The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
March 20, 2019

CPBO Releases 2018 Benchmarking Survey Results

Ready to learn about the latest trends in in-house pro bono? Corporate Pro Bono’s 2018 Benchmarking Report is hot off the press! Since 2010, CPBO’s biennial benchmarking survey highlights key trends in in-house pro bono and enables legal departments to compare the performance and management of their pro bono programs with those of other departments. Historically, the survey always covers topics such as program administration, policies, insurance, partnerships, projects, global pro bono, metrics, communications, and budgets. For the 2018 Benchmarking Report, CPBO also incorporated new questions in the survey we sent to in-house legal departments that included questions about dedicated pro bono managers, the tools departments use to track metrics, and strategies to encourage pro bono participation.

Several trends have become near-universal features of pro bono performance and management since CPBO’s initial 2010 Benchmarking Report, and this year was no exception. These trends include:

  • in-house pro bono is voluntary
  • participation in pro bono service is permitted during normal work hours
  • in-house pro bono engages lawyers and other professional staff
  • in-house pro bono programs are managed by committee or a point person
  • communications is an element of in-house pro bono programs

There were several new trends on which CPBO focused this year. One emerging trend is the growing interest in measuring in-house pro bono and the variety of tools that legal departments are using to track this data. CPBO found that spreadsheets are the most popular tool for pro bono metrics, followed by use of document management software and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platforms or software. CPBO will explore metrics in further depth during the In-House concurrent program “Measuring Up: Evaluating Your Pro Bono Program” at PBI’s 2019 Annual Conference, which will feature several examples of pro bono metrics tools, including an overview of the tools and measurements used, exploring the value of what is measured, and sharing how legal departments utilize data to advance their pro bono programs.

Additionally, the 2018 Benchmarking Report reveals that there has been a steady growth in the use of certain tools and strategies to demonstrate the importance of pro bono within legal departments. Among these tools, recognizing pro bono participation at department meetings has risen markedly among respondents, from 36 percent in 2012 to 73 percent in 2018. Similarly, more departments are using awards and newsletters to recognize pro bono volunteers. These trends indicate not just growing appreciation for pro bono volunteers but also the increased value that departments place on pro bono.

To learn more about the 2018 Benchmarking Report or in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.