The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
July 18, 2012

Chicago Keeps the Soul Alive

In Kanye West’s “Homecoming,” he sings that what he loves most about Chicago is how “she ha[s] so much soul.”  On July 13, 27 volunteers from legal departments across the city illustrated that vibrant soul when they participated in the Second Annual ACC Chicago Clinic in a BoxSM program and provided pro bono legal services to nine local nonprofit organizations.  The clinic was co-hosted by CPBO, the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC Chicago), and DLA Piper LLP (US)*†.

The volunteers initially attended a training session, led by experts from DLA Piper, on the legal issues applicable to nonprofits, including employment, governance, intellectual property, real estate, and tax.  Following the training session, ACC Chicago members met in teams with representatives from the nonprofits to conduct a legal audit of each organization.  Volunteers reviewed a checklist with their clients, which was developed by CPBO and modified by DLA Piper to reflect Illinois laws.

Volunteers from a number of legal departments participated, including ArcelorMittal USA LLC, Navistar Inc., and OfficeMax Incorporated.  The PBEye applauds the volunteers for their dedication to providing nonprofits with quality legal assistance. Commenting on the experience, one volunteer said the program was “Well organized, informative, and structured really well to help the organizations.”

The nonprofits that participated in the event serve more than 40,000 low-income and under-served Chicagoans, and improve their local communities through various activities, ranging from arts education geared toward under-served children and adults to assistance for those impacted by HIV/AIDS.  One nonprofit representative described the clinic as being a “very informative meeting and a great opportunity,” while another commented that the “lawyers were very knowledgeable, and I was able to see all areas that need to be given attention.”  Ultimately, the clinic proved to be an exciting opportunity for in-house individuals to help the people one of America’s greatest cities, and an important step in maintaining the soul of the city.

Those interested in learning more about other Clinic in a BoxSM programs, click here to read about the recent clinic held in Palo Alto, Calif.  You may also contact Eve Runyon, director of CPBO, to inquire more about Clinic in a BoxSM.

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

Hat tip to PBI intern Ben Gloger for his help on this post.