CPBO Spotlight On: LexisNexis Group
LexisNexis is a leading global provider of business information solutions to a wide range of professionals in numerous industries. Under the leadership of Ken Thompson, a staunch supporter of pro bono, the LexisNexis legal department has undertaken a number of impactful pro bono initiatives.
Southern Africa Litigation Center
In 2007, LexisNexis launched its first pro bono project, which offers support to the Southern Africa Litigation Center (SALC). SALC trains attorneys, supports human rights cases, and carries out other programs to advance the rule of law. In partnership with local lawyers and human rights NGOs, SALC identifies the specific constitutional and human rights issues that can be most strategically litigated before domestic courts in southern Africa. It is especially focused on media freedom cases and on HIV litigation, particularly with regard to discrimination and access to treatment issues for women and children.
A team of five LexisNexis lawyers located across the U.S. provides pro bono legal research assistance to SALC, and addition, LexisNexis has donated six laptop computers and a number of print publications to support these efforts.
Wills For Heroes
For several years, members of the LexisNexis have provided pro bono assistance through the Wills for Heroes program. Wills for Heroes is an organization that provides free wills, living wills, and powers of attorney to first responders and their spouses or domestic partners. The program was developed in the aftermath of Sept. 11, when it became clear how many first responders lacked simple estate planning documents.
LexisNexis not only provides pro bono legal services for Wills for Heroes but also computers and technology. With regard to the administration and institutionalization of the program, HotDocs® software developed by LexisNexis uses document assembly technology to make standardized forms easier to create and use. Product developers at LexisNexis worked with trust and estate planning experts to adapt the technology to create state-specific trust and estate planning templates. This technology has enabled the expansion of the Wills for Heroes program to lawyers and legal staff across the country.
Additionally, members of the LexisNexis legal department have volunteered at day-long clinics during which an attorney enters questionnaire data into the HotDocs® program, which then generates a customized estate plan. The questionnaire also identifies situations in which the first responder should consult an estate planning specialist. Attorneys review the draft estate planning documents with first responder clients to insure that the documents reflect the first responder’s intent and, once finalized, the documents are signed, witnessed, and notarized in a formal ceremony with LexisNexis volunteers and witnesses.
Since its inception in September 2001, the Wills for Heroes Program, through the use of HotDocs®, has helped more than 8,000 first responders in 13 states.
Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Program
The LexisNexis legal department has an impact around the world and in its own backyard. Lawyers working at the LexisNexis headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, have partnered with the Greater Dayton Volunteer Lawyers Program, which registers private attorneys to provide pro bono civil legal services in civil case areas. LexisNexis lawyers have taken on a variety of pro bono matters, primarily in the areas of divorce, bankruptcy, custody, consumer issues, and guardianship.