Case Spotlight


Our pro bono partnerships continued to grow in 2022. In matters involving veterans’ benefits, immigration and asylum, disability rights, small business owners, and compassionate release — among many others — Sidley is grateful to have worked alongside in-house counsel from our corporate clients.

How We Partner

  • A public records research initiative in which Sidley lawyers, working alongside in-house counsel from four of our client companies, assisted formerly incarcerated citizens in Florida to restore their right to vote. Florida citizens with felony convictions who have been released from prison can regain the right to vote once they satisfy any outstanding fees, fines, and/or restitution ordered as part of their sentence. Volunteers researched the amounts owed by hundreds of people during multiple research sessions.
  • An initiative in Sidley’s London office in which a Sidley team, working together with co-counsel from Bloomberg's in-house Legal & Compliance team, handled welfare benefit appeal cases, representing individuals with disabilities before the Social Security Tribunal. Sidley lawyers ran a training session on Personal Independence Payment appeals and co-counseled on two successful appeals.
  • A Neighborhood Entrepreneur Law Project (NELP) clinic through the City Bar Justice Center in New York. During the NELP clinic, lawyer teams met with local entrepreneurs seeking legal advice. These clinics help clients achieve financial independence and break the cycle of poverty created by systemic inequality, while bringing jobs and services to the communities where they live and work.
  • A veterans’ benefits initiative focused on military discharge upgrade matters in conjunction with the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP). Sidley lawyers collaborated with in-house lawyers from several firm clients to evaluate lengthy files of U.S. military veterans who did not receive an “honorable” discharge characterization and wish to obtain relief at a military correction board. This work assists the NVLSP in processing the hundreds of requests for assistance it receives annually.
  • Individual representations of military veterans alongside in-house counsel from multiple firm clients in 2022. This includes five matters on behalf of veterans seeking service-connected disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, referred by both City Bar Justice Center and Legal Aid Chicago, and four matters for veterans seeking discharge upgrades, referred by NVLSP.
  • A clinic with lawyers in our Dallas and Houston offices and lawyers from another firm client where volunteers interviewed and identified veterans eligible to seal their Texas criminal records. Sidley lawyers then took on the ongoing representations of the veterans with sound claims.
  • A project with Her Justice, a New York-based nonprofit legal services provider, to file U Visa adjustment applications on behalf of victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault. The applications seek permanent resident status for individuals who have more than three years of U Nonimmigrant Status. This was the seventh consecutive year that Sidley’s New York office partnered with the Legal and Compliance Division of one of our firm clients on this initiative.
  • Compassionate release cases on behalf of federal prisoners who have been given lengthy sentences in prison, frequently on federal drug charges. Sidley is handling multiple cases working alongside lawyers from two firm clients, as well as legal aid organizations FAMM, NACDL, and the Buried Alive Project.
    As of 2022, Sidley teams and in-house co-counsel have taken cases on behalf of more than 10 compassionate release inmates.
  • Pro bono immigration clinics that our Chicago office hosts with the National Immigrant Justice Center to assist asylees and refugees seeking to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status; obtain temporary protected status; and petition to bring family members to the U.S. We also work with in-house teams from firm clients to represent individuals and families in ongoing asylum matters.
  • Asylum/Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) case referred to lawyers in our D.C. office by Kids In Need of Defense (KIND).
  • Cases referred from the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (TLDEF) Name Change Project. The Name Change Project provides lawyers with the opportunity to help TGNCNB (transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary) clients secure legal name changes, which is an important step toward making the clients’ legal identities match their lived experiences. Sidley lawyers in New York are working together with lawyers from a firm client.
  • Two capital litigation cases, as well as a wrongful death case, filed in the Northern District of Alabama in 2020. The lawsuit in this case asserts claims on behalf of the estate of a man murdered in an Alabama prison, and alleges the abhorrent conditions of confinement and rampant violence in the prison violate the U.S. Constitution.
  • A project to staff the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Landlord Tenant Resource Center once a month. Sidley and the firm client with whom we have partnered on this project meet virtually with tenants and small landlords to provide legal information in residential landlord-tenant disputes.

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Sidley also co-sponsors Equal Justice Works fellows with two firm clients. One of our Equal Justice Works fellows shared this update about her experience:

“I spent the first few months of the fellowship almost exclusively focused on building relationships with school districts, creating the presentations, and starting to schedule events around the state. To my surprise, school districts were not only welcoming of my outreach, but they very eagerly requested me to present, sometimes multiple times, often to both their faculty/staff and to families/students. Before I knew it, I had nearly a dozen presentations scheduled at multiple school districts and a list of additional school districts wanting to get on the schedule. After initial presentations, several school districts asked me to return to reach more of their faculty and staff members in more presentations. Others began requesting more outreach to their families so that I can reach as many members of their school community as possible.”
— Erin Sweeney, 2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow