The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
January 6, 2011

Reinvigorate Your Legal Department’s Pro Bono Program in 2011

Is your legal department looking to ramp up participation in pro bono in 2011? Increasing momentum behind pro bono is a hot topic among in-house attorneys and there are a number of easy changes your department can adopt to generate robust participation.

Create excitement about your legal department’s pro bono program. Develop a pro bono competition among teams or groups of staff members.  Communicate the success of your program and celebrate the program’s achievements.  This will encourage others to get involved.

Build flexibility into your program. Encourage attorneys to pursue their passion and seek out opportunities that match their interests.  Of course, staff should be required to present these projects to the pro bono committee for approval, clear conflicts, and satisfy other policy concerns.  This approach will ensure that attorneys identify meaningful and interesting projects while working within the company’s guidelines.

Present lawyers and legal staff with a variety of projects to ensure that concerns are met and skill sets utilized. For some volunteers, time issues are the biggest obstacles to doing pro bono.  For others, the prospect of representing a client in court is daunting.  Offering your legal department a range of engagements will enable staff to find projects that best meet their interests and needs.

We’d love to hear from you.  Post a comment below and let us know what your department has done to promote participation in pro bono.