At McDonald Hopkins, we believe public service is fundamentally important to the legal profession. We strive to be good corporate citizens and the needs of our communities guide and frame what we do. Whether it’s providing pro bono legal assistance, participating on local nonprofit boards, or donating to charitable campaigns, we embrace the opportunity to have a positive impact on the communities where we live and work.
We strive to lead the way in our approach to community service with the same energy and passion that we dedicate to providing high-quality legal services. As a firm we support a variety of community service initiatives and local nonprofit organizations through internal fundraising, volunteering, sponsorship and membership on boards. We’re also proud that many of our individual attorneys and professionals devote significant hours to volunteering and providing pro bono legal services, supporting nonprofit organizations that enrich and strengthen our communities.
Say Yes to Education and College Now
McDonald Hopkins is proud to partner with College Now of Greater Cleveland to help recruit mentors for low-income, first-generation college students in the Cleveland. The College Now Mentoring Program is a high-quality, high-impact mentoring program that uses a unique, online platform which guides communication between mentor and mentee with an interactive and personalized curriculum. College Now also hosts events throughout the year to bring mentor-mentee pairs together, and also to create space for mentors and mentees to learn from one another.
For years, attorneys and paralegals in our Cleveland office have participated in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 3Rs program, which connects lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals with high school students in Cleveland and East Cleveland schools. Through a series of six in-person lessons during the regular school day, 3Rs volunteers help foster an understanding and appreciation of the U.S. Constitution, as well as share important information about how students can achieve their goals beyond high school.
Attorneys and staff in our Chicago office support Open Books, a nonprofit organization that supports literacy efforts for over 5,000 children each year with programs designed to transform lives through reading, writing and the giving power of used books.
We encourage and recognize attorneys at our firm who demonstrate a commitment to pro bono legal work.
Access to Justice Award
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland recognized McDonald Hopkins with the Access to Justice award at their 2019 annual meeting. The award is given in recognition of significant contributions to advancing the mission of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland through pro bono commitments. McDonald Hopkins member Amy Willey and now-retired member Jeffrey Pollock accepted the award on behalf of the firm and in recognition of their individual contributions.
Right to Counsel
McDonald Hopkins has represented several Legal Aid organizations and advocacy groups throughout Ohio in filing an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court of Ohio to accept jurisdiction of a landmark legal issue involving the right to counsel. The case seeks to establish the right of an indigent parent to have an attorney appointed on their behalf in contested adoption cases in which a separate party is attempting to adopt the child. Amy Willey was the lead attorney on the amicus brief.
Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
McDonald Hopkins represented a debtor in bankruptcy who owned a martial residence together with his spouse as tenants by the entirety. The opposing party had obtained a substantial default judgment against the debtor which had been recorded as a lien against the marital residence. The debtor’s wife subsequently died after the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The issue presented is whether future interests in property held as a tenant by the entirety as of the petition date are exempt from bankruptcy administration under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(2). The client was represented by Stephen Rosenfeld in the Chicago office.
Medicaid Pro Bono Program
McDonald Hopkins is proud to partner with Disability Rights Ohio to expand their existing Medicaid Pro Bono Program, which provides legal services to Ohio families and children with disabilities. The program, which started when DRO teamed up with Nationwide Insurance in 2017, will now be able to reach more people struggling to obtain access to adequate healthcare services and medical equipment.
Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program
Under the America Invents Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA) established the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The program functions as a referral service and matches inventors with volunteer attorneys who donate their services to help prepare and prosecute patent applications. McDonald Hopkins was a founding member of the IP Venture Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, which currently administers the program throughout Ohio.
As one of the first firms to commit pools of billable hours to the program, McDonald Hopkins has continued to support the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program since its establishment. In April 2019, Julie Micalizzi received U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Certificates of Achievement for her donation of more than 50 hours of pro bono work.
Veterans' Pro Bono Clinic
Working with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center, McDonald Hopkins has developed a program to provide free legal advice and referrals to low-income veterans in need of help. Veterans who have been pre-identified by the Legal Aid Society meet with McDonald Hopkins volunteer attorneys for in-person, one-on-one counseling on civil legal issues related to shelter, safety, consumer rights, health, education, work, or income issues.
Since May 2014, the clinic has been proud to serve some of the nearly 900,000 veterans in Ohio. The Veterans’ Pro Bono Clinic is offered every four to six weeks at the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center in Cleveland. Veterans looking for legal assistance can refer to the schedule on the Legal Aid Society’s website for specific dates and times.
In October 2015, the Legal Aid Society honored McDonald Hopkins’ Jeffrey Pollock with a Community Impact Award for his work leading the Veteran Pro Bono Clinic. Even after retiring from the firm, Jeffrey continues to provide pro bono legal services to Ohio veterans and still volunteers at the clinic.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At McDonald Hopkins, we believe that a diverse law firm is crucial to providing quality legal services and are committed to supporting and promoting diversity and inclusion as an integral part of our culture. This commitment is one of the fundamental principles that guides our decisions, management practices, and conduct. We recognize that the unique aspects of every individual bring something different and valuable to our firm, and that those unique differences make our firm stronger, enhance our ability to represent our clients, and benefit our communities. We have worked and will continue to work to maintain an open work environment and a diverse workforce of attorneys and staff.
McDonald Hopkins’ commitment to diversity is deep and ongoing. We will continue to take positive actions to support and encourage diversity within the firm and our communities.
The mission of the McDonald Hopkins’ Women’s Council is threefold:
- To cultivate female leadership within the firm and in our communities.
- To promote the skills, experience and accomplishments of our women attorneys.
- To create avenues for client development and encourage peer networking.
At McDonald Hopkins, we recognize the importance of supporting and encouraging women lawyers as members of our firm and in the community. Internally, we’ve created a culture that supports professional growth and career advancement for women. Our women attorneys and professionals are in every office, department, practice group and level of leadership. And outside the office, in the community, our Women's Council is actively involved in creating opportunities for professional and business development. From offering networking events to speaker series and educational programs, our Women’s Council cultivates and supports strong female leaders.