managing Partner, as the Firm’s Pro Bono Chair.

Pro Bono Recognition
V&E is honored to be recognized for our sustained commitment to helping those in need:

  • In 2009, the State Bar of Texas awarded Vinson & Elkins a second W. Frank Newton Award for our commitment to providing pro bono legal services to those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.
  • The Texas Veteran’s of Foreign Wars honored V&E with their prestigious Military Assistance and Veterans Care Award in recognition of our “exceptional efforts supporting the Texas Military Assistance Program.”
  • In 2008, the College of the State Bar of Texas presented a V&E lawyer with its prestigious Humanitarian Award for his dedication to pro bono efforts and community service, including his work assisting refugees seeking asylum on the basis of political, ethnic, religious and social persecution.
  • Two of our lawyers received Lone Star Legal Aid's Pro Bono Award for their work in obtaining a tax exemption the group and in negotiating with different unions involved with related entities.
  • Texas Appleseed honored Vinson & Elkins with the 2007 Pro Bono Service Award for outstanding assistance to the children of Texas through our extensive work on the public interest center’s School-to-Prison Pipeline Project.
  • In 1993, 1996, and 2000, V&E received the Houston Bar Foundation's Annual Large Firm Award for pro bono work performed through the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program.
  • Since 1991, V&E has received the Pro Bono Award from the Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas five times for our lawyers’ continued involvement in the organization’s family law clinic, in which attorneys represent underprivileged clients in the Travis County Bar Association's pro bono program, and in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas appointment program.

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