Kirkland & Ellis was recently honored by Equip for Equality for its continued commitment to the organization and the goals it stands for. The firm received the Equality for Kids Community Service Award for the firm’s financial support of the Equality for Kids Campaign and its leadership in providing outstanding pro bono service to clients of Equip for Equality’s Special Education Clinic.
Kirkland’s contributions to the Equality for Kids Campaign totaled nearly $60,000, according to the organization. The firm has worked with the organization for about 24 years through pro bono representation and financial support.
Established in 1985, Equip for Equality advances the human and civil rights of people with disabilities in Illinois. As the federally mandated Protection & Advocacy System for the State of Illinois, Equip for Equality has broad federal and state statutory powers to serve as an independent watchdog and a legal advocate for people with disabilities statewide, according to the organization. The organization provides self-advocacy assistance, legal services, and training on disability rights. Equip for Equality also engages in public policy advocacy and investigates abuse, neglect and facility conditions.
Kirkland Partner Tom Kuhns said the firm has spent hundreds of hours working with the organization on a multitude of matters.
“In the past couple years we’ve been happy to step it up a notch and also happy to contribute to the Equality for Kids campaign,” he said. “We have, as a firm, a strong commitment to pro bono.”
In these economic times, there is a tendency for organizations and firms to look inward. But this is when people in need typically need the most support, he said.
Kuhn said he enjoys being involved in the organization because “it provides real meaningful help for some of the least-abled. … I think [the organization] provides real value to those who would otherwise be shunted off, particularly in these economic times, and it provides an opportunity for them to live a life as good as they can make it. We are honored and humbled to get the award and very proud of the efforts.”