Hughes Hubbard & Reed earned the top spot on The American Lawyer's list of Big Law firms for US pro bono commitment, rising from sixth place last year.

In The American Lawyer's 2016 pro bono special report, published in the July edition, Hughes Hubabrd ranked No. 1 nationally for pro bono efforts among Am Law 200 firms with a 113.3 pro bono score. The rankings are based on a score that combines the percentage of lawyers who performed 20 or more hours of pro bono work with the average number of hours contributed in 2015.

The American Lawyer ranked those components independently, placing Hughes Hubbard second in average hours with 130.6 hours per US lawyer and second in breadth of commitment (percentage of lawyers who performed 20 or more pro bono hours).

A feature story, headlined "Pro Bono Champs," noted that Hughes Hubbard's biggest pro bono matter was the Clemency Project 2014, a multiyear joint initiative in which thousands of lawyers are reviewing clemency petitions filed by nonviolent prisoners whose sentences would likely be shorter had they been sentenced today. In 2015, forty-nine Hughes Hubbard lawyers spent more than 1,600 hours screening petitions from federal prisoners seeking to be considered for clemency under the federal initiative.

Candace Beinecke told The American Lawyer that other pro bono projects were just as consequential. "We secured the exoneration of a woman who had served a 10-year prison term for manslaughter -- a crime she did not commit. How does one measure the joy of giving an innocent woman a new lease on life?" she said. "Our unwavering commitment to pro bono service benefits us all. It's a win for everyone."