Debevoise & Plimpton



Pro Bono Rank Firm
(Am Law 200 Rank)
Am Law
Pro Bono Score
Average Pro Bono
Hours Per Lawyer
% of Lawyers
With More Than 20 Hours
Debevoise & Plimpton (33)


Debevoise & Plimpton doesn't hold a grudge. One of the firm's recent hires is George W. Bush's last U.S. attorney general Michael Mukasey. And one of the firm's leading pro bono efforts is its work for the for the left-leaning Center for Constitutional Rights, and its fight for Guantánamo detainees

Am Law Pro Bono 100Since 2006 the New York-based firm has represented Sudanese, Yemeni, and Afghan detainees in matters related to their status and detention conditions. The firm devoted 4,225 hours to these cases last year, more than in any other pro bono area.

In the case of Haji Bismullah, Debevoise's efforts paid off big in January. The United States detained Bismullah, a provincial Afghanistan government official, in February 2003. Debevoise partner John Missing and counsel Jennifer Cowan petitioned for his release in June 2006. They presented arguments and evidence that Bismullah was never aligned with the Taliban, and was only in Gitmo because of false accusations by political rivals. Since his detention, the firm has contended that Bismullah has been unlawfully detained and been subjected to "coercive and unlawful interrogation techniques."

In addition to litigating the case, Debevoise also submitted information directly to the U.S. Department of Defense trying to prove that he did not belong in Guantánamo. The Defense Department in January reached the same conclusion and released him to Afghanistan.

—Nate Raymond | July 1, 2009

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