The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
May 26, 2016

Pro Bono Summer Reading

Interested in a good read for the upcoming long weekend? In the past, our suggestions have ranged from best-sellers to classics to autobiographies to multi-part, investigative series. Earlier this year, we were fortunate to spend time with our friend Dr. Larry Richard as we worked together to prepare for his incredible session at the 2016 PBI Annual Conference. During our discussions, he offered tips for further learning and we, in turn, are recommending one of those books: Influence, by Robert Cialdini, which explores the factors that lead a person to say “yes” to another’s request.

Written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research, the book is a practical and accessible refresher as to “why lawyers volunteer” and an introduction to new ways of thinking that could help with pro bono recruitment efforts. Cialdini explains the ways in which we become persuaded and shares techniques based on psychological principles that guide human behavior. During his session, Dr. Richard taught us about many of these principles, including “social proof,” which is the phenomenon where people adopt the actions of others, in any given situation, in an attempt to reflect correct behavior. In other words, the bandwagon effect exists and laugh tracks work. If you have any doubts, watch this classic Candid Camera prank from 1962 about group pressure:

 

We have long advocated that law firms should leverage “peer pressure” as a force for good. The dictates of group norms are powerful and having visible pro bono role models leads to more lawyers doing more and better pro bono. Influence is an easy and thought-provoking read. We hope you’ll use the lessons learned to improve your outreach, increase participation, and grow your pro bono program.

May 24, 2016

Guest Blog: More Free Legal Ed for Nonprofits in Ohio

On May 13, ACC Central Ohio Chapter (CO-ACC), United Way of Central Ohio (UWCO), CPBO, and Barnes & Thornburg* hosted another in its series of free legal education programs for nonprofits in Columbus, Ohio. The program, started in 2013, was originally inspired by the Clinic in a Box® program.

The presentation topics were Ohio’s laws on fundraising and the regulatory landscape for fundraising for nonprofits, as well as the business of fundraising for nonprofits. The speakers at this session were ImageVeronica Bennu, managing counsel at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company** and Sera Koulabdara, the development officer at Make-a-Wish Foundation. The speakers each gave presentations, answered questions, and provided brief advice after the session. Topics covered included Ohio’s laws on fundraising, which organizations are qualified to fundraise in Ohio, what fundraising actions are allowed or prohibited in Ohio, and what is needed to begin fundraising events. This information is important for nonprofits because, according to Bennu, “when attorneys tell you all the things you have to do, it can seem scary, but you can manage it if you have the right tools.”

Koulabdara then provided information related to the business of fundraising. She talked about the different types of fundraising models, relationship-building, best practices and potential pitfalls. Acknowledging how important fundraising is to nonprofits, Koulabdara said “Fundraising gets a bad rap, but asking for money is necessary.”

Marti Ridley of UWCO, Bill Nolan of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, and Eric Henricks on behalf of CO-ACC introduced the speakers and the program. Ten representatives of nonprofit organizations that in turn assist more than 10,000 individuals and make Columbus, Ohio, so special attended the event and gave the experience high marks.

Nathan Holschuh is Associate General Counsel at Emerson Network Power and co-chair of CO-ACC’s pro bono program.

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

** denotes a CPBO Challenge® signatory

May 23, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Podcast Box LFPNeed a new podcast for the upcoming long weekend? 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. Each week we interview insightful and entertaining expert guests from Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms and Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatories, and offer a smart, fresh, creative take on pro bono.

You don’t want to miss our recent interview with Erin Koeppel of K&L Gates*†. She talks about pro bono and professional development, a recent victory on behalf of a death row client in Texas, the firm’s innovative Cyber Civil Legal Rights Project, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Podcast subscribers receive weekly new episode alerts, which you can then download and listen to at your convenience. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of the 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.

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

May 19, 2016

Marketplace of Pro Bono Ideas

Marketplace of Pro Bono Ideas--March 15The 2016 PBI Annual Conference featured a dynamic “Marketplace of Ideas” session, during which attendees learned about new opportunities, infrastructure, and other creative and replicable pro bono developments and projects.

The PBEye is pleased to share these ideas with the hope that they may guide and inspire you to think creatively, strategically, and collaboratively about future pro bono initiatives:

Access to Justice Fellows Program

Sue Finegan of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo*† described the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s Access to Justice Fellows Program, which gives experienced attorneys who have retired or are transitioning into retirement a structured opportunity to work for a year (or longer) at nonprofit organizations, legal service providers, or courts to provide critical pro bono assistance to underserved populations. With the goal of leveraging the capacity and expertise of the growing number of lawyers nearing retirement, the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission launched a pilot program in 2012 with seven fellows. Since then, the program has continued to expand: to date, there have been 55 fellows, including 19 current fellows, who have provided more than 45,000 hours of pro bono assistance to those in need.

Review-A-Rama

Eric Greenberg of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated** and Millie VandenBroek of Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) discussed Review-A-Rama, a collaborative pro bono initiative involving pro bono attorneys and staff from UnitedHealthcare, who review veteran medical and military personnel records. Many of CVLC’s clients have lengthy and complex medical files and the document review process is often excessively time-consuming. By handling much of the record processing and background review, UnitedHealthcare provides valuable assistance to CVLC attorneys and their clients. Review-A-Rama is an effective, time-limited, flexible pro bono model.

The first Review-A-Rama was held in September 2015 for professionals in UnitedHealthcare’s Connecticut office. The program has expanded nationwide and company-wide and planning has already begun for Review-A-Rama 3.0.

Strategic Planning

Monika Varma described the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s recent comprehensive strategic planning effort, which was part of the D.C. Bar’s overall strategic planning process. In order to reassess priorities, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategic objectives, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee created a 19-member task force. The task force used surveys, interviews, and focus groups to collect information from stakeholders about the Pro Bono Center’s strengths and opportunities for growth. This feedback, along with research and analysis of the current legal environment and potential trends, formed the foundation for a strategic plan. In addition to implementing a strategic name change, the Pro Bono Center developed a high-level plan with three goals: (1) increasing the delivery of pro bono legal services in D.C.; (2) providing innovative pro bono leadership; and (3) ensuring long-term financial sustainability and resilience.

***

We look forward to learning more and sharing other replicable ideas and projects at the 2017 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 8-10. If you would like to be a presenter, please submit a brief proposal describing your initiative to Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson. (Due to time and capacity limitations, we may not be able to accept all proposals this year.)

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

May 17, 2016

CPBO Challenge® Signatories Shine in America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel

The National Law Journal recently released its annual ranking of America’s 50 OutstandingOutstanding General Counsel General Counsel, which recognizes chief legal officers who lead not only their legal teams but in their communities. Highlighting the growing importance of in-house pro bono, the NLJ considers each CLO’s dedication to providing pro bono work to the underrepresented when selecting the 50 outstanding general counsel.

The PBEye is excited to note that 15 of the 50 attorneys listed as America’s outstanding general counsel lead departments that are signatories to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative:

 

Two of the 15, Santona and Shultz, were called out for their dedication to pro bono, along with Evan Farber, The Advisory Board Co., and Louise Pentland, PayPal Holdings Inc. We congratulate all of these CLOs for their outstanding work and their ongoing commitment to access to justice.

Join CPBO in celebrating the pro bono achievements of all CPBO Challenge® signatories at the 2016 PBI Annual Dinner, which will be held November 3 in New York. To become a signatory and affirm your department’s commitments to equal access to justice contact CPBO.

** denotes a CPBO Challenge® signatory

 

May 12, 2016

Hot Off the Presses!

Challenge Poster ThumbnailSummer associates and the next recruiting season at major law firms will be here before we know it, and many law students around the country are looking to join firms where pro bono is an integral part of the culture. We are honored to be able to promote our Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatories and their demonstrated commitment to pro bono. As part of these efforts, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project recently distributed its annual Challenge poster to the career services offices of all ABA-accredited law schools. The poster lists every Challenge Signatory, raises the visibility of these firms to make them more attractive to the very students they are trying to recruit, and is an easy reference for students looking for future employers who have a strong pro bono ethos.

Challenge Signatories will also soon be receiving their posters in the mail. Be sure to hang your poster with pride in all of your offices to raise the visibility of pro bono within the firm as well. Firms with 50 or more lawyers are welcome to join the Challenge at any point in the year. Please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Eva Richardson for information on becoming a Challenge Signatory or for additional posters.

May 10, 2016

Upcoming Webinars: “Integrating Pro Bono, CSR, and Charitable Giving” and “Representing Children and Adolescents (Pro Bono in Practice)”

Webinar Sitting PanelJoin PBI in conjunction with West LegalEdcenter in June for two great webinars in our Best of the 2016 PBI Annual Conference series. These hour-long webinars reprise and supplement select sessions from PBI’s Annual Conference.

Integrating Pro Bono, CSR, and Charitable Giving
Thursday, June 2
12:30 p.m. ET
Increasingly, companies are taking a fresh look at how their pro bono activities can be integrated with or complement their charitable contribution practices and corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. This webinar shares successful practices of in-house legal departments for approaching, integrating, and managing these efforts.

Speakers:

  • Shanti Ariker, salesforce.com, inc.**
  • Carolina Henriquez-Schmitz, Thomson Reuters Corporation**
  • Manasi Raveendran, International Business Machines Corporation

Representing Children and Adolescents (Pro Bono in Practice)
Wednesday, June 22
1:30 p.m. ET
This webinar will explore pro bono opportunities and developments related to representing children and adolescents. The discussion will include the status of available pro bono opportunities, emerging issues, how to get started, and opportunities for collaboration.

Speakers:

  • Kim Dvorchak, National Juvenile Defender Center
  • Angela Vigil, Baker & McKenzie*
  • Karen Frederiksen, The Walt Disney Company

Interested in-house participants should contact CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon for registration information or to submit questions in advance of the program. Registration is free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms. Law firm participants should contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson for registration information.

Schedule conflict? Don’t worry – the program will also be available on-demand shortly after the original broadcast date.

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

May 6, 2016

Tenth Anniversary of the CPBO Challenge® Initiative


10th Anniversary
The PBEye
is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of CPBO’s Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative. What a decade it has been! Since its launch, the CPBO Challenge® initiative has become the industry standard for in-house pro bono with nearly 150 signatories that represent 36 subindustries and range in size from one to nearly 1,100 in-house lawyers. Signatories engage in a wide array of pro bono efforts, from participating in time-limited clinics to developing large-scale signature projects in partnership with other departments, law firms, and public interest organizations.

While some signatories have developed highly sophisticated programs, many others are just beginning to formalize their pro bono programs. However, all those who have signed the CPBO Challenge® statement and publicly declared their commitment to access to justice, now share aspirational goals to:

  • encourage and promote pro bono service by their legal department staff; and
  • use their best efforts to encourage their staff, including at least one-half of their legal staff, to support and participate in pro bono service; and
  • encourage the outside law firms with whom they work to acknowledge publicly their support for pro bono by becoming signatories to PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®

New SignatoriesThe PBEye congratulates Vice President and General Counsel Ona Dosunmu as well as CPBO Challenge® statement and making The Brookings Institute and TCF Financial Corporation the newest signatories.

For more details about the CPBO Challenge® initiative’s accomplishments over the past ten years, take a look at the CPBO Challenge® 10 Year Anniversary Celebration webpage, including the page’s dynamic timeline highlighting milestones along the way.

Has your legal department signed the CPBO Challenge® statement? If not, contact CPBO soon so your department’s work may be included at the 2016 PBI Annual Dinner in New York this November.

May 5, 2016

Giving Back at Work

50The PBEye was thrilled to see three Law Firm Pro Bono Project Members Firms and Challenge Signatories make Fortune’s list of 50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back: Alston & Bird*†; Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz*†; and Cooley*†.

Fortune enlisted the help of Great Place to Work, which surveyed employees at more than 600 companies about the difference they make at work, the meaningfulness of their jobs, and the impact they feel their employer makes in its community. Their evaluations also considered the generosity of each company’s community-oriented programs, relative to its size and revenue. As we have long known, a “do good, feel good” mentality in a workplace inspires all of us to seek a higher purpose in our day-to-day jobs.

We congratulate these three law firms for making Fortune’s list and have no doubt that their strong pro bono programs played a key role in their selection. Keep up the good work!

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

May 2, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Podcast Box LFPNeed a new podcast to add to your line-up? 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. Each week we interview insightful and entertaining expert guests from Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms and Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatories, and offer a smart, fresh, creative take on pro bono.

You don’t want to miss our recent interview with Kate Fritz, Managing Partner of Fenwick & West*†. She discusses law firm leadership, the importance of integrating pro bono into a firm’s culture, tips for working effectively with firm management, how she was “forever changed” by her own pro bono work, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Podcast subscribers receive weekly new episode alerts, which you can then download and listen to at your convenience. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of the 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.

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

    Older Posts >