Taft In The Community

Taft attorneys and staff members actively participate in the communities we serve. We volunteer for public service projects focused on strengthening our neighborhoods, schools and charitable organizations. We provide pro bono services to those in need and financial support to organizations in the form of sponsorships and donations. We hold leadership positions on boards of professional, educational, arts, religious, charitable and civic organizations.

Since 1885, our professionals have been committed to public and political service. It is embedded in our past, it is prominent in our present, and it is expected in our future.

Communities thrive when people are willing to commit their time, energy and skills to making it happen. Taft attorneys and staff members recognize the importance of community service, as demonstrated in the examples below.

Amherst H Wilder Foundation
The firm and its employees regularly donates school supplies as well as monetary donations to the Wilder School Supply Drive. Recently, annual Taft school supply donations have exceeded 4,500 items.

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation (CVLS)
Two Taft partners have worked with the CVLS for many years: one serves as faculty in a training program to assist the volunteer attorneys in defense of certain suits and the other is a former CVLS board member. Each year, the firm participates in Race Judicata, a 5k race that raises funds for the CVLS.

Geauga County Bluecoats Inc.
Cleveland partner Greg O’Brien serves on the board of this charitable foundation that provides support for the families of Geauga County, Ohio, safety forces who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The Bluecoats donate funds for safety and equipment needs, including digital fingerprint scanning machines, night cameras, criminal seminars and Crime Stoppers programs.

Give Back Cincinnati
Taft employees and families participate in Give Back Cincinnati's annual Paint the Town event in an effort to rejuvenate a community and its surrounding areas. Paint the Town engages more than 1,000 volunteers to prep and paint houses in the chosen community. Each team of volunteers is managed by an experienced team leader. Painting a mass of homes in a concentrated area can truly serve as a catalyst to lift up a community.

Greater Chicago Food Depository
Taft members volunteer throughout the year packing and sorting bulk items into individual and family portions for delivery to multiple distribution sites. As Chicago’s food bank, this nonprofit food distribution and training center is committed to ending hunger in the community, working through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to serve 678,000 adults and children in Cook County every year.

The Hiram House
The firm participates as a sponsor for the Hiram House Camp’s annual Pumpkin Festival, with proceeds benefiting the Campership Fund. Hiram House, in scenic Chagrin Valley, enriches the lives of children through camping. The Hiram House Camp is Ohio’s oldest camp and has offered continuous summer programs and year-round outdoor education and recreation programs for youth, schools, churches, businesses, civic and other organizations. Cleveland partner Kevin Barnes serves as president of Hiram House, and partner Phil Bautista is on the board.

House of Charity
This organization is dedicated to helping those experiencing homelessness to develop healthy independence. Taft volunteers serve lunch to the many hungry and homeless people who come through their doors every day.

Law and Leadership Institute
Taft supports and assists the Illinois State Bar Association, the Just the Beginning Foundation and other Chicago law firms in sponsoring and hosting a number of interactive programs on legal topics for minority high school students throughout the year. Both principal seminar program partner organizations have long been committed to increasing diversity in the legal profession.

Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana
Taft has been a sponsor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana for several years. Most recently, employees volunteered at the 2016 Request-A-Thon, held Dec. 1-2, which raised more than $700,000. Taft is also a sponsor of the Big Wish Gala and the Walk for Wishes. In addition, the firm co-hosts the annual Kickball Classic with IMMI. These events help raise money to grant wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Outrun the Sun, Inc.
Taft employees and families participated in the annual Outrun the Sun Race Against Melanoma in Indianapolis in June. Runners and walkers raised money to build awareness of melanoma and other skin cancers, to educate communities on preventative measures that reduce skin cancer incidence rates and to help fund research leading to effective treatments and a cure. Taft has supported Outrun the Sun since its founding in 2004 through race participation, volunteering and financial contributions.

Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58
Since 2011, Taft has contributed and pledged more than $1 million to Ralph Waldo Emerson School 58. Taft developed a program with the school that supports areas of need and improvement. The main areas of focus are fund and support the after school program and to increase academic achievement. Taft employees are also involved with the students through tutoring, mentoring and volunteering their time and talents. In 2018, Taft announced it will sponsor life-changing microgrants through Centers for Working Families (CWF). Taft pledged a $40,000 gift to the Breaking Barriers Grant Program to help put Central Indiana’s most vulnerable neighbors on the path to financial stability. 

Ribbon of Hope Luncheon
Taft's Dayton office proudly sponsors the annual Ribbon of Hope Luncheon, a fundraiser for women's wellness. More than 400 business and community leaders attend the event, which includes a nationally known speaker who presents on breast cancer and women's health issues.

Rothenberg Elementary School
For the past four years, Taft's Cincinnati office has participated in the "Be the Change Campaign." The campaign is part of a broad community effort to assist Cincinnati Public Schools in increasing student achievement. Each week, a team of Taft attorneys and staff spend one hour tutoring 3rd grade students in reading.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Central Indiana Affiliate
Taft has been a supporter of the Central Indiana Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for several years. Taft partner Jayna Cacioppo serves on the board and has been the chair of Komen’s Pink Tie Ball since 2015. Taft Chairman and Managing Partner Robert J. Hicks is a 2017 Pink Tie Guy, one of a group of leaders bringing a male voice to the urgency of finding cures.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Taft attorneys and staff help build homes for Habitat for Humanity on an annual basis. This organization works to eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience. 

Taft attorneys are committed to providing legal services to low-income individuals, nonprofit and community organizations and public interest causes, ranging from direct legal work for the indigent to extensive assistance to the courts. We believe it is our professional duty to provide pro bono services and to approach them with the same client-first mindset and service we bring to every other matter.

Each year, we devote thousands of hours to individuals, groups and nonprofit organizations who otherwise are unable to afford legal services. Our pro bono areas of service have included litigation, estate planning, corporate, real estate and labor, among others. This dedication to the public interest is inherent in Taft’s culture; our founding partners were heavily engaged in public and political service, and our current attorneys continue that legacy.

Pro bono work is encouraged throughout the firm, from new associates to senior partners with extensive experience.

Accolades

Following are some examples of how we have been recognized for our pro bono efforts across our offices:

  • The Ramsey County Bar Association’s 2018 “Distinguished Humanitarian Award” was awarded to Sally Scoggin for her years of distinguished pro bono and community service.
  • Named to the 2018 “Honor Roll” for the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Investing in Justice campaign, which benefits more than 30 local pro bono and legal aid organizations.
  • Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS) awarded the firm its “10-Year Social Justice Hero” at its 10th Annual Social Justice Uncorked celebration in 2017.
  • Children Law Center’s (CLC) 2017 “Distinguished Service Award” was awarded to the firm for its outstanding commitment to pro bono legal representation for Minnesota foster youth.
  • Taft was selected as the recipient of the "Outstanding Service by a Law Firm" award by the Columbus Bar Association, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus and the Columbus Bar Foundation in 2017.
  • Taft was selected as the recipient of the first “Law Firm of the Year” award by the Pro Bono Partnership of Greater Cincinnati in 2016.
  • John Degnan was awarded Minnesota Lawyer’s 2015 “Attorney of the Year” Award for his pro bono work in securing VA medical benefits for a client's post-traumatic stress disorder from the Vietnam war.
  • Taft attorneys Tracy Betz and Zach Gordon were honored at the Southern Indiana District Court’s volunteer appreciation breakfast for providing pro bono help in 2015 to pro se litigants in either the Civil Trial Assistance Program or the Mediation Assistance Program.

Partnerships

We urge our attorneys to match a cause that inspires them with a legal need in the community. Some of the organizations and programs we have supported through our pro bono efforts or through which Taft attorneys have provided pro bono service are:

  • Central Ohio Association for Justice (COAJ)
  • Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
  • Chicago Volunteer Legal Services
  • Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
  • Cleveland Municipal School District 3Rs Program
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children
  • Georgia Lawyers for the Arts
  • Habitat for Humanity of Minnesota
  • Heartland Pro Bono Council
  • HVAF of Indiana, Inc.
  • Interfaith Legal Clinic
  • Jackson Foundations
  • Lawyers for Justice
  • Legal Aid of Western Ohio and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (LAWO/ABLE)
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • National Immigrant Justice Center
  • Neighborhood Christian Legal Services
  • Pro Bono Partnership
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Transgender Law Center
  • Victory Project
  • Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor

Direct Service

Our pro bono activity is substantially focused on direct legal service to the disadvantaged, including through these organizations:

  • The Advocates for Human Rights
    • The Advocates for Human Rights implements international human rights standards to promote civil society and to reinforce the rule of law.  Taft’s lawyers do asylum and removal work for clients referred to the firm through The Advocates, as well as research projects on human rights and international law. ​
  • Children’s Law Center of Minnesota
    • CLC provides court-appointed legal representation to children who are wards of the state or have been removed from their homes because they are in need of protection.  Taft’s lawyers represent foster children through CLC, and advocate for the legal rights and necessary services for these clients, particularly in the transition from foster care to independent living.
  • Federal Bar Association Pro Se Project
    • The Pro Se Project is a collaboration between the Minnesota District Court and the Minnesota Chapter of the Federal Bar Association to address the growing challenges presented by civil pro se litigants in the federal judicial system. Taft attorneys handle full-representation cases in federal court.
  • LegalCORPS
    • LegalCORPS provides free legal assistance in transactional matters to low-income entrepreneurs and innovators and small nonprofits in Minnesota through the services of volunteer business lawyers. Our attorneys volunteer at monthly advice clinics and provide pro bono full representation for clients referred to the firm by LegalCORPS.
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN)
    • The VLN Legal Access Point (LAP) clinic provides pro se individuals with direct, quick legal advice on a range of civil legal issues. Taft attorneys volunteer at several VLN LAP Clinics each month.
  • Naturalization Cases
    • Direct services provided in conjunction with legal services organizations such as Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance (MMLA), the Minnesota Guardian Ad Litem Program, Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services (SMRLS), and the Minnesota Disability Law Center.

Taft associates, in particular, benefit in many ways from performing pro bono work, as it helps them develop as leaders in law and public service and exposes them to different areas of practice that they can carry forward in their careers. To support their efforts, Taft offers billable credit for up to 100 hours of pro bono work performed by associates and counsel.

Longtime residents of downtown Cincinnati, Taft expanded its presence with the Taft Center, an innovative, multi-functional reception space overlooking Fountain Square. Taft and its clients and other stakeholders can enjoy “front porch” city views as they partake in meetings, seminars, social events and community causes. In fact, the firm’s own involvement in civic and community organizations helped inspire the multi-purpose space.

Located on the second floor of the US Bank Tower, the 7,000-square-foot Taft Center serves as a meeting and conference site, as well as a reception space for networking events and mixers hosted by Taft clients and guests.

From Fountain Square, dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows offer illuminated views of the 1,200-square-foot “Living Room,” an expansive space equipped with wireless internet and movable seating. Beyond are private meeting rooms of varying sizes, fitted with high-tech electronics for international conferencing. The largest room accommodates 120 guests in theater-style seating, or 80 in a sit-down dining setting. A large lobby and 600-square-foot catering kitchen allow The Taft Center to accommodate guests with a variety of services.

More information on Taft Center conference rooms, including floor maps, is available here.

If you are interested in learning more about the Taft Center, please contact one of the Taft Center Event Coordinators, Courtney Siegel, at (513) 357-8799 or csiegel@taftlaw.com, or Joe Loggia, at (513) 357-9356 or jloggia@taftlaw.com.