The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
August 4, 2011

CPBO Visits the North Star State

Last week, the Corporate Pro Bono team travelled to Minneapolis to host a Clinic-in-a-BoxSM program for local in-house lawyers.  In addition to sampling some of Minnesota’s native cuisine, CPBO met with pro bono attorneys and staff from Mayo Clinic**, Target Corporation, and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated**, and gained further insight into each organization’s pro bono activities.

The first stop on the itinerary was a road trip to Rochester, Minn. to Mayo Clinic, where the CPBO team learned more about their thriving pro bono efforts.  The pro bono culture at Mayo Clinic truly embodies the sentiment of Dr. William J. Mayo regarding community involvement: “Out of his composite education we finally accept the idea that man does not live for himself alone but as an integral part of society.”  The meeting was followed by a tour of the Mayo Clinic buildings and architecture, which the CPBO team thoroughly enjoyed.

On the way back to Minneapolis, the CPBO team’s affinity for tourist attractions bested them, and they stopped at Minnesota’s last remaining covered bridge (pictured).

Minnesota’s Last Covered Bridge

The next stop was Target Plaza, Target Corporation’s headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.  There, the CPBO team made use of the Minneapolis Skyway, a system of enclosed pedestrian walkways lofted above the streets, which links more than seven miles of city blocks.  In light of the recent heat wave here in D.C., the climate-controlled passageways provided welcomed relief, which our team added to their list of “Reasons to Move to Minneapolis” (right after the city’s flourishing pro bono culture).  The Target team’s meeting with CPBO reinforced The PBEye’s longstanding opinion that Target’s strong commitment to community service extends to its legal department.

On their way out of town, the CPBO team met with a member of UnitedHealth Group’s pro bono committee.  The UnitedHealth Group’s formal pro bono program was only formed a few years ago, but is already vibrant and growing.  Like many legal departments with programs that have developed infrastructure and solid participation, UnitedHealth Group is now focusing on how to improve and expand.  The discussion covered a few of the CPBO team’s favorite topics — signature projects, metrics, and multi-jurisdictional practice rules.  It was a great way to conclude a fantastic trip.

Unfortunately time did not allow for the CPBO team to meet with all of the great legal departments in the Minneapolis area committed to pro bono.  Not to worry, we intend to return soon!

In the meantime, if you would like for CPBO to visit your city and meet with your legal department or ACC Chapter, please let us know.  CPBO is ready to assist with consulting services, whether your pro bono program is just getting started or is a more mature program that has been around for years.

**denotes Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM

Hat tip to PBI intern Mallory Kennedy for her help with this story