The law firm of Dechert LLP joined the List Project as a pilot partner in October 2010, taking on ten cases from our List. Dechert has been assigned cases of Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries, as well as those still in Iraq.
Background on Dechert LLP:
Dechert has a longstanding tradition of providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations who cannot otherwise afford legal counsel. Lawyers in all offices and in all practice groups make a difference every day by contributing their talents to providing pro bono legal services.
A Dechert partner focuses full time on managing the firm’s pro bono program. She works with a pro bono committee consisting of representatives from every Dechert office. They are charged with promoting the firm’s pro bono efforts and ensuring that a wide variety of pro bono opportunities are available for our attorneys. The firm’s pro bono practice is diverse. Dechert’s lawyers handle hundreds of pro bono matters covering issues such as civil rights, international human rights, child advocacy, special education, access to public benefits, asylum, and the representation of numerous nonprofit organizations. Dechert’s goal is to find projects that make a difference and that match the personal interests of our lawyers. Thus, the firm takes referrals from a variety of local, national, and international legal services organization.
Dechert is a founding member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project and, as part of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, they have committed to spending three percent of total billable time annually on pro bono work. In addition, the firm is a signatory to the United Kingdom’s Joint Protocol for Pro Bono Legal Work. As a result of this dedication, Dechert lawyers commit thousands of hours annually to pro bono service.
Suzanne E. Turner heads up Dechert’s team of attorneys assisting the List Project. Ms. Turner is a partner and the chair of Dechert’s firm-wide Pro Bono practice, which provides legal representation to individuals and organizations that otherwise could not afford it. Her practice involves a wide range of human and civil rights litigation. Ms. Turner also has more than 17 years of experience as a litigator, concentrating primarily in employment and labor law.
Throughout her career, Ms. Turner has been active in many organizations focused on access to justice and community service issues. Currently, Ms. Turner is a trustee of the London-based LawWorks, the Public Interest Law Institute and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. From 2005-2009, she served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. She is the former chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Public Interest Section, founded and co-chaired the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Law Firm Pro Bono Committee and served as vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities Equal Access to Civil Justice Committee. She also chaired the board of the Philadelphia Volunteers for the Indigent Program and served on the boards of Community Legal Services and the Education Law Center in Philadelphia. Additionally, she was the program coordinator of the Plaintiff’s Employment Panel of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and was a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Task Force on Counsel for Indigent Litigants in Civil Cases. Ms. Turner also served as a board member of City Year Philadelphia and was the chair of the School District of Philadelphia’s Law and Public Safety Stakeholder Partnership.
Ms. Turner is the recipient of the 1992 Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association, the 1994 Equal Justice Award from Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, the 1996 Fidelity Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association and the 2001 Striving Towards Excellence Award from Pennsylvania Legal Services. In 2004, she was name by The Lawyer (London) as one of the UK’s “Hot 100” Lawyers. In 2009, she was named by the ABA Journal as one of 50 “Legal Rebels” nationwide (attorneys bringing innovation and new ideas to the legal profession).
Prior to joining Dechert, Ms. Turner was a partner in the employment and labor group of the Philadelphia office of a U.S. law firm, where she also created and coordinated an award-winning pro bono program. In 2000-01, she was a visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, and also served as a legal consultant for Interights, an international human rights law center based in London.