Pro Bono & Community Service
Robbins Geller provides counsel to those unable to access legal representation as part of a continuous and longstanding commitment to the communities in which it serves. Over the years the Firm has dedicated a considerable amount of time, energy, and a full range of its resources for many pro bono and charitable actions.
Robbins Geller has been honored for its pro bono efforts by the California State Bar (including a nomination for the President’s Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year award) and the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer’s Program, among others.
Some of the Firm’s and its attorneys’ pro bono and charitable actions include:
Representing public school children and parents in Tennessee challenging the state’s private school voucher law, known as the Education Savings Account (ESA) Pilot Program. Robbins Geller helped achieve favorable rulings enjoining implementation of the ESA for violating the Home Rule provision of the Tennessee Constitution, which prohibits the General Assembly from passing laws that target specific counties without local approval.
Representing California bus passengers pro bono in a landmark consumer and civil rights case against Greyhound for subjecting them to discriminatory immigration raids. Robbins Geller achieved a watershed court ruling that a private company may be held liable under California law for allowing border patrol to harass and racially profile its customers. The case heralds that Greyhound passengers do not check their rights and dignity at the bus door and has had an immediate impact, not only in California but nationwide. Within weeks of Robbins Geller filing the case, Greyhound added “know your rights” information to passengers to its website and on posters in bus stations around the country, along with adopting other business reforms.
- Working with the Homeless Action Center (HAC) to provide no-cost, barrier-free, culturally competent legal representation that makes it possible for people who are homeless (or at risk of becoming homeless) to access social safety net programs that help restore dignity and provide sustainable income, healthcare, mental health treatment and housing. Based in Oakland and Berkeley, the non-profit is the only program in the Bay Area that specializes in legal services to those who are chronically homeless. In 2016, HAC provided assistance to 1,403 men and 936 women, and 1,691 cases were completed. An additional 1,357 cases were still pending when the year ended. The results include 512 completed SSI cases with a success rate of 87%.
- Representing Trump University students in two class actions against President Donald J. Trump. The historic settlement provides $25 million to approximately 7,000 consumers. This means individual class members are eligible for upwards of $35,000 in restitution – an extraordinary result.
- Representing children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as children with significant disabilities, in New York to remedy flawed educational policies and practices that cause substantial harm to these and other similar children year after year.
- Representing 19 San Diego County children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their appeal of the San Diego Regional Center’s termination of funding for a crucial therapy. The victory resulted in a complete reinstatement of funding and set a precedent that allows other children to obtain the treatments they need.
- Serving as Northern California and Hawaii District Coordinator for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s Pro Bono program since 1993.
- Representing the Sierra Club and the National Economic Development and Law Center as amici curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Obtaining political asylum, after an initial application had been denied, for an impoverished Somali family whose ethnic minority faced systematic persecution and genocidal violence in Somalia, as well as forced female mutilation.
- Working with the ACLU in a class action filed on behalf of welfare applicants subject to San Diego County’s “Project 100%” program. Relief was had when the County admitted that food-stamp eligibility could not hinge upon the Project 100% “home visits,” and again when the district court ruled that unconsented “collateral contacts” violated state regulations. The decision was noted by the Harvard Law Review, The New York Times and The Colbert Report.
- Filing numerous amicus curiae briefs on behalf of religious organizations and clergy that support civil rights, oppose government-backed religious-viewpoint discrimination, and uphold the American traditions of religious freedom and church-state separation.
- Serving as amicus counsel in a Ninth Circuit appeal from a Board of Immigration Appeals deportation decision. In addition to obtaining a reversal of the BIA’s deportation order, the Firm consulted with the Federal Defenders’ Office on cases presenting similar fact patterns, which resulted in a precedent-setting en banc decision from the Ninth Circuit resolving a question of state and federal law that had been contested and conflicted for decades.
Robbins Geller believes in giving back to the community. For more than a decade the Firm’s attorneys and staff have proudly supported a broad spectrum of causes, including:
- Alzheimer’s Association
- American Cancer Society
- Angels Foster Family Network
- Camp Boggy Creek
- ElderHelp of San Diego
- Family Health Centers of San Diego
- Kids at Heart Program
- La Raza Scholarship Fund
- Mama’s Kitchen
- North Shore Animal League
- Rady’s Children’s Hospital
- Ronald McDonald House
- Think Dignity
- United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego
Robbins Geller has been recognized by the American Cancer Society with its corporate Circle of Hope Award. For over ten years, the Firm has supported and participated in the American Cancer Society's three major fundraisers: Daffodil Days, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and the Relay for Life.