Holland & Knight recently announced its establishment of a Public and Charitable Service Department (PCS).
The department will coordinate the firm’s community, charitable and pro bono initiatives. The principal aim is to focus on assisting needy individuals and organizations in the communities the firm serves.
The PCS department will enhance the firm’s charitable activities conducted through the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation. The integration of these efforts will ensure that the firm’s resources are utilized in a manner that will yield the most benefit to those in need, according to the firm.
Jacksonville partner Buddy Schulz will lead the department.
Thomas Woodrow, pro bono coordinating partner in the firm’s Chicago office, said all the activities the firm has been doing for years will be put under one umbrella.
There are several components within the firm that would fall within this department, Woodrow said. For example, there is the Opening Doors Program where the office partners with a school or an early childhood development social services agency. The Chicago office works with Charles R. Darwin Elementary School, and performs such activities as reading to second-graders.
The firm is also involved in the Constitutional Rights Foundation, and goes into schools to teach about the Constitution, he said. It assists such organizations as the Chicago Urban League.
The firm remains active in pro bono work and tries to help those who cannot afford a lawyer, Woodrow said.
“The way I view it is it’s really a privilege to provide those sorts of services to the community,” he said. “We are a member of a greater population. We, like no others, have the particular ability to help. Unfortunately, many, many people out there, and there is a growing number of people, cannot afford legal services.
“It is really a part of our culture that our lawyers are not only representing paying clients, and not only stay at work late for that, but we also get involved in the community and do things outside our practice. … We are always encouraged — it’s not quite a requirement — to be philanthropic.”