McDonald's Legal Department: Giving Back to the Community Year-Round

January 19, 2022

At McDonald’s, we believe in giving back to the communities we serve. For the employees who work in our Global Legal Department, this often means volunteering time, skills and resources to provide free legal counsel to those who need it most – from asylum seekers fleeing persecution to low-income, Chicago-area residents.

McDonald’s Pro Bono Program

Our Global Legal Department founded its pro bono program back in 2000. Since the inception of the program, the department and its attorneys have received over 20 awards and recognitions for their pro bono efforts – and their work has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of people and counting.

In recent years, some of the department’s pro bono volunteers have helped asylum seekers achieve a new life in the United States. In partnership with Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) and law firms Jenner and Block and Goldberg Kohn, McDonald’s legal volunteers have worked on numerous cases since 2015 to obtain asylum for refugees, many of whom were victims of torture and persecution in their home countries. This important work did not go unrecognized – in October 2021, the Pro Bono Institute presented the 2021 CPBO Partner Award to McDonald’s for its partnership with the NIJC, Jenner and Block and Goldberg Kohn.

That’s not the only award McDonald’s pro bono work recently received. Prairie State Legal Services presented its 2021 Distinguished Pro Bono Advocacy Award to McDonald's Corporation for the Legal Department’s work providing advice and assistance to clients facing eviction and other housing issues. Fourteen different McDonald’s attorneys have volunteered more than 300 hours of their time, helping more than 300 different clients.

McDonald’s Legal Team’s Community Support

Additionally, through a partnership with Legal Aid Chicago, the largest legal aid provider for the Chicago Metropolitan area, McDonald’s volunteers help staff the Woodlawn Legal Clinic – a resource offering free legal advice, referrals and paperwork support to low-income Chicago residents.

McDonald’s volunteers also regularly work with Illinois-based Equip for Equality to advance the civil and human rights of people with disabilities by helping parents of children with disabilities advocate for their children’s rights, as well as volunteer at the Center for Disability and Elder Law in Chicago to provide pro bono legal services to low-income disabled and elderly individuals. 

These projects are only a small sample of the various pro bono efforts performed by McDonald’s lawyers and staff. McDonald’s Global Legal Department believes being a part of the community means supporting people every day – especially when they need it most. Our volunteers are proud to be doing their part to help make the justice system more accessible to everyone.

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