Pursuing justice for those most in need is part of Tonkon Torp’s bedrock. In 1965, founding partner Don Marmaduke joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and traveled to Mississippi to take on unpopular and dangerous cases. His work included a case against the KKK, and another against a white chief deputy sheriff involved in the “Freedom Summer Murders.” Don’s most prominent case during this time resulted in the desegregation of the Neshoba County Courthouse in Philadelphia, Mississippi, giving Black Americans the ability to register to vote at the courthouse. When Don helped to form Tonkon Torp in 1974, he and the other founding partners made it clear through their examples, leadership, and mentoring that the privilege of practicing law comes with the responsibility to give back to the community.
Ever since the firm’s founding, Tonkon Torp attorneys have provided pro-bono support to a broad array of causes from local arts organizations to national civil rights cases. One of the longest-running pro-bono interests at the firm is that of restorative justice—assisting marginalized adults and youths who have limited access to justice, and righting historical wrongs to promote an equitable justice system. Tonkon Torp attorneys have shown a passion for helping individuals and organizations access justice, fight injustice, achieve post-conviction relief, and restore their rights. Attorneys also contribute significantly to building statewide models that increase access to effective legal counsel. One example is that of partner Ron Greenman who, in 1991, helped found Oregon’s Campaign for Equal Justice, a lawyer-driven fundraising organization that has raised over $30 million for statewide legal-aid programs in Oregon.
In the weeks to come, we will be showcasing examples of the pro-bono projects and partnering organizations that Tonkon Torp attorneys work with in the realm of justice.