In 2013, Reed Smith attorney Matt Mohn stood in for the firm at an Allegheny Conference at what he expected would be a routine informational meeting, but what followed was far from routine.
He saw video made by conference communications director Bill Flannagan about how Urban Innovation21 was investing in entrepreneurs starting businesses in the Hill District, and thought—these startups could use some legal advice to avoid pitfalls that could potentially kill their businesses.
On July 19, Mohn hosted several of those entrepreneurs, along with Urban Innovation21 President and CEO Bill Generett and some of his staff, at the firm’s Downtown offices to celebrate having provided $1 million in pro bono legal services.
“Since meeting Bill and bringing this idea to the firm, 111 lawyers spent more than 26,000 hours providing $1 million in free legal services to 44 clients,” Mohn told the New Pittsburgh Courier. “If it weren’t for the enthusiasm of those 110 other lawyers, this would have been nothing but an idea I told my wife about before bed.”
Mohn said it was a great fit because, although Reed Smith does $3 million a year in pro bono work just in Pittsburgh, only a small part is related business law. This partnership allows the firm’s corporate lawyers to do pro bono work in their field of expertise. He said the program will continue and likely expand.