Washington, DC. Deepening its longstanding commitment to creating positive impact in our communities, Nixon Peabody is proud to announce that Sharmaine Heng has joined the global law firm as Director of Pro Bono & Social Impact, bringing together two core aspects of the firm’s identity.
Based in the Washington DC office, Sharmaine will lead the rollout and execution of Nixon Peabody’s firmwide social impact strategic plan, which will combine and coordinate the firm’s long-standing and extensive efforts across impact lawyering practice areas, pro bono work, charitable giving, board memberships and affiliations, and volunteer activity.
Through Nixon Peabody’s pro bono work, the firm’s lawyers are in our communities, helping to navigate core issues facing individuals and families, including seeking immigration relief to keep families together, protecting domestic violence survivors, increasing access to veterans’ benefits for service members with disabilities, and defraying energy costs for low-income families. Our firm also supports and collaborates with a wide range of nonprofit organizations and small businesses that sustain our local communities. In 2020, Nixon Peabody’s pro bono program had 84% participation among the firm’s attorneys—with an average of nearly 50 pro bono hours per attorney.
Social impact at Nixon Peabody also encompasses impact lawyering in key practice areas—such as Affordable Housing & Real Estate, Community Development Finance, and Healthcare—that improve equity and create opportunities in our communities. For example, Nixon Peabody attorneys partner with clients on projects that revitalize underserved and underdeveloped communities throughout the country, helping hospitals expand services and retain employees, counseling clients through a wide range of COVID-related challenges, and advising on energy and infrastructure projects that play essential roles in our daily lives—from the roads we drive on and homes we live in, to the schools we attend and the water we drink.
“In addition to her deep experience and enthusiasm, Sharmaine shares the commitment to positive impact that defines our firm,” said Stephen Zubiago, CEO and managing partner of Nixon Peabody. “She has a clear vision for how we can build on our successes and achieve our pro bono and social impact goals.”
Sharmaine has focused on law firm pro bono program management for the past decade, drawing on her own experience as a practicing attorney and her understanding of how the private bar can make a meaningful difference in our communities. She is an integral member of Nixon Peabody’s leadership team, working closely with the firm’s strategic impact partners, Gregory Doran and Jill Gordon, and pro bono partner, Matthew Richards.
Implementing Nixon Peabody’s social impact strategic plan involves aligning the firm’s myriad existing social impact initiatives while identifying new opportunities for our people to use their time, resources, relationships, and skills to create positive change and improve equity in our communities.
“It makes me proud to join a firm with a genuine commitment to making a difference and creating positive outcomes in the communities we serve,” said Sharmaine. “Social impact is an integral piece of being an NP lawyer, and our people are willing to do the hard work to achieve our goals.”
Sharmaine earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and her B.A. from Columbia University. She is on the board of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel and the Friends of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.