The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Corporate Pro Bono

December 20, 2017

Adding Pro Bono and Value to the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting

CPBO spent October 15 – 18 providing free pro bono opportunities and educational resources to the hundreds of attendees of the 2017 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting. CPBO is a global joint partnership between PBI and ACC and provides consulting services and other resources as a member benefit for ACC members.

CPBO kicked off the meeting with a Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic on Monday morning. The clinic was co-hosted with ACC National Capital Region, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and Womble Carlyle*†. The clinic trained 31 volunteers on social media policies and online marketing compliance before they met with their local nonprofit clients. To learn more about the clinic, check out our blog post: CPBO’s Clinic in a Box® Program Tackles Social Media Policies for Nonprofits.

On Tuesday, over 80 people attended CPBO’s session: “Ethics of In-house Pro Bono” which offered an overview of the ethical issues in-house attorneys face when representing clients in pro bono matters in the US and globally and addressed practical issues related to in-house pro bono. Expert panelists Andrea Bridgeman, Associate General Counsel at Freddie Mac**; Jon Downs, Head of Legal – Australia at Willis Towers Watson**; and Katherine Giddings, Partner at Akerman led the discussion and answered questions. Attendees learned about a range of topics, including: administering a pro bono program, managing conflicts (both legal and business), and securing malpractice insurance.

Miss the session? You’re in luck! It is available on-demand here. Also, check out the resources referenced in the session: In-House Global Pro Bono, In-House Pro Bono Insurance, and Right to Practice In-House Pro Bono.

On Tuesday evening, CPBO and pro bono leaders gathered at the ACC Booth for a champagne toast to honor the winner of this year’s Chapter Challenge: the ACC Arizona Chapter. The Chapter Challenge is a fun competition among ACC chapters to see which chapter can inspire the most companies to become new signatories to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative. Well done, ACC Arizona Chapter! In addition to bringing on new signatories, ACC Arizona Chapter has been creating a statewide structure to facilitate pro bono activities for in-house counsel by addressing impediments to pro bono participation and providing organized, engaging opportunities for pro bono service. Learn how they’re doing it: Spotlight: Arizona ACC Chapter Transforms State’s In-House Pro Bono Activities.

Throughout the Annual Meeting, CPBO staff spoke with more than 90 pro bono leaders as well as attendees interested in pro bono at the CPBO booth in the exhibit hall.

CPBO even added more signatories to the Challenge. A few chief legal officers visited the booth to sign the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® statement, declaring their department’s commitment to pro bono service. At the meeting, CPBO welcomed Bright MLS, Inc.**, Calvary Robotics**, and NHL, Inc.** to the Challenge, bringing the total number of Challenge signatories to 177.

Inspired to launch your department’s pro bono program but don’t know how to start? CPBO is here for you as an ACC member benefit! Learn everything you need to know and get advice from seasoned in-house leaders with CPBO’s “Getting Started Series” launching in March 2018. Learn more here or contact Tammy Sun at 202.729.6980 or cpbo@probonoinst.org.

† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

December 12, 2017

Spark for Change: Eisai’s Legal Department Prepares End of Life Documents for Cancer Patients

A sign at Eisai

“Human health care” (hhc) is an integral part of the corporate philosophy of Eisai Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Employees are encouraged to “give [their] first thoughts to patients and their families and helping to increase the benefits health care provides.”  This mission drives Eisai’s commercial as well as community service efforts; and as of 2015, its legal department’s pro bono efforts as well.

On November 8, the Eisai legal department joined with co-hosts CPBO, Drescher & Cheslow, McCarter & English*†, and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice to host its third Clinic in a Box® program, two of which have been dedicated to preparing end-of-life documents for clients.

Eisai attorneys and colleagues drafting documents.

Like previous Eisai Clinic in a Box® programs, the clinic took place during the department’s all-hands meeting, bringing staff from Andover, Massachusetts and Mexico City, Mexico to Eisai’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.  Twenty-two Eisai volunteers received in-depth training from Josh Cheslow of Drescher & Cheslow and Laura Kelly of McCarter & English on preparing wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies.

Extremely grateful as a cancer patient for this most generous opportunity which relieved stress in a most comforting setting being so well cared for. Thanks for the unexpected delicious lunch and especially the much-needed transportation.

– Clinic Client

Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung (center) witnessing client documents.

Post-training, volunteers broke into teams to meet with seven clients, cancer patients or survivors, to discuss the information and decisions needed to prepare the documents. Following the client meeting, volunteers drafted the documents while clients ate lunch and spoke with Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung and General Counsel Vince Andrews. Once the documents were ready, clients met with their respective volunteers again to review and finalize the documents and then sign them in the presence of a notary and witnesses.

It was an emotional but rewarding day for many of the clients who appreciated the volunteers’ assistance.

I am so grateful for this experience and accomplishing something long on my mind. Everyone was so kind and knowledgeable – thank you so much.

– Clinic Client

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can find more information here and read about previous clinics here. To discuss in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

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

November 16, 2017

CPBO’s Clinic in a Box® Program Tackles Social Media Policies for Nonprofits

In October, CPBO co-hosted a Clinic in a Box® Program in partnership with the Association of Corporate Counsel National Capital Region, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and Womble Carlyle*† at the 2017 Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting.

Every Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic introduces and trains volunteers on an issue of importance to nonprofits before pairing them with nonprofits to provide legal advice. This clinic took a deep dive into social media policies and online marketing compliance, subjects that concern many nonprofits and employers in general.

For example, in a recent and especially high-profile case, Juli Briskman was fired by her employer (a government contractor) for giving President Trump’s motorcade the finger and then posting a photo of the act to her social media accounts. Although it was on her own time and her social media accounts did not reference her employer, her photo was grounds for dismissal for what they deemed “obscene” content. This case demonstrates it’s important for organizations to have a social media policy that protects their brand and also to have an understanding of employee rights in relation to social media use.

Womble Carlyle attorneys John E. Pueschel, Orla M. O’Hannaidh, and Rebecca C. Fleishman led the training for 31 volunteers that covered other high-profile examples of employees being fired for social media posts deemed damaging by the company but were ultimately protected activities according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In one case, an employee was fired for tweeting about wages and circulating a petition about working conditions. NLRB held that the company’s social media policy was overly broad and that employees cannot be restricted from discussing working conditions with the public. Ultimately, the employer was ordered to pay lost wages and benefits.

Pueschel advised that restrictions on discussing “confidential” information about an employer – without specific examples – were overly broad and that social media policies should be treated the same as other work rules. Additionally, O’Hannaidh and Fleishman shared best practices for developing a social media policy, contents of an effective policy, restrictions on online marketing, and disclosures around marketing.

D.C. Bar President Patrick McGlone attended the clinic as did attorneys from many CPBO Challenge® signatories including: American International Group, Inc.**, AT&T Inc.**, Crown Canyon Capital, LLC**, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac)**, Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)**, and Willis Towers Watson**. Once trained, the volunteers broke into teams and met with representatives from nine D.C. nonprofits to draft or revise their social media policy (applicable to employees and volunteers) and advise them on complying with laws governing marketing and advertising online.

The nonprofit organizations that attended the clinic offer a wide range of services in the District, including: delivering archaeology enrichment programs to students and providing bilingual and multicultural services to marginalized members of the LGBT community.

To read more about past CPBO Clinic in a Box® programs, click here. To learn more about hosting a Clinic in a Box® program or about in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.

Photos by Scott Dressel-Martin.

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

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

September 28, 2017

PBI’s 2017 Annual Dinner is Tonight

PBI is excited to host our Annual Dinner at Gotham Hall in New York City tonight! This year’s theme“Strengthening Access to Justice” features speakers sure to inspire all who attend. Attendees will hear remarks from special guest Charles Johnson, who was wrongfully convicted of a double murder in Chicago, and served 20 years of a life sentence. With pro bono assistance from 2017 John H. Pickering Award recipient Kirkland & Ellis*† and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, Johnson’s conviction was vacated in July 2016. Later that year, he was released from prison. Another highlight of tonight’s event will be a musical performance by another Kirkland pro bono client Diverse Concert Artists, a group “committed to diversity in classical and crossover music.”

We are also proud to present the 2017 CPBO Partner Award: Large Law to UnitedHealth Group Incorporated** in partnership with the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and the 2017 CPBO Partner Award: Small Law to Arconic Inc. and Alcoa Corporation in partnership with Meyer, Unkovic & Scott for their commitment to pro bono.

In addition to our inspiring speakers, we thank our co-chairs, Laureen E. Seeger, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of American Express Company, Tony West, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of PepsiCo, Inc.**, and David Zapolsky, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Amazon.com, Inc. **

Be sure to follow the festivities tonight by checking out posts tagged with #PBIDinner2017 and #ProBonoProud and by following us @ProBonoInst on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube where we will be posting videos of tonight’s events.

*  denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

†  denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

 

 

September 26, 2017

Two Down, One to Go for Verizon

On September 8, Verizon Communications Inc.** co-hosted the second of three clinics scheduled for 2017 with DLA Piper* and CPBO at its offices in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. The clinic utilized CPBO’s Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic and offered volunteers and nonprofits a deep dive on performance improvement plans and separation agreements.

Volunteer attorneys from Verizon were joined by colleagues from other legal departments, including ADP, LLC, Berkeley College, Datapipe Managed IT Services, and Sanofi US Services Inc.**. The volunteers arrived bright and early for a training on performance improvement plans and separation agreements led by an attorney from DLA Piper. Following the training, volunteers split into teams and met with representatives from ten nonprofit organizations to draft or revise the organization’s performance improvement plans and a form separation agreement. The nonprofit organizations attending the clinic offer a wide range of services, including creating employment opportunities for veterans, empowering young people to strengthen their social-emotional skills, and ending domestic and sexual violence.

Clients and volunteers alike found the clinic to be a “very rewarding” experience. One client shared that the clinic provided “a good plan for moving forward”. Both the clients and volunteers expressed excitement about the subject of the clinic, with one volunteer stating, “I liked the limited focus and targeted materials.”

The PBEye thanks all of the co-hosts and volunteers for making this clinic a great success, and the nonprofits for the essential work they do to serve their communities. ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic can learn more at Clinic in a Box® program and read about previous clinics here. To discuss in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

 

 

September 14, 2017

Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast, Special Edition: DACA

PBI recently released a special edition of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in response to the cancellation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. President and CEO Eve Runyon also released a statement about PBI’s support for our stakeholders who are providing legal assistance to DACA recipients and other immigrants.

In this episode, we talk with Chris Marquardt of Alston & Bird*†, David March of the Minnesota Corporate Pro Bono Council, and Liz Markuci of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS) about the impacts the cancellation of DACA will have on immigrant communities and their own personal experiences and reflections. They also offer meaningful ways that pro bono attorneys can get involved and be of assistance right now. Take 35 minutes to listen to our conversation.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review. We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help us expand the conversation about pro bono and access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

 

September 13, 2017

Add a Little Pro Bono to Your 2017 ACC Annual Meeting

Want to add a little pro bono service to your ACC Annual Meeting schedule? On Monday, October 16, CPBO will co-host a Clinic in a Box® program with ACC National Capital Region, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, and Womble Carlyle*† at the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting. For the third time during an ACC Annual Meeting, CPBO will run its Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic.  This year’s clinic will focus on social media policies and online marketing compliance for nonprofits.

The clinic will begin with a one-and-a-half hour training session led by attorneys from Womble Carlyle. Volunteers will then meet in teams with a local nonprofit organization to draft or revise its social media policy (applicable to employees and volunteers) and advise them on complying with federal laws governing marketing and advertising online. The clinic provides a great opportunity to aid organizations that may otherwise be unable to afford such assistance.

Registration is open to all in-house counsel and their legal department colleagues.  You do not need to attend the 2017 ACC Annual Meeting to participate, but all volunteers must complete online registration by September 20.

To find out more about the clinic, please contact CPBO, and for the complete ACC Annual Meeting schedule, click here. We look forward to seeing you in D.C.!

denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

September 6, 2017

And the Winner Is…

CPBO will present the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards, recognizing innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments, at PBI’s Annual Dinner, on September 28. The PBEye is proud to congratulate the recipients:

  • CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law: Alcoa Corporation and Arconic Inc. in partnership with Meyer, Unkovic & Scott for their work on the Landlord Tenant Project; and
  • CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law: UnitedHealth Group Incorporated** and Connecticut Veterans Legal Center on their project, “Review-A-Rama.”

Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law

The Landlord Tenant Project (Project) assists low-income individuals facing landlord-tenant and other housing legal issues. These issues are of paramount importance in focusing on a basic need of all people: safe and affordable housing. Through the Project, volunteers represent families and individuals at housing denial hearings, and staff a hotline which provides advice and, when appropriate, brief services.

Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law

Review-A-Rama engages members of the UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UHG) Legal, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs Department (LCRA) to review massive files of medical and military documents and provide detailed summaries to Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) attorneys who represent veterans in disability benefit claims with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As a result of Review-A-Rama and UHG’s efforts, CVLC is able to offer full-scope representation to more veterans in need.

The PBEye congratulates the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recipients on their continued dedication to increasing access to justice, and looks forward to celebrating their accomplishments at the PBI Annual Dinner! If you are interested in supporting the Annual Dinner, please contact Kelly Simon (202.729.6691) for more information. We hope to see you there!

August 29, 2017

There’s Still Time to Win the CPBO Chapter Challenge

There’s less than a month left to participate in the CPBO Chapter Challenge! The CPBO Chapter Challenge invites ACC chapters to encourage their members to demonstrate their commitment to pro bono legal services by signing or encouraging their CLOs to sign the CPBO Challenge® statement. The ACC chapter with the most new signatories to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative on September 7 will be recognized at the October ACC Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. with a champagne toast at the ACC exhibit hall booth.

In 2016 – the inaugural year of the CPBO Chapter Challenge – competing chapters collectively encouraged 10 legal departments to declare their commitment to pro bono and sign the CPBO Challenge® statement. CPBO honored ACC Chicago for encouraging the most CLOs to join the Challenge. For more information and Challenge criteria, please contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.

 

August 23, 2017

Spotlight: Arizona ACC Chapter Transforms State’s In-House Pro Bono Activities

In 2016, the Arizona ACC Chapter launched the In-House Counsel Pro Bono Commission (IHCPBC) with the vision of creating a statewide structure to facilitate pro bono activities for in-house counsel by addressing impediments and providing organized opportunities. While the commission has only existed for a short time, it has already begun to transform the way in-house counsel pro bono activities operate in Arizona and have a positive impact on communities across the state.

  Goals of the IHCPBC:

  • “Specifically, tailor efforts to in-house counsel, enabling counsel to select the activity that will personally resonate and encourage engagement
  • Improve efficiencies, enabling the sharing of resources which will help to eliminate redundancies and administrative burdens
  • Facilitate making connections, between in-house counsel and partners helping to deliver the pro bono activities
  • Provide a forum for sharing, exploring, and supporting ideas that build upon each other
  • Provide a platform to grow awareness to have broader reach and impact
  • Shine a light on current efforts, enabling others to partner/follow and provide match making like connections”

The IHCPBC was the brainchild of the board of the Arizona ACC Chapter, which began working in 2015 to:

  • build the structure of the commission;
  • invite leaders from legal departments, organizations such as the Arizona Bar Foundation and Volunteer Lawyers Program, the Arizona Judiciary’s Access to Justice Commission, local law schools, and law firms to join the IHCPBC;
  • eliminate obstacles to in-house counsel fully engaging in pro bono legal service; and
  • create key working groups that pair an in-house counsel with a third-party leader to help drive each working group’s strategy.

Addressing Impediments to In-House Pro Bono

From its inception, the IHCPBC has engaged in a wide variety of work to encourage and streamline in-house counsel pro bono activities. The commission has worked to eliminate challenges that previously deterred in-house counsel, such as a lack of malpractice insurance, time restrictions, and a mismatch of skills.  With regard to insurance, the IHCPBC worked with the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services to offer malpractice insurance for in-house counsel who provide pro bono within the umbrella of the IHCPBC.  In addition, it has coordinated partnerships with agencies and law firms to provide any necessary training. Furthermore, the IHCPBC has worked to clarify and spread awareness of limited scope representation and licensing rules that apply to pro bono activities.

Pro Bono Assistance

By setting the framework for a significant amount of strategic collaboration among in-house counsel, agencies, key community leaders, and law firms, the IHCPBC has strengthened pro bono opportunities across Arizona. The commission is currently supporting a number of pro bono efforts to engage in-house volunteers to (i) assist veteran-based entrepreneurs in their startup businesses, (ii) provide free, essential legal documents to first responders and military personnel, (iii) staff a variety of clinics, and (iv) serve as mediators for selected small business litigants in the Arizona Commercial Court.

Access to Justice Initiatives

In addition to supporting in-house pro bono activities, the IHCPBC is focused on improving access to justice and increasing diversity in the legal profession, including arranging classroom visits with attorneys, hosting panels at libraries to provide the community with basic legal information, and developing online resources.

Successes So Far

Since its launch last year, the commission has:

  • increased in-house pro bono participation by partnering with numerous organizations and law firms to engage in-house counsel to provide pro bono legal assistance to dozens of low income individuals, refugees, startups, and first responders;
  • assisted hundreds of refugees in partnership with key service providers on a wide-range of matters, including legal documentation, landlord-tenant issues, education matters, basic legal issues, general assistance, and advising non-profits that help refugees;
  • piloted and launched a mediation program with the Arizona Commercial Court, which entailed developing the program, testing it out, successfully resolving two cases, and fully rolling out the program to benefit litigants;
  • hosted two CLE programs, one on implicit bias and the other on assisting refugees through the immigration process;
  • advocated for amending AZ’s practice rules to empower in-house pro bono by eliminating the double certification requirement for in-house counsel licensed outside of Arizona and working in the state to provide greatly needed pro bono legal services;
  • strongly supported the Arizona Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission;
  • published a menu of pro bono activities suitable for in-house counsel, which acts as a guide for volunteers to engage in a way that personally resonates and benefits those in need; and
  • engaged with the community by hosting multiple library panels for the public and fireside chats with veterans starting their own businesses, and visiting numerous classrooms.

CPBO congratulates the Arizona ACC Chapter, the IHCPBC, and all of their partners for their tremendous work and dedication to pro bono activities. For information on the how CPBO can help your chapter start or grow its pro bono program, click here.

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