The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
March 30, 2017

March Mindfulness

“Spring Cleaning” has meaning for law firm pro bono programs, just as it does for our homes and wardrobes. The season’s themes of renewal and growth make it the perfect time to reflect on your pro bono program’s mission, structure, and goals. For assistance with this effort, check out our Law Firm Pro Bono Self-Assessment Guide, which is designed to help large law firms assess the strengths and weaknesses of their programs and engage in goal-setting and long-term strategic planning.

In order to be effective and successful, pro bono programs should be compatible with the firm’s environment, culture, and history. There are a range of ever-evolving factors that shape a firm’s program, such as firm size, geographic location, the nature of the firm’s practice, and its economic health. We’ve identified certain common elements that are essential for establishing and maintaining a strong pro bono program and this guide allows firms to determine the status of these critical elements within the context of their own past history and future planning.

We encourage firms to share the results of their self-assessment (in whole or part) with us. The Law Firm Pro Bono Project is available to offer analysis of the firm’s program and provide confidential assistance to firms in restructuring and revamping their program. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact us.

March 29, 2017

One Month Left For Nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award

Time is running out to submit Pro Bono Partner Award Nominations for 2017. Until April 21, CPBO is accepting nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award. The award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups. Nominated partnerships must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest group partners. CPBO may present two awards: (1) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 50 or more lawyers; and (2) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 49 or less lawyers.

The award will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner in New York City on September 28, 2017.

The 2016 recipients were:

A full list of previous award winners can be found here. To nominate a pro bono partnership, please complete a nomination form and submit a letter of nomination no later than April 21, 2017.

Award criteria and the nomination form are available here. For more information about the award, please contact CPBO.
**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

 

March 27, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need listening material for when the April showers hit? 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 latest episode featuring Patrick Arenz of Robins Kaplan*†. Patrick talks to us about his career, chairing the firm’s Pro Bono Committee; a new trial advocacy initiative to support survivors of domestic abuse while promoting lawyer professional development and mentorship, 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.

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

 

March 23, 2017

Member Benefit: Summer Associate Programming

Pro bono has become a significant part of the summer associate experience and a crucial differentiator as talented law students make decisions about their futures. Each year, Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members participate in a number of informational programs, during which we, along with firm partners, directors, managers, coordinators, associates, and pro bono committee members, discuss an array of pro bono-related topics, such as:

  • relationship of pro bono to professional and skill development;
  • national trends in pro bono;
  • “hot” and emerging areas in pro bono;
  • developments in in-house pro bono;
  • pro bono and access to justice current events; and
  • the particular operations of the firm’s pro bono program and new initiatives.

These programs are important representations of a firm’s commitment to pro bono and useful tools for orienting and engaging your newest recruits. We are happy to tailor our participation and the program design to your firm’s specific needs.

If your Member Law Firm is interested in scheduling and designing a meeting (which may be conducted in person or by video) as part of your summer associate program, please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita. Please note that it may not be possible to fill all requests this year, so schedule your event soon.

March 21, 2017

Learn More about In-House Pro Bono Budgets

This March, CPBO releases the latest installment in its infographic series, aimed at making complicated in-house pro bono issues easier to digest. The newly published infographic is titled “In-House Pro Bono Budgets”. The new publication touches on: expenses, budgeting, and foundation funding. The data comes from not-yet-released responses to the 2016 CPBO Benchmarking Survey.

Among other statistics, the infographic reveals that the largest expenses covered in annual budgets include trainings of volunteers and refreshments at events. In addition, 50% of respondents whose pro bono programs received support from the company’s foundation or CSR department report in 2015 they received more than $100,000.

Want to know about more than just budgets? Good news, CPBO has developed a wide variety of resources for legal departments of any size, including the following infographics on critical in-house pro bono issues:

Want to do a deeper dive on the issues? Take a look at CPBO’s publications or contact CPBO for a consultation.

March 20, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need motivation as you begin spring cleaning? 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 most recent interview with Elizabeta Markuci of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS). Liz talks to us about pro bono initiatives to support immigrants in the context of her own family’s experience, the value of storytelling, the importance of self-care, her pro bono role models, 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.

March 16, 2017

In Memoriam: Thomas S. Williamson Jr.

The PBEye was saddened to learn of the passing of our friend and pro bono champion, Tom Williamson, former President of the D.C. Bar. Throughout his 40-year career, Williamson was a staunch advocate for access to justice for all and civil rights. He eloquently reminded us that “[a]ccess to justice is my number one priority…I believe reverently that we have to continue to pay attention to meeting a higher standard of making access to justice a reality and not just an ideal for everyone in our community.”  His passion was exemplified in 2007, when he received the Wiley A. Branton award by the Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which honored his work championing equal rights. Williamson was a partner at Covington & Burling*, held positions at the Department of Energy and Department of Labor, and served as the president of the D.C. Bar. Covington colleague spoke kindly of Williamson and his values:

“[W]hat was most striking about Tom to me was the thoughtfulness and empathy he exhibited as a mentor to generations of young, and not so young, men and women within our law firm and in the larger community. He genuinely cared about people, and hardly a day passed in which, over lunch or in a hallway chat, Tom didn’t take the time to think about and offer wise counsel to someone about his or her career or just life in general.”

Charles. E Buffon

The passing of Tom Williamson is a profound loss for his family, friends, colleagues, and the entire pro bono community.

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

March 13, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Get to Know Our Speakers – Part 3

Missed the 2017 PBI Annual Conference? Want to hear more from our speakers? Since the Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in October 2015, we have had the opportunity to feature a variety of guests from law firms and public interest organizations; many of whom were speakers at the Conference last week.

Check out these episodes with public interest and law firm pro bono leaders who facilitated Conference Sessions:

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 the 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.


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

March 7, 2017

Webinar Recap — In-House Pro Bono Partnership: Self Help Resource Center

On February 16, PBI hosted the webinar “In-House Pro Bono Partnership: Self Help Resource Center” which provided an in-depth look at the 2016 CPBO Partner Award Recipients. The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups.

The 2016 CPBO Partner Award honored the pro bono partnership between Entergy Corporation**, the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, and the Orleans Parish Civil District Court, to develop and support the Orleans Parish Self Help Resource Center (SHRC).  The SHRC is a help desk that assists thousands of unrepresented low-income and vulnerable domestic court litigants in the Greater New Orleans area. Launched by the Civil District Court with significant help from Entergy’s legal department, the initiative exemplifies the value and influence of leadership by in-house legal departments in the area of pro bono service.

The webinar features the following speakers discussing the ins and outs of the partnership as well as how to replicate the Self Help Resource Center in other locations or for other areas of law:

  • Judge Bernadette G. D’Souza, Domestic Section, Orleans Parish Civil District Court
  • Jonathan M. Rhodes, Executive Director, Louisiana Civil Justice Center
  • Wendy Hickok Robinson, Assistant General Counsel – Litigation, Entergy Services, Inc.
  • Michael W. Schachtam, Self-Represented Litigation Counsel, Louisiana State Bar Association

Did you miss the program? Don’t worry, it’s available on-demand! In-house participants should contact CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon for registration information. Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms should contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for the promotional code to register. CLE credit is available for this program in many states. Be sure to check back often for other online offerings and browse the other webinars available on-demand.

To find out more about the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award or in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

March 6, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Get to Know Our Speakers – Part 2

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is only a few days away! Need some listening material while you pack? Tune in to our most recent episode, Ready, Set, Go! 2017 PBI Annual Conference Preview. During this special episode, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project discusses what’s new this year, opportunities for networking, cutting-edge issues that will be featured, and more.

Interested in learning more about our speakers as you prepare to attend?  Since the Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in October 2015, we have had the opportunity to feature a variety of guests from law firms and public interest organizations; many of whom will be speakers at the Conference.

Check out these episodes with public interest and law firm pro bono leaders who will be facilitating Conference Sessions:

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 the 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.

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

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

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