Service to the community is a highly valued and long-standing tradition at Sullivan & Worcester. Members of the firm provide pro bono or reduced-fee legal services, volunteer their time, and make financial donations to numerous public-interest organizations and charity causes, including educational and cultural institutions, environmental initiatives, civil rights agencies, and organizations against domestic violence and child abuse.
Sullivan & Worcester has a documented pro bono policy and encourages and supports active participation by all its attorneys in a broad spectrum of pro bono activities that reflect the diverse interests and experience of the lawyers in the firm.
Pro bono matters are given the same professional attention and billable hour credit as other matters handled by the firm. The firm generally supports all reasonable and well-considered pro bono projects.
A great example of the work we do with specific communities is our work in Dorchester, Massachusetts. In 1965, Sullivan & Worcester lawyers helped create College Bound Dorchester, Inc. (formerly known as Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses, Inc.) by merging several settlement houses. Since that time, countless lawyers and paralegals have devoted thousands of hours of pro bono time to College Bound Dorchester in a variety of disciplines including tax, litigation, real estate, general corporate, financing, and employment and benefits. In the mid-1990s, Federated established and later spun-off the Neighborhood House Charter School (NHCS), a model of success within the charter school movement. Today NHCS operates out of the Charles C. Cabot, Jr. Building, named for a late partner of the firm. Our lawyers have fully supported the legal needs of NHCS and its related foundation on matters that have included real estate, general corporate, financing, tax, and employment and benefits. Several of our lawyers have also served as clerks and/or trustees of each of these organizations.
S&W's pro bono client OncArt, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts that connects clinicians with artists to create illustrated health education materials that are available worldwide. OncArt materials are designed especially for people in low-resource regions where advanced stages of disease are high, literacy levels are low and clinicians do not speak the same language as their patients. Through a responsive, web-based app, OncArt is able to offer a unique collaborative design tool and a free library of works searchable by user-generated hashtags for electronic sharing or downloading to print. The websites of the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are the site’s sources for supplementing and fact-checking all content for medical accuracy.
OncArt is a member of the global health campaign Healthcare Information For All (HIFA), including support from the British Medical Association (main funder) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Sullivan & Worcester is proud to support OncArt in its mission: "Art for Health Literacy, Everywhere." Click here to check out their web app.
S&W has supported the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Law Firm Challenge" for more than 10 years. The firm was crowned the winner of the 2014 Boston Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Law Firm Challenge. In addition to this honor, the firm was named the winner of the organization’s 2015 Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award. Also in 2014, the firm raised the most money among participating Boston-area law firms contributing more than $62,000 of the $86,000 Boston total.
Each year, the American Cancer Society’s New England Division Board of Directors selects the most inspired and passionate individuals, whose service best exemplifies the Society’s organizational values of mission, stewardship, diversity and respect, to receive this prestigious honor.
Sullivan & Worcester is proud to support Operation Blue Pride (OBP), which works with disabled veterans by combining scuba diving with marine conservation. Nancy Grodberg, a real estate partner at Sullivan & Worcester, is on the board and has inspired the firm to host receptions and many other fundraising activities: "I became involved with this organization because I know that the many opportunities that I have had in life are due to the services of our military. We owe our veterans a debt we can never repay. I am grateful for the opportunity to in small part repay this debt by working with our combat veterans through scuba diving."
Sullivan & Worcester is proud to be honored by Junior Achievement of Northern New England as a 2013 Boston Business Hall of Fame Inductee. The Hall of Fame recognizes companies and individuals that embody excellence within its industry and actively support the community.
Other supported organizations include:
- American Friends of the Hebrew University
- Massachusetts Council on Economic Education
- The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.
- Foundation for Neurologic Diseases
The firm has an ongoing working relationship with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Boston Bar Association. For more than a decade, at least one of our partners has been a member of the steering committee, and we have acted as co-counsel with the committee on numerous important civil rights cases involving such matters as racial discrimination, bilingual education, housing integration and public transportation.
Sullivan & Worcester has also worked for the past several years with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), New England's leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression. We acted as tax counsel for GLAD in its filing of the first concerted, multi-plaintiff legal challenge to Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Our lawyers have written and filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court on behalf of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA) on a 2013 DOMA case (United States v. Windsor) as well as the Proposition 8 case that was mooted for lack of standing (also in 2013). Since then, we have written and filed amicus briefs for GLMA in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits, and the Supreme Court.
In conjunction with Greater Boston Legal Services, our lawyers provide direct representation to victims of domestic violence seeking restraining orders, child support and custody. We also participate in and host meetings of the Domestic Violence Council (DVC), an unincorporated association of legal service providers. For more than 10 years, the DVC has been instrumental in creating and strengthening Massachusetts case law to protect victims of domestic violence. We also host trainings for the Victim Rights Law Center. We handle restraining order cases regularly for both DVC and the Victim Rights Law Center, and we have also assisted in privacy rights cases and immigration matters for survivors of sexual assault.
On numerous occasions, Sullivan & Worcester has acted as co-counsel with the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. As a result of one such action, Massachusetts lawmakers modified regulations to ensure that individuals alleged to have committed abuse have the right to a hearing to contest that finding.
Other supported organizations include:
Children's Welfare, Law and Policy
In September 2006, Sullivan & Worcester launched the S&W International ChildFind Program. Under the Program, S&W attorneys provide legal assistance to parents of limited financial means, whose children have been abducted across sovereign borders. More than 200,000 children are abducted by family members each year. A growing number of these abductions cross international borders, making it extremely difficult for left-behind parents to locate and recover their children. With the help of S&W attorneys, left-behind parents can pursue remedies under an international treaty designed to protect parental rights and to return abducted children to their prior place of residence.
As a member of the International Child Abduction Attorney Network formed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, S&W attorneys have litigated many proceedings under the Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act. The program also provides our younger litigation attorneys with an opportunity to get involved in the cause, obtain courtroom experience and hone their trial skills with the guidance of experienced trial lawyers.
Sullivan & Worcester has provided extensive corporate, real estate and environmental representation to the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), New England's leading environmental advocacy organization. In addition, we have advised the CLF on a number of its environmental-protection efforts.