Akin Gump pitches perfect game at Nats charity fundraiser

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s federal lobbying revenue routinely ranks second of all the firms in Washington, earning more than $31 million from its government affairs efforts last year.

But the firm also does plenty of pro bono work.

For example, it provides free legal services to a few of the foundation’s projects –including one to create an activity and education center for at-risk youths living east of the Anacostia River.

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Three partners – Prober, Steven Schulman, who leads the firm’s pro bono work in its offices worldwide and Scott Parven – are the Akin Gump team working to support the Dream Foundation and raise awareness around town.

Held at a Washington-themed restaurant near Dupont Circle called Teddy & The Bully Bar, guests sipped on Moscow mules – a refreshing mix of vodka, limejuice and ginger beer – while mingling and bidding in a silent auction for autographed Nats memorabilia and other items.

Those items turned into hot commodities, with attendees engaging in friendly rivalries over who could score a favored item.

One guest, a partner at another firm, joked with a friend about who would win tickets to Nationals Spring training.

Prober had his eye on a bat signed by Nats shortstop Ian Desmond, but says Parven, his colleague, engaged in some “shady business” when he snuck in at the last minute and placed the winning bid.

Schulman says he’s a “huge, huge baseball fan.”

Running the firm’s pro bono practice involves engaging in “something that will have a good impact on our community,” he said.

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy is under construction in Ward 7, and hopes to provide with after-school programs, three baseball fields and summer classes for inner-city children.

“One of the things we have been in the process of developing,” said Schulman, is a way to partner with the academy and find a way to provide free legal services for families in the area.

“How can law firms use that new resource in the community to help serve the community? That something we’ll be exploring for the next several months,” he said.

Last year, almost 700 of the firm’s attorneys nationwide did some kind of pro bono work, Schulman says. In the Washington office, employees spent 23,000 hours on free legal services – averaging 100 hours per lawyer.