Heart and Hope
Koch Pro Bono Initiative Delivers Aid to Those Who Need It Most
For some Americans, just one criminal misstep early in life can cascade into an endless stream of trouble — trouble getting a job, affording a home and even supporting a family.
Now, through Koch Industries’ pro bono initiative, many more people can access free legal help to clear charges from their records or move beyond past mistakes that have haunted them for years.
The ripple effects can be huge. Legal assistance such as clearing up records gives people a fresh start, helps strengthen their families and ultimately bolsters the communities in which Koch works.
Launched in 2018, the pro bono initiative gives Koch’s 200-plus lawyers the chance to donate thousands of hours to individuals and organizations that need their help most. Koch's partner firms — totaling nearly 20,000 attorneys — are also signing up to help. One of these firms, Barnes & Thornburg, has pledged 10,000 hours of legal work worth millions of dollars. In addition, there are plenty of chances for nonlawyers across Koch companies to support pro bono projects they feel passionate about, such as the Midwest Innocence Project.
This effort also benefits many of the community organizations supported by the Stand Together Foundation, a philanthropic community founded by Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch that is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty in communities across the country by helping people transform their lives.
“We have all this legal talent, both internally and with our preferred panel firms, and we can help those grassroots organizations working in our communities by taking legal problems off their plate,” says Melissa Brown, Koch Industries Associate General Counsel for Public Policy and Pro Bono.
The clients aren’t the only beneficiaries — pro bono opportunities give attorneys a wealth of experience and skills that can ultimately help them in their day-to-day roles.
“I get to do things that provide value to me,” says Jeremy Hilsman, Atlanta-based Chief Counsel for Real Estate at Koch Industries. “Is it a paycheck? No. But it’s something that makes me feel more whole as a human.”
Click on the faces of the people driving forward Koch’s pro bono efforts to meet them.