“Every lawyer holds a key to the door of equality and justice for all members of society, especially for the indigent and disadvantaged,” Bob Deignan told a new associate at Baker & McKenzie in their first meeting. All who have known or worked with Bob throughout his 40 plus year career know that he keeps this thought in the forefront of his mind. Bob’s leadership and insight have energized the firm’s pro bono program to the point where it is now a thriving pro bono practice in ten cities. The pro bono hours of the Chicago office have increased every year, and the firm continues to add new opportunities all of the time.
As a well-respected real estate lawyer, Bob is a lawyer who “walks the walk.” Throughout his career he has handled significant pro bono matters on behalf of elderly clients who were victims of real estate fraud. He also has been a key leader in the innovative Nonprofit Legal Assessment Project at the Community Economic Development Law Project, through which a team of pro bono lawyers provides a comprehensive review of a nonprofit organization’s governing documents, contracts and policies and develops a plan to address any issues raised in the review. Bob has recruited pro bono attorneys from his firm to participate, created partnerships with other law firms and corporate legal departments, and spearheaded the firm’s compilation of a resource manual for volunteer attorneys, which he freely shares with other firms and law departments involved with the project.
Bob has impacted countless individuals with his amazing commitment, from his pro bono clients to the scores of lawyers he has mentored over the years. Like Edward J. Lewis II, Bob is a true pro bono champion.