The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Ethics

December 12, 2014

ACE Group Aces the Launch of its Pro Bono Program

On Noveethics of in-house pro bonomber 17th, ACE Group Holdings, Inc. launched its formal pro bono program with a CLE presentation on the ethics rules relevant to in-house pro bono.  Like a number of other legal departments, including Towers Watson & Co. and PNC Bank, ACE called on CPBO to assist.  CPBO Director Eve Runyon presented once again, alongside longtime in-house pro bono supporter Susan Hackett, chief executive and chief legal officer, Legal Executive Leadership, LLC. The live event was broadcast from ACE’s offices in Philadelphia to its satellite offices in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, and New Jersey.

The presentation began with a warm welcome by Carrie Davis, counsel, ACE.  Then, Hackett and Runyon gave an overview of ethical issues to consider when providing pro bono services, such as multijurisdictional practice rules, the formation of an attorney-client relationship, avoiding conflicts, and how an attorney may provide limited-scope legal services.  In addition, there was a robust discussion of non-attorney involvement in pro bono matters and pro bono partnerships between legal departments and other entities, such as law firms, legal services organizations, and other legal departments.  In sum, the program addressed a number of challenges to participating in in-house pro bono and offered guidance so that participants would feel comfortable using their legal skills to assist those in need.

The PBEye applauds Hackett and Runyon for paneling such a successful ethics program and congratulates the ACE legal department on the launch of its pro bono program. To read more about other in-house pro bono ethics events and resources, see Illinois Continues its Focus on In-House Pro Bono and In-House Pro Bono: Ethics. For more information about in-house pro bono, or on how your legal department or ACC chapter can host an ethics program in conjunction with CPBO, please contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.

October 24, 2014

Illinois Continues its Focus on In-House Pro Bono

On October 3, CPBO re-teamed with ACC Chicago, local in-house pro bono leaders, and DLA Piper*†, to support the development of photo 2in-house pro bono in Illinois. The organizations hosted a panel discussion on the ethical issues involved with in-house pro bono and provided an opportunity for in-house counsel to network with representatives from public interest organizations that offer and support pro bono engagements in Illinois. This was the latest in a growing list of in-house pro bono focused activities in the state, which includes the Illinois Supreme Court amending its practice rules to remove unnecessary restrictions on registered in-house counsel providing pro bono legal services. The program expanded upon an event co-hosts presented last year to deepen the already robust in-house pro bono culture in Illinois.

This year, engaged in the conversation were Darryl Bradford, general counsel, Exelon Corporation**; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride; Eve Runyon, director, CPBO; Chuck Smith, assistant general counsel, Allstate Insurance Company**; and Jeff Torosian, partner, DLA Piper*†. Topics included pro bono metrics, the attorney-client relationship, multijurisdictional practice rules, and liability insurance. In addition, panelists shared some of the lessons they learned with regard to in-house pro bono. Bradford reminded all in-house counsel that they are “more powerful than [they] think” and that they can effect change for pro bono not only within their own departments but the larger legal community as well. Boophoto 1kending the panel was Alix Darrow, president of ACC Chicago, who welcomed attendees to the event and Kelly Tautges, director of pro bono and court advocacy at The Chicago Bar Foundation, and Jody Adler, director of The Law Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, who concluded the panel by reiterating the importance of pro bono legal services and highlighting some of the numerous opportunities for in-house counsel in Illinois. Many of these opportunities will be covered in the forthcoming new edition of the Pro Bono Opportunities Guide.

 

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

May 14, 2014

Starting Off Right

CPBO Director Eve Runyon recently joined Towers Watson & Co. for the launch of its legal department’s pro bono program. To kick off the event, Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Kirkland Hicks shared his support of the legal department’s efforts and encouraged staff located around the globe, including the U.S., U.K., and Asia, to participate. Members of the pro bono committee, including Chair Cindy Boyle, highlighted key policies and practices of the new pro bono program. Runyon then led a program on the ethical issues relating to pro bono representation. For legal department members located in other offices, the program was made available via webcast.

During the CLE eligible presentation, Runyon discussed a number of important ethical issues related to in-house pro bono. While some pro bono-related ethical issues are universal, there are a few distinct issues for in-house programs, especially those with an international presence. By touching on a number of topics such as attorney-client relationships, conflicts of interest, and limited-scope representation, Runyon shared with the Towers Watson’s legal department many of the department’s professional responsibilities when representing pro bono clients.

An ethics program is a great way to ensure legal staff members are broadly informed about engagement in pro bono efforts. To inquire about hosting an ethics program at your legal department, please contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.

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®