Pro Bono

Keker, Van Nest & Peters has a long and proud tradition of providing pro bono representation, ranging from high-impact civil rights litigation affecting communities to habeas corpus, criminal, immigration and asylum matters on behalf of individuals.

Our attorneys have broad discretion to choose pro bono matters that appeal to their areas of interest and expertise. Once we take a pro bono case, we dedicate the same level of attention as any other matter. Our firm regularly exceeds all professional standards with respect to the percentage of lawyer time spent on pro bono matters.

Keker, Van Nest & Peters has a long and proud tradition of providing pro bono representation, ranging from high-impact civil rights litigation affecting communities to habeas corpus, criminal, immigration and asylum matters on behalf of individuals.

Our attorneys have broad discretion to choose pro bono matters that appeal to their areas of interest and expertise. Once we take a pro bono case, we dedicate the same level of attention as any other matter. Our firm regularly exceeds all professional standards with respect to the percentage of lawyer time spent on pro bono matters.

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Current & Former Federal Judiciary Employees Regarding Inadequate Remedies for Harassment and Discrimination


Brief supports Fourth Circuit appeal looking to overturn dismissal of claims challenging judiciary’s dispute resolution procedures Read more

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Defends Journalist Bryan Carmody Against the San Francisco Police Department’s Assault on the First Amendment

May 24, 2019

Following the San Francisco Police Department’s raid of Bryan Carmody’s home, Keker, Van Nest & Peters has agreed to represent the journalist on a pro bono basis. Read more

Keker Duo Gets Teen Immigrant Released from Detention

December 27, 2018

A teenager who came to the U.S. illegally from Guatemala along with his older sisters and their families to try to find his mother ended up being held in a juvenile detention center that he wrote was a “real prison." Read more

Undocumented Teen, in Custody for Almost a Year, Ordered Released

November 24, 2018

An undocumented mentally disturbed teenager from Guatemala, taken to California by federal officers and locked up for nearly a year, has been returned to his mother in Ohio after a judge in San Francisco ordered officials to justify his confinement. Read more

Lawsuit Seeks Release of Refugee Minor Held at Yolo County’s Juvenile Hall

November 13, 2018

A San Francisco law firm is seeking the release of a 17-year-old Guatemalan refugee being held at the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility. Read more

Khari Tillery Interviewed for GoFundMe's Podcast: True Stories of Good People

August 20, 2018

The podcast features people the that have made a difference in other peoples' lives, in this episode a Keker pro bono client who was exonerated after being wrongfully convicted. Read more

Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit on California executions

August 17, 2018

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by news organizations seeking to let media and public witnesses view more of the process of executions in California, which could resume soon. Read more

Federal judge rules suit to force California to make all portions of executions public may proceed

August 17, 2018

A federal judge on Friday rejected an attempt by the state of California to dismiss much of a lawsuit that seeks to make public all portions of executions. Read more

Keker and the ACLU of Northern California Call on State to Allow Full Press Access to Executions

April 11, 2018

Keker, Van Nest & Peters and The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California filed suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation challenging its execution viewing procedure. Read more

Julia Allen and Ben Rothstein Secure Complete Victory on Behalf of Prison Sex Abuse Victim Following Jury Trial

February 05, 2018

On January 31, 2018, a federal jury returned a verdict in favor of William Cordoba who was the victim of a series of coerced sexual acts taking place in San Quentin State Prison. Read more

Updated Medical Science Frees Wrongfully Incarcerated Father

December 08, 2017

The California Superior Court in Sacramento today granted a writ of habeas corpus overturning the 2002 murder conviction of Zavion Johnson. Mr. Johnson spent nearly 17 years in California state prison after he was wrongfully convicted of the homicide. Read more

Shasta County Prisoners Abuse Suit Reaches Settlement

December 04, 2017

Shasta County Jail inmates with mobility disabilities have settled a class action lawsuit filed against Shasta County and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department that alleges systemic ADA discrimination. Read more

Calif. Judge Permanently Blocks 'Sanctuary Cities' Order

November 21, 2017

A California federal judge on Monday permanently blocked the enforcement of an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in January that calls for withholding federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, saying it violates various provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Read more

Trump’s Order Attacking Sanctuary Cities Ruled Unconstitutional

November 20, 2017

In a historic ruling issued today, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick declared unconstitutional the key provision of the Trump Administration’s Executive Order targeting “sanctuary jurisdictions,” and permanently enjoined its enforcement nationwide. Read more

Court Denies Trump’s Efforts to Undo Injunction Blocking “Sanctuary Cities” Exec. Order

July 24, 2017

A U.S. District Court has denied the federal government’s request to reconsider a preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s Executive Order defunding “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Read more

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Partner Cody Harris Featured on MSNBC's The Point

April 30, 2017

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Partner Cody Harris was featured on MSNBC's The Point to discuss defeating President Trump's Executive Order targeting funding for "sanctuary jurisdictions." Read more

SF Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order

April 26, 2017

Keker, Van Nest & Peter's win blocking President Trump's Executive Order to defund "sanctuary jurisdictions" was featured in the Daily Journal Read more

Q&A With Pro Bono Lawyer Who Helped Block Trump's Sanctuary Executive Order


The nationwide injunction to block Trump's executive order defunding sanctuary cities was a win for lawyers for Santa Clara County and their pro bono counsel at Keker Van Nest & Peters. Read more

County of Santa Clara Wins Nationwide Injunction of Trump’s Executive Order Defunding “Sanctuary Jurisdictions”


In a historic ruling issued today, U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick granted the County of Santa Clara’s request to temporarily enjoin President Trump and his administration from enforcing an Executive Order provision that would withdraw all federal funding from the County and jurisdictions across the country deemed “sanctuary jurisdictions.” Read more

Between Trump and his Justice Department lawyers, a vast disconnect


Keker, Van Nest & Peter's win blocking Pres. Trump's Executive Order to defund "sanctuary jurisdictions" was featured in Alison Frankel's On The Case column for Reuters. Read more

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Sues Trump over Sanctuary Jurisdictions Order

February 09, 2017

In conjunction with the County of Santa Clara, KVP attorneys have sued the Trump Administration over the President’s Executive Order threatening to deny “sanctuary jurisdictions” federal funds. Read more

Bay Area Lifer School


Sharif Jacob will help practitioners, advocates, prisoners and family members understand the current trends and challenges in helping long-term prisoners transform their lives and navigate California's parole consideration process. Read more

Parole Board Accused of Violating Settlement with Life Prisoners


The California parole board agreed more than two years ago to tell all life prisoners, at their first hearing, the appropriate sentence for their crime, but inmates’ lawyers who negotiated the settlement says the board has violated its pledge more than 1,600 times. Read more

Court Guarantees Hearings for Detained Immigrants with Felonies


As a result of this pro bono class action, between 800 to 1,000 people will now have a chance to petition a judge for their freedom. Read more

More Detained Immigrants Are Owed Bond Hearings: 9th Circ.


The Ninth Circuit’s ruling means that thousands of immigrants in California can now make a case against being detained. Read more

Mandatory Detention Struck Down in California and Other Western States; Thousands of Families Now Protected


Keker & Van Nest's pro bono class action has corrected a massive injustice. Read more

Lawsuit Says Shasta Co. Jail Mistreats Disabled Imates


We are fighting to protect disabled prisoners who have suffered horrific and illegal treatment. Read more

Class Action Claims California Jail Abuses Disabled Prisoners


The class action cites repeated retaliation against detainees and prisoners who speak out about violations of the ADA and other laws. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Filed an Amicus Brief for Amnesty International on Behalf of Chelsea Manning


Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was sentenced in a military court for leaking about half a million classified documents to the secret-spilling WikiLeaks site. Read more

Erin Meyer Honored by Legal Services for Children


Legal Services for Children provides free representation to Bay Area children and youth. Read more

Why Pediatricians Care So Much About the Supreme Court’s Birth Control Case


KVN submitted a brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which argued that the Supreme Court should not allow religious objectors to obstruct third parties from obtaining medication and treatments that their doctors have prescribed. Read more

Keker Attorneys Help Children Gain Asylum


Thousands of unaccompanied minors fled South and Central American countries, and ended up in a complicated asylum and immigration system with no one to guide them through it. Read more

Chessie Thacher Secures Pro Bono Victory from the California Supreme Court


Ms. Thacher's victory could help vulnerable children across the state. Read more

Advancing Equal Access to Justice


Dan Purcell will report on private bar pro bono support in the representation of detained refugee children, the initial lack of infra-structure, and great language diversity. Read more

ACLU of Northern California Sues San Francisco Police Department for Excessive Force, False Arrest on Behalf of 23-Year-Old Black Man


The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Travis Hall, a Black 23-year-old San Francisco graphic designer and a recent Fordham University graduate, who was unlawfully detained, beaten and arrested by SFPD officers. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Named one of the Top Pro Bono Firms of 2015


Keker & Van Nest's sterling work on a slew of legal issues facing undocumented immigrants and major win to halt preemptive environmental litigation by Shell Gulf Oil of Mexico Inc., secured its place among Law360's Pro Bono Firms of 2015. Read more

ACLU & KVN Announce Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against Police Department


Ajay Krishnan and his team have partnered with the ACLU on behalf of young black man who was beaten by San Francisco police. Read more

Prop. 47 also reduces some juvenile offenses, state court rules


Keker & Van Nest helps create a brighter future for nonviolent juvenile offenders in California. Read more

Court Rules San Diego DA’s Denial of Sentencing Relief to Juveniles Unlawful


Keker & Van Nest worked with the ACLU to save children from being criminalized more harshly than adults. Read more

Ninth Circuit Dismisses Shell Oil's Suit Against Environmental Groups


Justina Sessions, Steve Hirsch and Rachael Meny win a key victory for a dozen environmental groups working to protect the arctic. Read more

Elliot Peters Wins Prestigious Pro Bono Award


The Northern California Innocence Project chose Mr. Peters for freeing innocent people from wrongful incarceration. Read more

New Mission for Lawyers: Free Aid to Young Immigrants


The Wall Street Journal profiles Keker & Van Nest's pro bono efforts to help Central American minors. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Grants $60K to Protect Unaccompanied Minors from Deportation


Bay Area resources currently overwhelmed by more than 2,000 children seeking asylum. Read more

SF Considers Funding Legal Aid for Children Who Crossed the Border


Led by Keker & Van Nest Partner Dan Purcell, the firm is organizing support throughout northern California. Read more

Top Immigration Court Hands Huge Win to Battered Women Seeking Asylum


Simona Agnolucci, who represents asylum seekers pro bono, discusses the decision. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Wins $3.5 Million Settlement in Wrongful Conviction Case


Dan Purcell, Eric MacMichael and their team fought for Caramad Conley, who spent 18 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted in a double-murder case. Read more

Sharif Jacob Secures Release of Pro Bono Client


The client whose case has shaped California's parole system is released. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Named Pro Bono Honoree by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice Asian Law Caucus


Reese Nguyen and Betny Townsend were recognized for their statewide civil-rights class action challenging mandatory detention under the Immigration and Nationality Act Read more

Elliot Peters and Jo Golub Named Pro Bono Attorneys of the Year


California Lawyer recognized them for exonerating Ronald Ross, wrongfully convicted of attempted murder, and forced to serve nearly seven years of his 25-to-life sentence. Read more

Laurie Mims Defends City of Pleasant Hill in Pro Bono Gun Ordinance Case


Gun advocates claim the city's firearms ordinance was improperly approved and violates the Constitution. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Pro Bono Settlement Will Shape California's Parole System


The settlement gives inmates an incentive to work toward parole eligibility, eases California's financial strain and prison overcrowding crisis. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Named 2013 Pro Bono Firm of the Year


The firm was chosen for Law360's annual pro bono series for notable work ranging from pressing national issues to life-altering representations of individual clients. Read more

A Sex Trafficking Victory That Shows Just How Broken the System Is


Simona Agnolucci, who represents women seeking refugee status, discusses the legal hurdles of gender-based asylum. Read more

A Lawyer's Holiday


Elliot Peters shares the story of vindicating and freeing Ronald Ross - who spent seven years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Backs the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Challenge to NSA Surveillance


A diverse group of political, religious and environmental entities claim the government's sweeping collection of telephone communications data chills their members' First Amendment right to free association. Read more

Innocent Man Freed After 7 Years in Prison


Ronald Ross, wrongly convicted of a 2006 shooting in Oakland, wept as he was ordered released by a judge after spending nearly seven years behind bars. Read more

Keker & Van Nest and The Northern California Innocence Project Exonerate Innocent Man


Ronald Ross exonerated of attempted murder charge after serving nearly seven years of 25-to-life sentence. Read more

Inmate Exonerated in '06 Oakland Shooting


Keker & Van Nest devoted more than 2,000 hours to freeing a man wrongfully convicted of attempted murder. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Partners with ACLU to Vindicate Free Speech Rights of Deputy Sheriff


A federal court issued a preliminary injunction protecting the free speech rights of a deputy sheriff in Trinity County to speak out about drug legalization and other political issues Read more

Ajay Krishnan Fights for Free Speech Rights


Keker & Van Nest partners with American Civil Liberties Union Foundation on pro bono case. Read more

Justina Sessions Defends Environmental Groups


Shell Oil sued 14 major environmental groups in Federal Court to stave off the "virtual certainty" of legal challenges to its right to harass or kill walruses and polar bears during its summertime Arctic drilling. Read more

Dan Purcell and Eric MacMichael Named California Pro Bono Lawyers of the Year


They dedicated five years to exonerate Caramad Conley, a man who was wrongfully convicted of a double homicide and spent 18 years in prison. Read more

Keker and Van Nest LLP: Partner in Promoting Justice


Northern California Innocence Project commends Keker & Van Nest's pro bono efforts. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Associates Win Settlement from State in Excessive Force Case


Adam Laurisden and Sharif Jacob win $22,500 settlement for pro bono client in Pelican Bay excessive force case. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Associates Win Asylum for Domestic Violence Victim


Zac Bookman and Nikki Vo used cutting-edge social group theory to win refugee status for Heydi Ojeda Cachon, who suffered years of abuse from her husband in rural Mexico. Read more

Dan Purcell Discusses How Compensation From Innocence Board is Rare


Mr. Purcell recently won freedom for a man unconstitutionally convicted and wrongly imprisoned for 18 years. Read more

U.S. Supreme Court Grants Review in Landmark Fair Use Case


Steven Hirsch and R. James Slaughter provide pro bono assistance to Conductors Guild. Read more

Summary Judgment Win Impacts Rules Governing Free Speech


The San Francisco Chronicle featured Keker & Van Nest's victory on behalf of peace activists who wished to protest on the Golden Gate Bridge. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Wins Freedom For Man Wrongfully Convicted for Murder


Dan Purcell and his team greeted Caramad Conley as he took his first steps as a free man after serving 18 years for a double-murder conviction that a judge ruled had been obtained through perjured testimony. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Safeguards Freedom of Speech


Ajay Krishnan, Daniel Nazer and Daniel Purcell’s successful motion for summary judgment has changed the rules governing free speech on the Golden Gate Bridge Read more

Simona Agnolucci Recognized for her Pro Bono Work


Ms. Agnolucci has an active pro bono practice, in which she primarily represents women fleeing gender-based persecution. Read more

Simona Agnolucci's Pro Bono Victory Sets Standard for Domestic Abuse Case


The Obama administration granted asylum to a Mexican woman who was sexually abused and severely battered by her common-law husband. Read more

Ashok Ramani Wins Freedom For Rehabilitated Woman Convicted of Murder


A Swedish woman who had been serving a life sentence for the 1981 murders of a sheriff's deputy and a restaurateur will be released in 2011. Read more

Ashok Ramani Resolves High-Profile Defamation Case


Mr. Ramani represented two law students in a cutting-edge cyber-bullying case. Read more

Keker & Van Nest Wins Pro Bono Discrimination Case on Behalf of Sikh Federal Employees


Sikhs now allowed to serve as federal security officers with articles of faith intact. Read more

Paven Malhotra Fights Gag Order in Oscar Grant Case

June 02, 2009

Mr. Malhotra worked with the The California First Amendment Coalition to fight the gag order in the highly publicized prosecution of a former BART police officer charged with murder for the shooting death of Oscar Grant III. Read more

Pro Bono Spotlight: Simona Agnolucci


Ms. Agnolucci was honored for her commitment to refugees and women's rights. Read more

Turns Out, Three Strikes Client Needed First Timers' Help

October 16, 2006

It took two tossed convictions and almost 10 years, but James Mar finally walked freely out of a Kern County jail last month Read more

After 13 Years, It's 'Beautiful' to be Free Again


Keker & Van Nest reversed the murder conviction of a man who had been sent to prison as a teenager more than 13 years ago. Read more

In 2015, the firm was named one of Law360's "Pro Bono Firms of the Year." 

Also in 2015, Elliot Peters won The Northern California Innocence Project's Pro Bono Award and Matthias Kamber won the Federal Circuit Bar Association Public Interest / Pro Bono Award. 

In 2014, Elliot Peters and Jo Golub were named the California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year for pro bono award by California Lawyer, for exonerating Ronald Ross. Mr. Ross was wrongfully convicted of attempted murder and had served nearly seven years of a 25-to-life sentence. 

In 2014, Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus named Keker, Van Nest & Peters its Pro Bono Honoree for its social justice work on behalf of immigrants. 

In 2013, Keker, Van Nest & Peters was named one of Law360's Pro Bono Firms of the Year.

In 2012, Dan Purcell and Eric MacMichael were named California Lawyer's "Attorney of the Year" in the area of pro bono. They dedicated five years to exonerating Caramad Conley, a man who was wrongfully convicted of a double homicide and spent 18 years in prison.