About Hanson Bridgett

Pro Bono Program

  • Print Page
  • Email Page
  • Share this page
Thomas Rivera

Pro Bono Legal Service

We are proud to provide pro bono services to those who cannot afford quality legal representation, whether an individual, a small business, or a nonprofit organization. We handle a wide variety of matters, including litigation and transactions, dedicating the same commitment and drive that we bring to all our clients.

Spearheaded by our Pro Bono Committee, we have devised internal incentives to assist our lawyers in providing legal services. Our associates may receive credit toward their annual billable-hour requirements for up to 150 hours of pro bono work. In 12 months spanning 2020-2021, our attorneys contributed 6,751 hours of pro bono work.

Pro Bono Partnerships

We have developed partnerships with many nonprofit legal service organizations, enabling us to expand our contributions and play a more integral role in assisting them. Those groups include the following:

Recent Pro Bono Work

Members of Hanson Bridgett’s legal staff contribute thousands of hours to pro bono work each year. Here is a sampling of our work in our local communities.

  • Assisted clients dealing with issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Organized webinars for the Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses on various business topics
  • Hosted in-house asylum clinics to help applicants prepare the necessary paperwork
  • Represented families seeking asylum to preserve their claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act over the forcible separation of parents and children at the border
  • Helped survivors of domestic violence obtain restraining orders against their abusers
  • Engaged in election protection activities for the November 2020 general election

Coronavirus Pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck California, our Pro Bono Committee reached out to our partner organizations to see if we could help those especially hit hard by the sweeping shutdown.

This outreach led to a number of pro bono matters for the firm, several involving individuals and organizations facing sudden financial difficulties. Here is a sampling of our work during the pandemic.

  • Assisted Legal Services for Children with an employee’s relocation under the Bay Area Shelter-in-Place Order
  • Represented the San Geronimo Valley Affordable Housing Association in a purchase agreement dispute, helping the association exit the agreement due to pandemic-related issues
  • Assisted the San Francisco Education Fund with the tax consequences of its Paycheck Protection Program Loan
  • Assisted the Education Fund with implementing of a remote tutoring program
  • Assisted a family of 8 in Orange County who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 in an eviction dispute and ultimately the family was able to stay in their home

Racial Justice

Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent national protests against police brutality, the Pro Bono Committee worked with the firm’s newly formed RACE Task Force to explore ways of advancing racial justice.

As a result of these efforts, the firm intends to partner with the ACLU Louisiana Justice Lab Project in representing local residents who have been victims of police brutality and are pursuing private civil actions against Louisiana police departments.

In addition, two attorneys organized legal webinars for the Bay Area Organization of Black-Owned Businesses on various business topics, including insurance recovery and COVID-related employment issues.

The firm is also representing a bicycle company threatened with litigation and trolled by alt-right media outlets after implementing a discount program for Black bicycle users.


  • The Recorder named Hanson Bridgett one of 10 leading Northern California pro bono practices.
  • Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County honored us with its Dorothy Wolf Award for our work with survivors of domestic violence.
  • Bay Area Legal Aid honored Hanson Bridgett with its Pro Bono Leadership Award for being a Sustained Pro Bono Partner.
  • The AIDS Legal Referral Panel selected us as their Firm of the Year for our work to protect the legal rights of Bay Area residents living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Legal Services for Children honored Hanson Bridgett with one of four Pro Bono Partner Awards.
  • Many of our attorneys have received the Wiley W. Manuel Award, issued by the State Bar of California to those with 50 or more hours of pro bono service in a year. This award is named in honor of Wiley W. Manuel, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of California from 1977-1981.



Pro Bono Legal Service

Pro Bono Spotlight

We represented leading behavioral economists as amicus curiae in the U.S. Supreme Court. In Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman, a group of merchants challenged state laws that prohibit credit-card surcharges, but permit cash discounts. The plaintiffs claim this is a regulation of speech limited by the First Amendment. As our clients’ research demonstrates, there is no difference between credit surcharges and cash discounts in purely economic terms, but framing the price differential as a surcharge is more likely to deter credit use than raising sticker prices and offering a cash discount. Consistently, the Court ruled unanimously that New York’s law regulates speech and must comport with First Amendment scrutiny.



Primary Contacts

Samir Abdelnour
Director of Pro Bono & Social Impact / Pro Bono Committee Chair 

415-995-5869 Direct Phone
415-995-3581 Fax

Email Attorney

Thomas Rivera
Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair 

415-995-6493 Direct Phone
415-541-9366 Fax

Email Attorney

Pro Bono Committee

Marc Coats

David Casarrubias

Catherine Groves

Sean Herman

Merton Howard

Liz Masson

Rachel Patterson

Natalie Wilson

Nicole Witt

Samantha Wolff

Anita Zerounian