The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Clinic in a Box® Program

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 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 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

July 28, 2017

CPBO in the Windy City

On July 12, CPBO made its yearly trip _ to Chicago to meet with in-house pro bono leaders from the metro area as well as co-host the 7th annual ACC Chicago Clinic in a Box® program with the ACC Chicago Chapter, the Community Law Project, and DLA Piper*†.

Upon arriving in Chicago, CPBO met with local in-house pro bono leaders to discuss ways to build and improve in-house pro bono programs and to share recent developments in in-house pro bono. Hosted by Discover Financial Services**, attendees discussed various pro bono initiatives, legal services organization partnerships, and ideas for deepening pro bono engagement in legal departments. The meeting was well attended with representatives from large and small legal departments throughout the Chicago metro area.

Early the next day, at the new offices of DLA Piper, CPBO welcomed 47 attorneys and professional staff from legal departments throughout Chicagoland, ready to assist 14 local nonprofits. Due to the success of last year’s select topic clinic, the partnering organizations opted to work on another specific area of concern to nonprofits: sick leave policies and separation agreements. Volunteers began the day with an hour and a half training session led by attorneys from DLA Piper. Volunteers then met with representatives of a nonprofit organization to draft or revise the organization’s leave policies and a form separation agreement, providing the organization with documents to take at the end of the clinic.

By providing legal assistance to these nonprofits, the volunteers helped ensure that these organizations can sustain the services they offer to the community, ranging from eradicating racism through theater arts to creating opportunities for refugees fleeing war. One client expressed appreciation for the clinic, “This was great, well organized, and the volunteers were exceptional – so knowledgeable, so friendly, so helpful.” CPBO would like to thank the organizers and volunteers for their time and effort in making this clinic a success.

For more information about in-house pro bono training opportunities, including past CPBO Clinic in a Box® programs, click here and 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.

* 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

June 13, 2017

Verizon Hosts a Clinic in a Box® Program in DC

On June 2, Verizon Communications Inc.** co-hosted a Clinic in a Box program with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, DLA Piper*, and Corporate Pro Bono at the Verizon offices in Washington, D.C. This was the 13th Clinic in a Box program Verizon has co-hosted with CPBO. The focus of this clinic was to help nonprofit clients set up their organization’s bylaws – a grey area for many nonprofits but also an essential foundation for their long-term success.

DLA Piper Partner Eric Geppert leads a presentation on nonprofit bylaws.

Verizon invited other legal departments to join its team of in-house volunteers, many of whom were returning participants. A total of 23 volunteers from Verizon, Bank of America Corporation**, Barclays Bank PLC**, Freddie Mac**, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated**, and new Verizon company XO Communications participated. DLA Piper Partner Eric Geppert kicked off the clinic with a volunteer training session on crafting and correcting bylaws for nonprofit organizations in accordance with D.C. law. Following the 90-minute presentation, the group put their training into action, meeting with eight local nonprofit organizations to review and update their bylaws. The clinic’s nonprofit clients engage in a wide variety of work serving vulnerable groups and individuals, including providing care and after-school support for young children, finding affordable and supportive housing for women with mental disabilities, and offering aid to pregnant women and parents. After gathering information about their client’s organization and its structure, the volunteers, working in teams, collaborated to update the bylaws and send revisions and notes to the clients.

The volunteers’ legal assistance at the clinic helped their clients avoid future roadblocks that might prevent the organizations from fulfilling their mission. Many of the volunteers appreciated the opportunity to assist nonprofit organizations, with one participant indicating that the clinic was a “great event and very fulfilling”. The clients echoed similar sentiments, commenting that “the team was very knowledgeable about nonprofit bylaws and their best practices”.

CPBO Director Tammy Sun and CPBO Assistant Director Shannon Graving check in volunteers and clients.

The PBEye thanks all of the co-hosts and volunteers for making this clinic a great success.

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can learn more on the Clinic in a Box program webpage 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 Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

Hat tip to PBI Intern Sahil Shah for his help with this story.

February 14, 2017

Capital One – Ringing in 2017 with Pro Bono

On January 31, Capital One Financial Corporation** co-hosted a Clinic in a Box® Program – Legal Audit with CPBO, McGuireWoods LLP*†, and United Way of the National Capital Area. Twenty-six Capital One volunteers met at the McGuireWoods office in Tysons, Virginia, to receive training and assist ten local nonprofits with a legal audit. Attorneys from McGuireWoods led an hour and a half long training that offered instruction on five areas of law vital to the upkeep of Virginia nonprofits: governance, intellectual property, employment, human resources, and fiscal management. Once the training concluded, the volunteers broke into teams and went to work with their pre-assigned clients.

Over the course of more than two hours, volunteers utilized a detailed checklist to ask questions, review current practices, provide advice, and identify areas for follow-up.  Through providing legal assistance to these nonprofits, volunteers help ensure the services these nonprofits offer their communities — ranging from support for survivors of domestic violence to housing for the homeless — can continue. One client summed up the importance of the clinic by saying, “Very useful time spent. You don’t know what you don’t know. A review like this is so beneficial to be proactive in addressing concerns!” Thank you to the organizers, volunteers, and trainers who aided not only the 10 nonprofits present, but the estimated 24,500 clients they reach.

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can learn more on the Clinic in a Box® program webpage 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

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

 

January 17, 2017

Guest Blog: Sixth Annual ACC Northeast Chapter Clinic in a Box® Program

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo†* was honored to once again join with the Association of Corporate Counsel Northeast Chapter (ACC-Northeast), CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse, to host a Clinic in a Box® program to provide pro bono legal services to local nonprofit organizations for the sixth year in a row.

For the 40 in-house volunteers, the day started with a 90-minute training session led by Mintz Levin Attorney Anthony Hubbard who discussed bylaws and retired Casner & Edwards Partner Dick Allen who covered conflicts of interest (COI) policies. After the training, volunteer attorneys broke into small teams and met with 14 local nonprofits to assist with developing or editing the organizations’ bylaws and COI polices.

Volunteer attorneys came from a range of companies, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Bose Corporation, Boston Scientific Corporation**, GE Oil & Gas (a subsidiary of General Electric Company**), Liberty Mutual Holding Company Inc., National Grid USA, and Velcro Companies.

Through such clinics, the volunteers benefit not only the nonprofits they sit with that day, but the individuals those nonprofits serve. The participating nonprofits provide many critically valuable services, such as assisting low-income immigrant families, providing shelter and services to survivors of domestic violence, and providing learning opportunities for Boston’s public school children.

Mintz Levin is happy to continue to include the Clinic in a Box® program in its many pro bono efforts.    “It is a pleasure to host the clinic in our Boston office and support the great work of in-house counsel dedicating their time and legal expertise to assisting organizations that contribute so much to our community,” notes Sue Finegan, Chair, Pro Bono Committee, Mintz Levin.

Both clients and volunteers had great things to say about their experiences. “This program was very fulfilling and enjoyable!” one volunteer noted. A client added their thanks for the work done that day, commenting, “I thought the clinic was VERY helpful, the individualized attention was great. Thank you so much for your help in organizing!”

Congratulations to the Boston in-house community and thank you to ACC-Northeast, CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse for continuing to co-host the clinic. We look forward to working with you again in 2017 and beyond!

Thank you, Mintz Levin, for contributing to The PBEye.

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

December 20, 2016

Another Successful Pro Bono Clinic at the ACC Annual Meeting

CPBO partnered with the San Francisco Bay Area ACC Chapter and DLA Piper* to host the 16th Clinic in a Box® Program at an ACC Annual Meeting.  Like the Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic hosted at the 2015 ACC AM, the clinic offered a focused program, this time dedicated to wage and hour policies – including the upcoming December 2016 Department of Labor and Regulatory Changes – and anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies – with a particular focus on LGBT issues in the workplace.

The clinic began with 21 lawyers from around the world attending a training hosted by attorneys from DLA Piper.  Once trained, attorneys broke into teams and met with four nonprofits from the San Francisco Bay Area to review their wage and hour and anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

The nonprofit organizations attending the clinic offer a wide range of services to the Bay Area community, including providing artists with mental disabilities the means to create and exhibit their art, developing community leaders through environmental education, offering educational and therapeutic services to children with emotional disturbance or developmental delays, and making sure veterans have the resources and support they need.

Both the clients and volunteers provided positive feedback on their experience.  Clients noted their appreciation of the clinic and volunteers by saying “Thank you so much” and that they’d received, “Excellent employee handbook review!”  Volunteers also stated that they “loved doing this,” and that the clinic “was a great experience.”

To read more about past CPBO Clinic in a Box® programs, please 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

November 15, 2016

Verizon Hosts Two Clinic in a Box® Programs in 2016

This year, Verizon Communications Inc.** hosted its 11th and 12th Clinic in a Box® programs with CPBO and DLA Piper*†. After 10 legal audit clinics, Verizon chose the Clinic in a Box® Program – Select Topic, advising nonprofits on their bylaws and conflicts of interest policies rather than performing the traditional legal assessment.

On September 14, Verizon first tried out the new select topic model at its fifth clinic in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Sixteen volunteers from Verizon and Prudential Financial, Inc.** received training at Verizon’s headquarters from a DLA Piper partner on bylaws and conflicts of interest policies. Following the training, the in-house volunteers broke up into teams and met with five local nonprofits to review and revise their bylaws and draft or review their conflicts of interest policies with the support of the DLA Piper trainer. The clients helped during this clinic provide widely varied services to their communities such as combating domestic and sexual violence, empowering girls, and creating employment opportunities for veterans. In a given year the clients estimated they help more than 200,000 people.

With the success of the Verizon New Jersey clinic under their belts, CPBO, DLA Piper, and Verizon joined the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and United Way of the National Capital Area to prepare for30246989956_18073b7634_z the September 30 bylaws and conflict of interest policies clinic in Washington, D.C. The structure of the clinic remained the same. Eighteen in-house volunteers from Verizon, Bank of America Corporation**, and The Brookings Institution** received training from DLA Piper and then met with eight local nonprofits to review and revise their bylaws and draft or review their conflicts of interest policies. The missions of the nonprofit clients include addressing the needs of LGBT immigrants, promoting policies that fight domestic and international hunger, and instilling confidence in kids through sports.

The PBEye congratulates Verizon and all of the co-hosts and volunteers that made these clinics possible, and looks forward to more great work in 2017 and the years that follow!

The Clinic in a Box® program is a time-limited pro bono opportunity that allows in-house lawyers and other department staff to work together to provide meaningful assistance to organizations that serve the local community. Those interested in reading more about past CPBO Clinic in a Box® programs should click here. To learn more about hosting a Clinic in a Box® program, please contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.

** 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

October 26, 2016

Eisai Hosts First Clinic in a Box® Program – Wills

vince-andrews2The legal department of Eisai Inc. launched its formal pro bono program in 2015 by hosting a Clinic in a Box® Program – Legal Audit. Eisai liked the model but was eager to provide legal services more aligned with its corporate philosophy of human health care (hhc) and help those assisted by their community advocacy colleagues, namely individuals impacted by breast cancer. Eisai’s pro bono leaders approached CPBO about adapting the model to provide individuals with end-of-life documents, which would require finding the right co-hosts and developing substantive materials from scratch. Fortunately, Drescher & Cheslow, McCarter & English*†, and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice had the expertise and the desire to join the effort and expand the model. On July 20 at the Eisai legal department’s annual all-hands meeting at its headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, 24 Eisai attorneys and their colleagues provided 10 clients with wills, durable powers of attorney, and advanced directives for health care.

As with any Clinic in a Box® program, eisai-trainingthe clinic started with volunteers receiving in-depth training provided by attorneys from Drescher & Cheslow and McCarter & English. After the training, volunteers broke into teams of two and three to meet with their clients to conduct interviews and, with help from attorneys from Drescher & Cheslow and McCarter & English, draft and proof wills, durable powers of attorney, and advance directives for health care, which were signed, witnessed, and notarized as needed to be taken home.

eisai-client-meetingDespite the tough subject matter both clients and volunteers expressed appreciation for the clinic.  Of her experience, one volunteer said, “I feel this is an awesome program. I can see the benefit of helping and the outreach is awesome.” As for the clients, all were thrilled to receive the documents and as one client noted, the comfort of knowing that this was not something she needed to worry about any more. Congratulations and thank you to the co-hosts and volunteers. These clinics are not possible without your time, energy, and enthusiasm.

eisai-group-shotACC 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 Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

 

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