At Miller & Chevalier, we recognize the unique role lawyers play in society and believe that we have a responsibility not only to practice law with integrity, but to use our skill and experience to help individuals and organizations in need of legal assistance. Our system of justice depends on the availability of legal representation, regardless of ability to pay. Moreover, each of our lawyers has a professional responsibility to dedicate a portion of work to pro bono matters. As a firm we are committed to working together to meet those obligations. We are committed to serving each pro bono client with the same respect, diligence, and zealous advocacy we give to all our clients. We have an outsized impact for a firm of our size.
The events of late May and June 2020 – and particularly the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis and the resulting nationwide protests – have focused public attention on the issue of racial inequality in the criminal justice system. This issue and larger concerns about systemic inequity in our legal system and society have long been a call to action for many of the lawyers at Miller & Chevalier. Our pro bono program has regularly undertaken client representations that confront and address racial disparities in our society and in our courts. Some of these representations have challenged procedures in the criminal justice system that affect racial minorities disproportionately, and we have had some success (though as recent events make clear, more success is badly needed). But much more often, our lawyers have worked for these same principles far outside the limelight, trying to mitigate and remedy the effects of racism on real people, one client at a time.
We have longstanding partnerships with respected legal services organizations many of which are engaged in matters that address racial disparities in our legal system. These include the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, Catholic Charities Legal Network, and the DC Bar Pro Bono Center, where we were one of the first law firm participants in its Advocacy & Justice Clinics. We have also been among the top law firm supporters for Legal Aid's Making Justice Real campaign, and the District of Columbia's Access to Justice Commission has honored our firm with its Platinum designation in the Raising the Bar project highlighting firms that provide financial support for the local legal services community. Our lawyers serve on boards of directors for many legal service nonprofits, including the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and the Children's Law Center, and our Pro Bono Counsel is on the Executive Committee of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel, a global organization promoting law firm pro bono initiatives. Most recently, we joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), formed in June to leverage the resources of law firm pro bono programs to promote racial equity in the law. Learn more about LFAA here.
Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System
- For the last few decades, we have regularly undertaken client representations that confront and address racial disparities in our society and in our courts. Some of these representations have challenged procedures in the criminal justice system that affect racial minorities disproportionately. In addition, our lawyers have worked for these same principles far outside the limelight, trying to mitigate and remedy the effects of racism on real people, one client at a time.
Children and Families
We partner with the Children's Law Center, the Legal Aid Society, and other legal services organizations to provide high quality representation to parents and families in crisis, in DC Superior Court Domestic Relations matters. In addition, our lawyers are regularly appointed by Superior Court Judges to act as guardians ad litem, representing the best interests of children in contested custody cases.
- Miller & Chevalier recognizes the essential role immigrants have played in our nation's history and we are committed to providing pro bono legal representation to individuals who are fleeing persecution and in need of guidance as they navigate our immigration system.
Individual Tax Payers
- While most of our commercial tax clients are large corporations, Miller & Chevalier tax lawyers understand the importance of expert tax counsel for individuals who find themselves in trouble with federal and local tax authorities but who cannot afford to hire an attorney. Often on referral from Legal Counsel for the Elderly or the Legal Aid Society, we penetrate these bureaucracies and help our clients resolve their tax problems.
Lawyers from Miller & Chevalier have been appointed to provide amicus curiae representation on pro se matters before the United States Court of Appeals over 20 times in recent years. Several of these cases have established new and clear legal guidelines, particularly in the area of prisoners' rights. We have also appeared as amicus on several important matters before the United States Supreme Court, and in other federal Circuit Courts and District Courts.
Veterans Disability and Discharge Upgrade Matters, Social Security Disability Appeals, and Landlord/Tenant Disputes
Working with well-respected local and national legal services organizations, Miller & Chevalier lawyers accept referrals for low-income people in these areas of legal need.
- FCPA: We have provided advice to several non-profit organizations to assist them and their volunteers steer clear of corruption problems they encounter on the ground in foreign countries.
- Privacy: We have also provided advice to several non-profits to ensure that their websites, fundraising activities, and data collection efforts are compliant with international and local privacy requirements.
- Tax: In keeping with Miller & Chevalier's history as a tax firm, we maintain a vibrant practice of advising non-profit organizations on their obligations under the tax code. We are honored to support the important work of our client organizations.
- DC Bar Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year, 2017
- Recipient of the Daniel M. Gribbon Pro Bono Advocacy Award from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
- Recipient of the Children's Law Center Champions for Children Award
- Top five firm in the Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia's 2020 "Making Justice Real" Campaign, which raised over $3.1 million dollars.
- The firm was one of the original signatories to the American Bar Association (ABA) Pro Bono Challenge and has met this annual challenge for more than 20 years.
- Miller & Chevalier has consistently been recognized by the DC Circuit Judicial Conference Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services for meeting the "40 at 50" benchmark (40 percent of the firm lawyers providing 50 or more pro bono hours) and has been singled out in the last several years for our high partner participation rates.
- Miller & Chevalier was honored with a pro bono award from the John Carroll Society.
- The ABA awarded Homer Moyer its highest pro bono award for his long-standing work with CEELI, the Central and East European Law Initiative.
- Two firm lawyers received the Defender of Innocence award from the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project for their representation of a former prisoner that lead to his exoneration in Maryland.
- The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs honored the firm with an Outstanding Achievement Award for its work on an employment discrimination case. At trial, a jury found race discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment, and awarded $2.4 million in backpay, compensatory, and punitive damages – then one of the largest awards in a case of this kind.
- Two of our lawyers were honored by the Employment Justice Center for their work in challenging the constitutionality of the District of Columbia's disability compensation program.
- The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs honored Miller & Chevalier for our representation of political refugees seeking asylum in this country.
In addition to our pro bono work, our lawyers and staff are very involved in local community service efforts. As a firm, we have been involved in a number of firm-sponsored community service projects and fund-raising efforts.
The firm established its commitment in 1929 by founding the Miller & Chevalier Chartered Charitable Foundation. The Foundation supports local organizations focused on children and families that provide education, food, housing, and health care, as well as organizations providing legal services to the underserved. In addition, the firm supports activities organized and staffed by our employees.
For 25 years, firm-wide employees have "adopted" more than 200 children each year through the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. Throughout the year, Miller & Chevalier regularly sponsors school supply drives, food and clothing drives, collects for local, national, and international disaster relief, and participates in races/walks/rides for various causes and organizations.