On 15th April 2013, two bombs exploded in downtown Boston close to the finish line of the annual Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and a further 264 were injured. Here's how Boston-based law firm Goodwin Procter helped with the creation of the One Fund, a charity that has changed hundreds of lives in the wake of this act of atrocity.
In the immediate aftermath of panic, chaos and despair, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick conceived the idea of a fund that would help the victims of the tragedy. All donations would go directly to those who lost love ones, those who survived and the families of all affected.
The One Fund was born. Within 48 hours of the attack the fund had collected upwards of $10 million in contributions. After just 75 days this figure had shot up to over $60 million and more than 230 individuals had benefited from the fund. At it's last tally, the One Fund had raised well over $70 million, collecting donations from every state and over 50 countries around the world. Money came in from sources as diverse as crowd-funding websites, lemonade stands, yard sales and a concert featuring the likes of Aerosmith, New Kids On The Block and Boyz II Men. Spring 2014 saw 2,000 people run 3,328 miles from coast to coast, raising more than $430,000 for the fund.
Unsurprisingly, lawyers have been at work behind the scenes from day one, doing everything from encouraging the Internal Revenue Service to grant the One Fund charitable status quickly to advising on smaller issues as and when they have arisen. Right from the fund's inception, Goodwin Procter's legal team, headed up by Susan Abbott, agreed to handle the fund's legal work for free, including all the necessary state and federal filings to create the charity. It was fitting then that in April 2014, Goodwin Procter received the National Public Service Award for its work on the One Fund. The award is presented by the American Bar Association each year to a firm that has provided significant pro bono legal services to the poor.