ChIPsters on the Front Lines: Tackling Pro Bono Cases

For the first time in decades, people are saying “thank God for the lawyers.” ChIPsters have been hard at work tackling pro bono cases for women and other underrepresented groups. They’re devoting their precious free time to social causes they believe in. Now more than ever, talented lawyers are needed to speak for those who otherwise can’t get heard.

Here are just a few of those ChIPsters who have stepped up this past year:


From left to right: Kat Kershner, Katherine Basile,  Marisa Maldonado and Danny Avila. 

Katherine Basile and her Reed Smith colleagues participated in the Dilley Project, spending a week at the South Texas Family Residential Center, the country’s largest immigrant detention center, assisting detained Kat Kershnermothers and children fleeing violence in South America.

They were joined by Kat Kershner, Danny Avila and Marisa Maldonado, who served as translators. The team listened to their clients’ stories and provided legal advice.


Karen Johnson-McKewan

Karen Johnson-McKewan and her Orrick colleagues, working with the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project and Planned Parenthood, stopped the closure of the state’s only abortion clinic in Kentucky, and persuaded the Kentucky U.S. District Court judge to invalidate the state’s abortion clinic licensing rules as an unconstitutional burden on Kentucky women’s right to abortion services.   


Karen Dunn

Karen Dunn and Robbie Kaplan brought a groundbreaking suit against the neo Nazis and white supremacists responsible for the violence in Charlottesville last year surrounding the Unite the Right rally and on behalf of ten plaintiffs who were injured. The case is set for trial in July 2019.

We encourage you to put your legal skills to good use, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone or practice area. We know many more of you are out there, and ChIPs is going to start tracking and recognizing your contributions.  

Have you done pro bono work representing women, other underrepresented groups or a social cause you believe in? ChIPs wants to hear about it! Let us know at