The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
January 11, 2018

Conference Sneak Peek: Pro Bono in the UK

The 2018 PBI Annual Conference is next month and one of this year’s highlights is a session about pro bono and legal needs in the United Kingdom.

Pro Bono in the UK is designed for law firm attendees who are interested in how to get their UK lawyers involved in pro bono. Join us on February 21, from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., to discuss pro bono opportunities in the United Kingdom. Curious about Brexit?  Vaguely familiar with the Collaborative Plan?  Concerned about legal aid funding in the UK and what that means for unmet legal needs and priorities? This session will explore these questions and more! We are grateful to our panel of experts who will be sharing their experiences and expertise:

Interested in learning more?  Check out episodes of the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast; featuring guests from across the pond:  Rebecca Naylor of Reed Smith*† and Nic Patrick of DLA Piper*†. You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in Apple Podcasts and links to all of the episodes can be found here.

If you have any questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email or call 202.370.6770.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

January 8, 2018

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Eye of the Storm

Native Houstonian and podcast all-star Ellyn Josef of Vinson & Elkins* joins us this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to share her experience and discuss pro bono efforts around Hurricane Harvey. Ellyn describes how the pro bono community prepared for the storm, the importance of collaboration with other firms and legal aid organizations during a crisis, and how the technology they utilized to organize airport lawyering to address the Muslim travel ban was applied to their response to the hurricane. Spend 25 minutes and hear about Ellyn’s compelling experiences during one of the costliest natural disasters in United States history.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

January 4, 2018

Snack and Socialize at the 2018 Pro Bono EXPO and Happy Hour

Want to network with leaders from legal services and public interest organizations? The 2018 PBI Annual Conference will be here before we know it and we are excited to provide a preview of this year’s Pro Bono EXPO and Happy Hour.

Table hosts will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations; answer questions; and provide information about cutting-edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. This is a unique time to mingle, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop new pro bono initiatives.  Table hosts include:

Check back for additional table hosts over the coming weeks!

This year’s EXPO and Happy Hour will take place from 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on February 22. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email or call 202.370.6770.

December 21, 2017

Welcome to Law Firm Pro Bono!

Are you a newly appointed managing partner, practice group or office leader, pro bono committee chair or member, pro bono partner, counsel, director, manager, or coordinator? Has your firm (of more than 50 lawyers) recently created or restructured a formal pro bono program? Is your firm planning to do so in 2018? If so, we have a special pre-Conference session just for you! Join us bright and early on February 21 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2018 PBI Annual Conference.

Leading a law firm pro bono program can be overwhelming, particularly for those new to the position or leading a program going through a reboot. We can help! Attend Law Firm Pro Bono 101 – a crash course on the basics of structuring, implementing, and administering successful law firm pro bono programs – to get all the information you need. Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members will share valuable resources available to you and discuss the variety of support services available from the Project year-round. You’ll also receive individualized tips for navigating the Conference. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees. What would you like to learn at Law Firm Pro Bono 101? Let us know!

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what an attendee from last year’s session had to say about the program: “This was an inspiring session, particularly as someone new to the space. It was thoughtful and an excellent job all around. Very helpful for people who are new to the pro bono game.”

Pre-registration is required. The discounted, early-bird registration rate expires on January 5, so be sure to register today. If you have any questions about the Conference, or need assistance with registration, please email or call 202.370.6770.

Don’t miss out on this popular session. We’ll see you there!

December 20, 2017

Adding Pro Bono and Value to the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting

CPBO spent October 15 – 18 providing free pro bono opportunities and educational resources to the hundreds of attendees of the 2017 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting. CPBO is a global joint partnership between PBI and ACC and provides consulting services and other resources as a member benefit for ACC members.

CPBO kicked off the meeting with a Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic on Monday morning. The clinic was co-hosted with ACC National Capital Region, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and Womble Carlyle*†. The clinic trained 31 volunteers on social media policies and online marketing compliance before they met with their local nonprofit clients. To learn more about the clinic, check out our blog post: CPBO’s Clinic in a Box® Program Tackles Social Media Policies for Nonprofits.

On Tuesday, over 80 people attended CPBO’s session: “Ethics of In-house Pro Bono” which offered an overview of the ethical issues in-house attorneys face when representing clients in pro bono matters in the US and globally and addressed practical issues related to in-house pro bono. Expert panelists Andrea Bridgeman, Associate General Counsel at Freddie Mac**; Jon Downs, Head of Legal – Australia at Willis Towers Watson**; and Katherine Giddings, Partner at Akerman led the discussion and answered questions. Attendees learned about a range of topics, including: administering a pro bono program, managing conflicts (both legal and business), and securing malpractice insurance.

Miss the session? You’re in luck! It is available on-demand here. Also, check out the resources referenced in the session: In-House Global Pro Bono, In-House Pro Bono Insurance, and Right to Practice In-House Pro Bono.

On Tuesday evening, CPBO and pro bono leaders gathered at the ACC Booth for a champagne toast to honor the winner of this year’s Chapter Challenge: the ACC Arizona Chapter. The Chapter Challenge is a fun competition among ACC chapters to see which chapter can inspire the most companies to become new signatories to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative. Well done, ACC Arizona Chapter! In addition to bringing on new signatories, ACC Arizona Chapter has been creating a statewide structure to facilitate pro bono activities for in-house counsel by addressing impediments to pro bono participation and providing organized, engaging opportunities for pro bono service. Learn how they’re doing it: Spotlight: Arizona ACC Chapter Transforms State’s In-House Pro Bono Activities.

Throughout the Annual Meeting, CPBO staff spoke with more than 90 pro bono leaders as well as attendees interested in pro bono at the CPBO booth in the exhibit hall.

CPBO even added more signatories to the Challenge. A few chief legal officers visited the booth to sign the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® statement, declaring their department’s commitment to pro bono service. At the meeting, CPBO welcomed Bright MLS, Inc.**, Calvary Robotics**, and NHL, Inc.** to the Challenge, bringing the total number of Challenge signatories to 177.

Inspired to launch your department’s pro bono program but don’t know how to start? CPBO is here for you as an ACC member benefit! Learn everything you need to know and get advice from seasoned in-house leaders with CPBO’s “Getting Started Series” launching in March 2018. Learn more here or contact Tammy Sun at 202.729.6980 or

† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

December 14, 2017

Gifts that Give Back

Happy Holidays from all of us at The PBEye! Choosing the perfect gift during the holiday season can be a challenge. Fortunately, we are here to help with even more of our favorite gift ideas that also give back.

  • Need a gift for your favorite runner or yogi? Check out Love Bottle. For every bottle purchased, the company donates 5% of every purchase to Global Water, a nonprofit dedicated to making safe drinking water accessible.
  • As the weather gets colder, winter accessories are a great gift. Love Your Melon offers stylish hats but the company also donates 50% of all profits to non-profits in the field of pediatric cancer, including funding research initiatives and supporting families in need. In addition to monetary donations, Love Your Melon strives to ensure that every child battling cancer in America receives a donated hat.
  • Looking for a way to show support for causes dear to you? Pura Vida Bracelets handcrafts a Charity Collection of bracelets. Each bracelet in the collection is associated with a specific charity, which receives a portion of the proceeds from every bracelet sold, while raising awareness about the cause.
  • Although many professions involve giving to others, it is important to practice self-care. If you are looking for a gift to aid relaxation, Soapbox is a body product company that produces naturally derived soaps. For every bar of soap that is purchased, Soapbox donates a bar to people in need in the United States and around the world.

Something for everyone: there are incalculable opportunities to support social entrepreneurs who also give back to their community. In addition to these ideas, we always suggest doing more pro bono work – one of the best gifts you can give is your time!

December 12, 2017

Spark for Change: Eisai’s Legal Department Prepares End of Life Documents for Cancer Patients

A sign at Eisai

“Human health care” (hhc) is an integral part of the corporate philosophy of Eisai Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Employees are encouraged to “give [their] first thoughts to patients and their families and helping to increase the benefits health care provides.”  This mission drives Eisai’s commercial as well as community service efforts; and as of 2015, its legal department’s pro bono efforts as well.

On November 8, the Eisai legal department joined with co-hosts CPBO, Drescher & Cheslow, McCarter & English*†, and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice to host its third Clinic in a Box® program, two of which have been dedicated to preparing end-of-life documents for clients.

Eisai attorneys and colleagues drafting documents.

Like previous Eisai Clinic in a Box® programs, the clinic took place during the department’s all-hands meeting, bringing staff from Andover, Massachusetts and Mexico City, Mexico to Eisai’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.  Twenty-two Eisai volunteers received in-depth training from Josh Cheslow of Drescher & Cheslow and Laura Kelly of McCarter & English on preparing wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies.

Extremely grateful as a cancer patient for this most generous opportunity which relieved stress in a most comforting setting being so well cared for. Thanks for the unexpected delicious lunch and especially the much-needed transportation.

– Clinic Client

Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung (center) witnessing client documents.

Post-training, volunteers broke into teams to meet with seven clients, cancer patients or survivors, to discuss the information and decisions needed to prepare the documents. Following the client meeting, volunteers drafted the documents while clients ate lunch and spoke with Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung and General Counsel Vince Andrews. Once the documents were ready, clients met with their respective volunteers again to review and finalize the documents and then sign them in the presence of a notary and witnesses.

It was an emotional but rewarding day for many of the clients who appreciated the volunteers’ assistance.

I am so grateful for this experience and accomplishing something long on my mind. Everyone was so kind and knowledgeable – thank you so much.

– Clinic Client

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can find more information here and read about previous clinics here. To discuss in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

December 7, 2017

Justice for Juveniles Serving Life without Parole

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its 2012 decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles must be applied retroactively, granting new chances at release for hundreds of inmates serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed in their youth.  The opinion indicated that life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders should be exceedingly rare and gave states two options: resentencing the affected prisoners or making them eligible for parole. At the time of the decision, there were more than 2,500 people (concentrated in California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed when they were not yet 18. Many of them automatically received those sentences, without individualized consideration of their youth and other factors.  How can pro bono lawyers get involved and be of assistance?

Join us on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00 PM EST for our upcoming webinar on the subject, produced in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, Pro Bono in Practice: Juvenile Life without Parole.

You’ll hear from experts:

  • Heather Renwick, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
  • Whitney Untiedt, Akerman

CLE credit is available in many jurisdictions. The program is available for free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Law Firms as a member benefit. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for assistance accessing the program.

For additional background and first-hand experiences representing juvenile lifers, check out our interviews with Whitney Untiedt, Valentine Brown, and Hayes Hunt on the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast. Among other things, they discuss their meaningful work to ensure access to justice for “juvenile lifers.” You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in Apple Podcasts and links to all of the episodes can be found here.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

November 30, 2017

Mix and Mingle at the 2018 Pro Bono EXPO

The 2018 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on February 21-22 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., is just a few short months away! In addition to thought-provoking and inspiring sessions and programs, we are excited to present the popular Pro Bono EXPO. A variety of prominent organizations will be hosting tables, and their expert representatives will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations, answer questions, and provide information about cutting-edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. Seize this unique opportunity to network, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the globe, and develop major pro bono initiatives. This year’s EXPO and happy hour will take place from 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on February 22. See you there!

Are there particular organizations or topics you would like to see represented at the EXPO? Would you like to apply to host a table? Space is limited, so please email Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant, Elysse DeRita soon with your suggestions or for more information. If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email or call 202.370.6770.

November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

The PBEye is taking some much needed turkey time this week.  We have a lot to be thankful for—including all of PBI’s friends, colleagues, and supporters and their continued commitment to pro bono and access to justice.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you are thankful for this year!

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