The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
January 19, 2017

Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Reporting Is Now Open

Reporting season for the 2016 calendar year is now open. We have emailed unique survey links to all Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatories, so be sure to check your spam filter if you did not receive yours. The deadline for reporting is March 3.

Each year, Challenge Signatories provide a brief, electronic report to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project on their progress in meeting the Challenge. The individual firm data is kept confidential, but each submission provides the basis for critically important aggregate statistics about trends in law firm pro bono. Please assist us in communicating the good news about the pro bono work of law firms to our colleagues in the legal profession and to the public with your prompt submission of the electronic reporting form. Let us know about your firm’s accomplishments and news.

Since 1993, the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative administered by PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project, has served as a guidepost to assist major law firms in increasing their commitment to pro bono legal services. The Challenge principles are designed to offer institutional support and maximize the efficacy of law firm pro bono programs. The Challenge definition of pro bono has become an industry standard, utilized not only by major law firms but by the legal media in reporting the pro bono contributions of large law firms.

Interested in joining your peer firms and becoming a Challenge signatory? Firms with 50 or more lawyers are welcome to join the Challenge at any point in the year and are given a grace period before the reporting requirement kicks in. Please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for more information on becoming a signatory and a leader in law firm pro bono.

January 17, 2017

Guest Blog: Sixth Annual ACC Northeast Chapter Clinic in a Box® Program

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo†* was honored to once again join with the Association of Corporate Counsel Northeast Chapter (ACC-Northeast), CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse, to host a Clinic in a Box® program to provide pro bono legal services to local nonprofit organizations for the sixth year in a row.

For the 40 in-house volunteers, the day started with a 90-minute training session led by Mintz Levin Attorney Anthony Hubbard who discussed bylaws and retired Casner & Edwards Partner Dick Allen who covered conflicts of interest (COI) policies. After the training, volunteer attorneys broke into small teams and met with 14 local nonprofits to assist with developing or editing the organizations’ bylaws and COI polices.

Volunteer attorneys came from a range of companies, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Bose Corporation, Boston Scientific Corporation**, GE Oil & Gas (a subsidiary of General Electric Company**), Liberty Mutual Holding Company Inc., National Grid USA, and Velcro Companies.

Through such clinics, the volunteers benefit not only the nonprofits they sit with that day, but the individuals those nonprofits serve. The participating nonprofits provide many critically valuable services, such as assisting low-income immigrant families, providing shelter and services to survivors of domestic violence, and providing learning opportunities for Boston’s public school children.

Mintz Levin is happy to continue to include the Clinic in a Box® program in its many pro bono efforts.    “It is a pleasure to host the clinic in our Boston office and support the great work of in-house counsel dedicating their time and legal expertise to assisting organizations that contribute so much to our community,” notes Sue Finegan, Chair, Pro Bono Committee, Mintz Levin.

Both clients and volunteers had great things to say about their experiences. “This program was very fulfilling and enjoyable!” one volunteer noted. A client added their thanks for the work done that day, commenting, “I thought the clinic was VERY helpful, the individualized attention was great. Thank you so much for your help in organizing!”

Congratulations to the Boston in-house community and thank you to ACC-Northeast, CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse for continuing to co-host the clinic. We look forward to working with you again in 2017 and beyond!

Thank you, Mintz Levin, for contributing to The PBEye.

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

January 16, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need some listening material for your winter hibernation? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our recent interview with Don Salzman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†. In part one, Don talks to us about his career, indigent criminal defense work, the Norfolk Four, the Clemency Project 2014, and more. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday to catch the conclusion of our conversation with Don!

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

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

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member

January 12, 2017

New to Law Firm Pro Bono?

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 2017? 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? If so, join us bright and early on March 8 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2017 PBI Annual Conference.

We know that leading a law firm pro bono program can be overwhelming, particularly when you are relatively new to the position or if the program is undergoing a reboot, and we are here to help. Law Firm Pro Bono 101 offers a crash course on the basics of structuring, implementing, and administering successful law firm pro bono programs. Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members will also be available to introduce attendees to the resources and support available from the Project year round and to provide participants individualized tips for navigating the Conference in order to maximize the experience. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees.

Pre-registration is required for this program. If you have any questions about the Conference, or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

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

 

January 10, 2017

2017 PBI Annual Conference: In-House Pro Bono Pre-Conference Sessions

 
The PBEye
 invites in-house counsel and staff to join CPBO March 8-10 at the 2017 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The Conference gives pro bono leaders from legal departments, law firms, and public interest and legal services organizations from around the world an opportunity to network and discuss ways to improve access to justice through pro bono.

In the past CPBO has offered pre-conference programming to help leaders new to pro bono start or reinvigorate their pro bono programs. In addition, this year there will be a new pre-conference session: crowd-sourcing for experienced pro bono leaders. Now there’s something for everyone! Both sessions will take place Wednesday, March 8.

  • In-House Pro Bono: The Basics9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for pro bono leaders of legal departments that are in the process of creating or re-launching a pro bono program, as well as for new pro bono leaders of existing programs. Experienced legal department pro bono leaders will discuss the key elements of a successful in-house pro bono program, from insurance to leadership structure to recognition.
  • In-House Pro Bono: Mature Crowd-Sourcing9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for experienced in-house pro bono leaders and provides an opportunity to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of your fellow attendees to answer your most pressing in-house pro bono questions! This highly-interactive session will break down the barriers between presenter and attendee – and allow attendees to solve each other’s challenges. Moving beyond passive listening, attendees are asked to fully engage in the ideation and problem-solving process.

Please note that pre-registration is required for The Basics and encouraged for Mature Crowd-Sourcing. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early!

Those who attend will join other in-house and law firm attendees at the Regional Joint Networking Exchanges (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) and Networking Lunch (12:00 – 1:30 p.m.). The In-House Pro Bono Track of the Conference will officially start at 1:30 pm with a plenary, followed by in-house specific sessions and networking opportunities.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference – the early-bird registration rate ends January 12! To learn more about other sessions, please view the in-house agenda.

January 9, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

New Year, new episode. Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Have you been reading the recent reports about law student pro bono performance? Don’t miss our interview with Laren Spirer of Columbia Law School. Laren talks to us about pro bono opportunities for law students, spring break caravans, “mandatory” pro bono, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

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

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

January 5, 2017

Food for Thought

After a food-filled holiday season, many of us begin the New Year with health-related resolutions. Want to learn more about pro bono efforts designed to fight hunger and increase access to nutritious food for those in need?  While eating is on our minds, check out the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s publication, Pro Bono Food for Thought: Improving Access to Nutrition.

Pro bono efforts designed to support food access and security have the potential to transform a community. Examples include turning an abandoned lot into a productive urban farm and eliminating bureaucratic barriers obstructing food stamp distribution or access to school meal programs.  Because this is an emerging area that many people – not just foodies – feel especially passionate about, you may be able to excite and meaningfully engage your attorneys and professional staff, including some who may not have previously been active pro bono participants.

Visit our Resource Clearinghouse to access this publication, which is free for Law Firm Project Members and available to all others for purchase. For assistance, please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Elysse DeRita.

January 3, 2017

Free to Practice Pro Bono in Wisconsin!

Effective January 1, the more than 225 registered in-house counsel in Wisconsin may provide pro bono legal services without unnecessary restriction. Previously, in-house counsel licensed and in good standing in other jurisdictions and registered to work for their employer in Wisconsin were permitted to provide pro bono legal services only “to qualified clients of a legal service program.” See Wis. SCR 10.03(4)(f) (cmt.).

The road to this change began several years ago when the Wisconsin ACC Chapter took up the issue. At the chapter’s urging, on October 7, 2015, the State Bar of Wisconsin filed a petition to amend the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules. On April 13, 2016 the court held a public hearing on the rule change, where PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon provided information on the topic and answered questions about in-house legal pro bono. Following a period of deliberation, on April 28, 2016, the court voted 5-2 to adopt the petition.  On July 21, 2016, the court issued Rule Order 15-05 amending Supreme Court Rule 10.03(4)(f) to include: “A lawyer registered under this subsection may provide pro bono legal services without fee or expectation of fee as provided in SCR 20:6.1,” thereby expanding the pool of clients registered in-house counsel may serve.

Wisconsin joins Illinois, New York, and Virginia as a state that allows non-locally licensed in-house counsel to provide pro bono services free of unnecessary restrictions. The PBEye congratulates all involved in the rule change for their dedication to equal access to justice. We hope that Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, and Virginia are just the start and that it is only a matter of time until non-locally licensed in-house counsel in all states can provide pro bono legal aid to those in need without unnecessary restrictions.

Amending the local practice rules is of course only one step in increasing the role of in-house counsel in improving access to justice. Runyon returned to Wisconsin in November to speak at Quarles & Brady’s*† 2016 Annual Legal Ethics Seminar on the ethics of in-house pro bono, including the practice rules that apply to non-locally licensed in-house counsel. As discussed by all of the esteemed speakers that day, with knowledge of the rules and a bit of organization, legal departments are using their unique skills to assist those in need.

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

January 2, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need some listening material for the New Year? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our recent interview with Wendy Young, President of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). Wendy talks to us about providing pro bono representation to unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

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

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

December 22, 2016

Catching Kansas City

Earlier in December, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project was excited to travel to Kansas City, Missouri to participate in a groundbreaking and innovative luncheon with managing partners, chairmen, committee chairs, pro bono leaders, and other law firm leaders from six of the city’s largest law firms.  We discussed the business case for law firm pro bono and heard from a special guest. Michael Levey of Quarles & Brady*† traveled from Milwaukee to share his law firm’s experience jumpstarting its pro bono program. He reinforced the message that law firms can be fierce competitors in the marketplace and collaborators to promote and provide access to justice.

During our two days in Kansas City, we were also able to meet individually with each of the six firms. The details and formats of the confidential meetings were tailored to address the specific needs of each firm and focused on issues of particular interest and concern to them.

Thanks to Stinson Leonard Street*† for generously hosting the community luncheon and Husch Blackwell*†, Lathrop & Gage, Polsinelli, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and Spencer Fane for participating. The commitment made by busy law firm leaders who took time away from the end-of-year press of business for these meetings, was impressive.

We look forward to amazing developments in pro bono and access to justice in Kansas City in 2017.

*denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory
denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member

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