The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
February 5, 2014

In-House Pro Bono: Ethics

Docket-nameplate-500pxW copyPublished as on-line exclusive content for ACC Docket, Elizabeth Bluestein of Public Counsel Law Center and Michael Sposato of Caterpillar Inc.** co-authored an article that addresses some ethical and practical issues impacting in-house pro bono.  Their article, “The Ethics of Pro Bono,” was authored as a companion to a program CPBO hosted at the 2013 ACC Annual Meeting, titled “The Ethics of Pro Bono Practice by In-House Counsel.”

In the article, Bluestein and Sposato address a number of important issues surrounding in-house pro bono including competence, scope of representation, multijurisdictional practice rules, and employer policies. While ethical rules vary by jurisdiction, a few instructions apply to in-house pro bono efforts everywhere:

Navigating ethical considerations may seem daunting but for the detail-oriented lawyer the task is manageable. It is important for in-house counsel to consult the local ethical rules, and for legal departments and ACC chapters to put in place an appropriate review process. However, a calm and commonsense approach to the engagement, the substantive work and matter administration will permit in-house counsel to address the details required of ensuring ethical representation.

Make sure to read the article and contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon if you have any questions about how different ethical rules apply to your pro bono efforts.

** denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge®