"Ethics Discussion" on Pro Bono in Times Article
- "If a judge agrees to award the fees, Seattle Public Schools officials don't know whether the district's insurance will cover the amount; the district is self-insured up to $1 million. The rest would come out of either an insurance pool spread among several school districts or the district's own $490 million general-fund budget."
I had been under the impression that the District was liable for all of the amount. If insurance covers $1M that would help.
-"Anticipating backlash, Davis Wright Tremaine cited the Georgetown University-based Pro Bono Institute. According to that organization's Web site, collecting fees in pro bono cases is fine, but attorneys should donate the money, for example, to charity."
And later in the article,
"Davis Wright Tremaine spokesman Mark Usellis said the firm hasn't decided whether to donate money it may collect in the Seattle case."
Interesting that DWT would cite one source and then say they might not follow what that source advises.
-DWT says that many civil rights groups are left-leaning and disagree with the outcome of the case and therefore, they disagree with DWT getting paid. But then there was this:
"American Lawyer magazine, which publishes an annual ranking of firms based partly on the amount of time they spend on pro bono work, doesn't consider work pro bono if attorneys get paid. Davis Wright Tremaine was No. 72 out of 200 firms in this year's American Lawyer ranking.
"Our position is that if fees are granted in a pro bono case, that those fees should be moved along to a charitable organization," said executive editor David Brown. "It can't go into their pockets, because that's not pro bono." "
I doubt if American Lawyer magazine is left-leaning. It seems the magazine's position on pro bono is pretty clear.
And the last word from plaintiff Kathleen Brose,"Kathleen Brose, president of Parents Involved in Community Schools, agreed.
"It sends a message to the school district that, if they're going to violate their students' civil rights, there are repercussions to their actions," she said. "The school district got themselves in this pickle." "