Giving back to the community
We have an expanded concept of pro bono—“for the public good”—work. Each of our attorneys enthusiastically embraces the concept that it is his or her responsibility to give back to the community.
This takes many forms. Some involve themselves in the community. Some serve on bar-related committees and boards, including Vermont Bar Foundation and the Coalition for Access to Justice in Vermont, both of which raise funds for legal services. Our attorneys work with hundreds of organizations on an individual level. As a firm, Langrock Sperry & Wool is a member of the Vermont Business Roundtable, Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.
Within the firm itself, our attorneys regularly act in a traditional pro bono sense—representing clients of limited means, without pay, in all sorts of matters, ranging from family law proceedings to landlord-tenant disputes to collection claims. We also answer legal questions, in appropriate circumstances, for those who cannot afford to pay. Living in a small and mostly rural state, we hope that no one will go without sound legal advice simply because of financial circumstances.
Perhaps our most important contribution is the undertaking of major pro bono litigation. Our most groundbreaking case was Baker v. State of Vermont, which established the legal rights of same-sex couples and led to the passage of Vermont’s same-sex marriage law. Two of our lawyers worked on this project for more than ten years, beginning with education, then pursuing litigation, and finally lobbying for a political solution. We have been involved in nearly all of the other major civil rights cases that have been litigated in Vermont in recent years.
We do not have a formal pro bono requirement—it is just an inherent part of our philosophy that, as attorneys privileged to be a part of this great profession, there is concurrent duty to give back to the community.
Giving back to our neighbors
In addition to the individual contributions of our attorneys to a wide variety of non-profit and community organizations, and our provision of pro bono legal services, the firm also has a longstanding tradition of contributing time and resources to our communities.
In 2010, instead of celebrating our 50th anniversary with a party, we made a series of charitable contributions, known as “50 for the 50th,” making donations of fifty items to a different charity each month across Chittenden and Addison Counties.
Once 2010 ended, we decided that the giving should go on. For many years, we have partnered with Hunger Free Vermont whose mission is to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters. Langrock Sperry & Wool has acted as one of the first-ever Ambassadors for Hunger Free Vermont, working to raise the organization’s profile and expand awareness of the problem of hunger in Vermont. We have invited our clients and others to participate with us in many different events, including the Hike for Hunger fundraiser, volunteering with summer low-income lunch programs for kids, and the ThreeSquaresVermont Challenge. We have been proud supporters of Hunger Free Vermont, and are committed to working with other non-profit organizations making a difference in the lives of Vermonters in years to come.
In 2020, we planned our 60th anniversary with another year-long campaign, this time known as “60 for the 60th.” In January, we supported the athletes of the Rutland Eagles Special Olympics team with a gift of 60 matching team jackets. In February, we supported the Vermont chapter of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI Vermont), by donating 60 picture dictionaries to assist English language learners in USCRI Vermont’s community English classes for New Americans. And in March, we supported Age Well Vermont by donating 60 meals, in each of Chittenden and Addison Counties, to Age Well’s Meals on Wheels program. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced us to suspend our donation program, but we are looking forward to reuniting with our community, and finding new ways to support that community, very soon.
Charitable contributions are determined based upon the recommendations and involvement of our attorneys, staff, and clients. Unsolicited proposals are not encouraged.