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We partner with our in-house clients on pro bono and social impact work that supports their personal interests in doing good, aligns with their company’s strategic priorities, strengthens their relationships with DWT attorneys, and increases access to justice for pro bono clients, communities, and causes.


Freedom of the Press

Innovative partnerships to support independent, investigative journalism in underserved communities.


Expanding National Initiative to Protect Journalism

The Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program (“ProJourn”), an innovative partnership founded by DWT and Microsoft in 2020 to support independent, investigative journalism in underserved communities, continued to flourish and expand throughout 2022. ProJourn provides journalists with pro bono prepublication review and access to public records. In its pilot phase, ProJourn paired Microsoft in-house counsel with lawyers from DWT’s renowned media team to serve clients in Washington state and California.

ProJourn’s successful pilot program led the Knight Foundation to award the program a $1.3 million grant. In addition to this grant, ProJourn receives critical support from the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of Press, which houses the program. ProJourn’s growth includes expanding by onboarding more law firms and, in the near future, other corporate legal departments.

Defeating Efforts to Destroy an Investigative Nonprofit

For five decades, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), through its news platform Reveal, has been an essential journalistic voice in the U.S. But the organization faced a fight for its survival after its reporting raised important questions about an international charity called Planet Aid.


In response to Reveal’s 18-month investigation, the charity sued for libel and litigated the matter aggressively, with discovery alone unfolding over two years and encompassing hundreds of thousands of documents, plus audio recordings of 200 interviews conducted around the world. As CIR’s insurance dwindled, DWT and Covington & Burling LLP kept the newsroom alive by taking the matter on pro bono and then winning a crucial anti-SLAPP motion in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.


In August 2022, CIR’s team secured a decision at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that trial court ruling. Two months later, the suit officially ended with Planet Aid agreeing to pay $1.9 million—the largest-ever attorney fee settlement under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. Said Robert J. Rosenthal, CEO of CIR: “Without the generous pro bono legal representation from Davis Wright Tremaine and Covington & Burling, The Center for Investigative Reporting might have been destroyed.”

Defending Photojournalist Subpoenaed by Congress

Freelance photographer Amy Harris has captured people and places all around the globe. But it was here in the U.S. that her rights recently came under attack. Amy was on the grounds of the Capitol during the riot of January 6th, as part of a project documenting the activities of the Proud Boys. The U.S. House Select Committee investigating the events of that day later subpoenaed Amy’s cell phone provider, seeking all call, text, and messaging records associated with her number during a three-month period around the time of the insurrection.

A DWT team sued on Amy’s behalf, arguing that the subpoena sought information that would reveal the identities of Amy’s confidential sources and impermissibly intrude on her protected news-gathering activities. “The subpoena violates the core protections afforded to journalists pursuant to the First Amendment,” the complaint said. After the House Select Committee requested numerous extensions to respond, it finally withdrew the subpoena (along with phone record subpoenas issued to other parties) in December 2022.

Team: John Seiver, Courtney DeThomas, Robert Corn-Revere, Laura Handman

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