About Us

Pro Bono

One of the core values of Armstrong Teasdale is Investment. By that we mean partnering with our clients, our people and the communities in which we operate by investing resources in them and providing opportunities on their behalf. This takes many forms – from collecting school supplies for children in need, making repairs to the home of a senior citizen, donating to the United Way or serving on boards and committees of not-for-profit organizations. All lawyers and business professionals are encouraged to get involved and invest their time, skills and financial resources as they deem appropriate. Individuals, each office and the firm as an entity make numerous opportunities available.

Providing Pro Bono legal services for those who cannot afford them has been a priority of Armstrong Teasdale since it began over 120 years ago. As one of the founding members of the Washington D.C.-based Pro Bono Institute, Armstrong Teasdale has created several programs that demonstrate our long-term commitment to helping those in need. These include the Neighborhood Justice Center (NJC), which provides legal services to inner-city residents in St. Louis. With the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, we developed an innovative program that provides pro bono legal services while giving young lawyers hands-on trial experience.

Much of our pro bono activity involves the protection of women and children. Firm lawyers provide legal services to Legal Advocates for Abused Women (LAAW), a domestic violence support agency that issues free orders of protection and provides other services to victims of domestic violence. Other agencies we partner with include: Legal Services of Eastern MissouriLand of Lincoln Legal Services, and Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts.

In addition to litigation, our lawyers have guided more than 25 nonprofit organizations in all facets of their organization and operation. The groups we have helped include an organization involved in the redevelopment of a blighted area of St. Louis, one organization that provides job skills to disadvantaged women, and another that provides a group home setting for homeless, pregnant girls. Organizations we have assisted with pro bono services include a metropolitan ballet company, the largest veterans services charity in New England, and an elder services agency, among others.

The matters we handle include preparation of governing documents, liability of directors and management, membership, governance and control issues, and distribution of assets to qualified organizations on liquidation.

Our tax lawyers assist in the preparation and filing of tax exemption applications and in other tax matters involving exempt organizations and feeder organizations. The firm's Health Care and Corporate Services practice groups perform legal audits for nonprofits, reorganization studies, risk management, general contracting, and directors and officers and other related insurance matters.

Representative Matters

'Widow Penalty' Dissolved Following Pro Bono Case

We represented a native of Thailand in a widely watched case that helped convince the U.S. Congress to dissolve the “Widow Penalty," which allowed the government to deport aliens if their marriages to U.S. citizens ended within two years, even if the spouse died.

First Amendment Case Challenged Mandatory School Uniform Motto

We filed an amicus brief in a First Amendment case before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals involving a challenge to a mandatory school policy forcing children to wear a uniform bearing a certain motto. The brief was filed on behalf of the Student Press Law Center and the parents who contested the school’s policy.

Helped Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Build Jobs Center following Unrest in Ferguson

The firm provided pro bono legal services to help transform Ferguson’s destroyed QuikTrip location into a job training center operated by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. We represented the Urban League in the transaction in which QuikTrip donated the land, cost of demolition and remediation of the site.

Support Basket Weavers in Rising from Poverty through Counsel to Ten by Three®

Since 2008, Armstrong Teasdale has provided ongoing pro bono support to Ten by Three, formerly the Blessing Basket Project, a nonprofit organization that works with about 2,000 weavers in seven developing countries, helping them rise out of poverty through empowered entrepreneurship. The firm created the legal structure that facilitated Ten by Three’s creation and expansion. It has also filed dozens of trademarks on the nonprofit’s behalf as well as given counsel on employment matters and other legal issues.

Secured Immediate Prison Release for Client Through Washington, D.C.’s Second Look Project

Associates Casey Waughn and Bianca Valcarce represented a client under Washington, D.C.’s Second Look Project, which provides direct representation to individuals sentenced to extreme prison terms as youths and aims to obtain immediate release for these individuals under D.C.’s Compassionate Release laws and the Incarceration Reduction Act (IRAA). These laws allow individuals sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for crimes they committed before age 25 to petition the sentencing court to reduce their sentence upon proving that they are qualified for resentencing and should be resentenced based on the eleven factors of the IRAA. Valcarce and Waughn represented a client who was incarcerated for more than 31 years, since he was 19 years old, and who was serving a sentence of 45 years to life. They prepared and submitted a written petition to the court under Washington D.C.’s IRAA and Second Look Act, offering evidence and arguments as to why the statute’s 11 factors counseled in favor of a sentence reduction. After the petition was fully briefed, Waughn and Valcarce appeared remotely on behalf of the client for an evidentiary hearing, where they presented testimony from three witnesses, including their client. After hearing the evidence and considering the written submission, the judge immediately granted their client’s motion and resentenced him, giving credit for time served and resulting in his immediate release. Without this motion, the client would not have been eligible for parole for another 10-15 years, with the possibility that he would have served the rest of his life in prison.

Helped Client in Abusive Situation Break Lease

Armstrong Teasdale Partner Darren K. Sharp assisted a client who advised her landlord that she would be breaking the lease on her apartment to escape her abusive live-in boyfriend. After raising defenses to the lease, and pointing out Missouri law allows victims of abuse to break leases without penalty, and asking for extensive written discovery, the landlord’s counsel ultimately agreed to dismiss the client and pursue only her former boyfriend. The client was being held accountable for several thousand dollars over the remaining term of the lease, and she was thankful she ultimately owed nothing.

Supported Mother in Family Court Matter

Partner Beverly Weber represented a mother whose 17-year-old son came under the jurisdiction of the court after he ran away due to substance abuse. DFS alleged the mother was neglecting him, when in fact she had been trying to get him clean and was supporting him while he tried to stay with others during recovery. Working with the system, Armstrong Teasdale was able to support the mother while the son got the services he needed, and ensure there were no adverse findings against the mother.

Helped CitySquash After-School Program Build New Bronx Facility

CitySquash is a not-for-profit after school enrichment program based in the Bronx, New York. The organization offers after-school programming for young people from economically disadvantaged households. Partner Julie Schechter, with assistance from Associates Denise DeNicola and Marijana Predovan, was proud to volunteer her legal services to help them build a new, state-of-the-art facility in the Bronx, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2025.

Patent Pro Bono Team Supports Nonprofit, Independent Inventors

Within the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group, the patent pro bono team helps independent inventors with a demonstrated financial need and who would likely be unable to obtain protection or commercialize their inventions. The team has filed and gotten protection for a number of inventions, many of which are for products that provide a social good, such as COVID-19 protection systems, education systems, and insurance and health care programs. These have included:

  • Working with the family of a deceased repeat inventor to continue her patent work pro bono to provide a legacy and help her family following her loss.
  • Patent applications for a nonprofit organization that help supplies water in countries and rural areas where children would not otherwise have access to clean water.
  • IP licensing and contract work for nonprofits such as a software company providing remote education solutions for developing countries.
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