Catherine Masters and Schiff Hardin Foster a Pro Bono Mentality
“We do not restrict the kinds of pro bono work our lawyers handle. Instead we encourage them to pursue their pro bono passions,” reads Schiff Hardin’s pro bono page. It is encouragement that Schiff’s attorneys thrive on, and there is perhaps no better single example of what the support of for-profit firm can do for a not-for-profit legal aid organization than Catherine Masters, a partner at Schiff Hardin. Catherine has been an invaluable member of LAF’s Board of Directors since 2014, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Board Fundraising Committee. Catherine also collaborates with LAF attorneys on complex cases. Most recently, she assisted LAF in successfully appealing a case before the Illinois Supreme Court, recovering unemployment benefits for an LAF client.
“Everyone deserves access to justice — especially those with limited financial means, whose legal problems have magnified (even existential) importance,” says Catherine in an article released internally at Schiff Hardin. “We all work on high-profile matters, but no higher profile issue exists than the life issues LAF’s clients face: securing a safe home, appropriate education, employment, freedom from abuse, opportunity.”
For her pro bono work and counsel, Schiff Hardin awarded Catherine its June 2016 Community Service Award. In additional recognition of her commitment to public interest law and her belief in the necessity of legal aid, the firm has made a generous donation to LAF to celebrate its 50th year. Schiff has created a work environment that fosters public aid and volunteer action, and it has, in the true spirit of a volunteer, turned its efforts outwards to LAF and other legal aid organizations. LAF is grateful for the firm’s years of support and partnership, and admires Schiff Hardin and Catherine Masters for making pro bono work a priority.