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Pro Bono Practice

Pro bono work has strong institutional roots at Simpson Thacher. The particular matters we pursue are as diverse as the interests of our lawyers.

Immigration Programs

We represent individuals seeking asylum in the United States to escape torture and other persecution in their home countries. Clients are from Africa, Southeast Asia, South and Central America, the Middle East, and Russia.

Representation of Children
In both immigration and family courts, our attorneys represent children who are often in the United States alone. We pursue remedies including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), asylum and other remedies on behalf of children fleeing violent or unstable home lives or who have been separated from a parent at the border.

Adjustments Naturalizations and DACA Applications
Attorneys assist clients to prepare applications to adjust to Legal Permanent Residence, apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and for naturalization, the process by which eligible immigrants become U.S. Citizens. 

Domestic Violence and Trafficking
We represent immigrant victims of domestic violence and trafficking in seeking legal status in the United States based on their cooperation with government prosecution of certain crimes and other criteria.  We also represent victims of violence as witnesses for federal law enforcement agencies. Through legal clinics in Trafficking Intervention Courts, we assess the civil legal needs of victims of human trafficking in the criminal justice system. 

Nonprofit Organizations

The Firm has a long history of providing legal services to a variety of nonprofit organizations and public charities. Associates assist nonprofit organizations with filing for federal tax exemption, and advise on an array of governance issues. 

Services to Students  

Access to Special Education Services
Our attorneys advocate for families of disabled children to help them negotiate their Individual Education Plans with the Department of Education and attain the special education services for their child that are mandated by Federal Law.

Homeless Youth Legal Clinic
Through legal clinics with The Door Legal Services, our attorneys provide advice and counseling to homeless youth on an array of issues such as school enrollment, foster care, establishing person identification, housing, public benefits, transit offenses, personal finance and navigating the criminal justice system.

Voting Rights and Election Law
The Firm has challenged laws in several states which restrict access to the ballot, and has ongoing projects related to redistricting and other election-related issues.  The Firm is also a longstanding host of voter protection hotlines in both general and primary elections through its partnership with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. 

Family Law

The Firm represents low income women in custody, visitation, child and spousal support cases, helping them to attain the economic stability necessary to care for their families.

Attorneys represent parents in Article 10 proceedings filed by the Administration for Children’s Services in Family Court. Working to keep families together safely, wherever possible, the Firm represents mothers and fathers in child protective proceedings.

Criminal Justice Programs

Trial Court Representation/CJA Panel
The Criminal Justice Act panel for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York refers pro bono matters to the Firm. These include the representation of criminal defendants, witnesses in criminal cases, and convicted individuals charged with violation of their supervised release. Associates working on these cases interview incarcerated clients; attend federal court appearances and hearings that include arraignment, bail and sentencing; and negotiate plea bargains with federal prosecutors.

Innocence Project Case Reviews
Our attorneys conduct deep-dive case file reviews for the Innocence Project to determine whether there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant was innocent and, if so, whether DNA evidence might exonerate the defendant. Each case review consists of a comprehensive look at all available documents, including the trial transcripts, and culminates in a detailed memorandum providing the Innocence Project with a recommendation as to whether or not to take the defendant’s case.

Expunging Criminal Convictions in Kentucky and Washington DC
In partnership with the Legal Aid Society of Louisville, and Legal Aid DC, our attorneys prepare expungement applications for individuals convicted of eligible felonies, misdemeanors and violations in Kentucky and the District of Columbia. Clearing criminal records can pave the way for individuals to achieve greater economic security through stable, higher-paying employment and better housing. 

Community Economic Development/Small Business Programs

Simpson Thacher lawyers offer free transactional legal advice to small businesses and micro-entrepreneurs. Through a variety of legal clinics, our lawyers meet with fledgling small businesses in need of legal advice on such matters as contract and lease negotiations; tax and intellectual property questions; formulation of employment and personnel policies; and general brainstorming about business development and corporate law.

Artists and Arts Organizations

We provide representation and advice to members of the arts community across various disciplines. Simpson Thacher lawyers counsel low-income artists and not-for-profit arts organizations on such transactional matters as starting a dance company, copyrighting a manuscript, and producing an independent film.

Services to Veterans

Benefits Applications
In partnership with NYLAG, the Firm assists veterans in the preparation of and submission of applications for benefits, service-connected disability claims, and total disability based upon unemployability. 


The Firm represents veterans seeking VA benefits that have been denied in final judgment by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  Our lawyers provide pro bono assistance through legal clinics in New York. Issues that arise in the clinic involve family, health, property, tax, wills and probate, and public benefits law. The clinic also handles issues related to disability benefits, HIV/AIDS and consumer protection.

Unemployment Hearings
Our attorneys represent pro bono clients denied unemployment benefits by the New York State Department of Labor in unemployment hearings before an administrative law judge. 

Services to Non-Governmental Organizations Abroad

We partner with The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, which advances global justice by engaging lawyers across borders to support civil society and an ethically active legal profession. We also partner with TrustLaw Connect, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service that connects NGOs and social enterprises with the best law firms around the world. The service’s mission: proliferating the practice of pro bono to drive social change especially in the areas of human rights, women’s empowerment, better governance, greater transparency and the rule of law.”

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Simpson Thacher Named an “Above & Beyond Law Firm” for Pro Bono Representation of Domestic Abuse Victim
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Simpson Thacher Honored with KIND 2022 Allegiance Award
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Simpson Thacher Honored as Pro Bono Firm of the Year and Receives Impact Case Award
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Simpson Thacher Featured in Law360 Pro Bono Spotlight
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Simpson Thacher named “Best International Firm for Pro Bono Work” at Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards 2019
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Simpson Thacher Featured in ABA Video for Pro Bono Publico Award