The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Corporate Pro Bono

February 21, 2017

Submit Nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award

Know of an inspiring and impactful pro bono partnership? CPBO is now accepting nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award. The award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups. Nominated partnerships must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest group partners. CPBO may present two awards: (1) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 50 or more lawyers; and (2) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 49 or less lawyers.

The award will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner in New York City on September 28, 2017.

The 2016 recipients were:

A full list of previous award winners can be found here. To nominate a pro bono partnership, please complete a nomination form and submit a letter of nomination no later than April 21, 2017.

Award criteria and the nomination form are available here. For more information about the award, please contact CPBO.

 

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

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

January 10, 2017

2017 PBI Annual Conference: In-House Pro Bono Pre-Conference Sessions

 
The PBEye
 invites in-house counsel and staff to join CPBO March 8-10 at the 2017 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The Conference gives pro bono leaders from legal departments, law firms, and public interest and legal services organizations from around the world an opportunity to network and discuss ways to improve access to justice through pro bono.

In the past CPBO has offered pre-conference programming to help leaders new to pro bono start or reinvigorate their pro bono programs. In addition, this year there will be a new pre-conference session: crowd-sourcing for experienced pro bono leaders. Now there’s something for everyone! Both sessions will take place Wednesday, March 8.

  • In-House Pro Bono: The Basics9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for pro bono leaders of legal departments that are in the process of creating or re-launching a pro bono program, as well as for new pro bono leaders of existing programs. Experienced legal department pro bono leaders will discuss the key elements of a successful in-house pro bono program, from insurance to leadership structure to recognition.
  • In-House Pro Bono: Mature Crowd-Sourcing9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for experienced in-house pro bono leaders and provides an opportunity to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of your fellow attendees to answer your most pressing in-house pro bono questions! This highly-interactive session will break down the barriers between presenter and attendee – and allow attendees to solve each other’s challenges. Moving beyond passive listening, attendees are asked to fully engage in the ideation and problem-solving process.

Please note that pre-registration is required for The Basics and encouraged for Mature Crowd-Sourcing. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early!

Those who attend will join other in-house and law firm attendees at the Regional Joint Networking Exchanges (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) and Networking Lunch (12:00 – 1:30 p.m.). The In-House Pro Bono Track of the Conference will officially start at 1:30 pm with a plenary, followed by in-house specific sessions and networking opportunities.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference – the early-bird registration rate ends January 12! To learn more about other sessions, please view the in-house agenda.

January 3, 2017

Free to Practice Pro Bono in Wisconsin!

Effective January 1, the more than 225 registered in-house counsel in Wisconsin may provide pro bono legal services without unnecessary restriction. Previously, in-house counsel licensed and in good standing in other jurisdictions and registered to work for their employer in Wisconsin were permitted to provide pro bono legal services only “to qualified clients of a legal service program.” See Wis. SCR 10.03(4)(f) (cmt.).

The road to this change began several years ago when the Wisconsin ACC Chapter took up the issue. At the chapter’s urging, on October 7, 2015, the State Bar of Wisconsin filed a petition to amend the Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules. On April 13, 2016 the court held a public hearing on the rule change, where PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon provided information on the topic and answered questions about in-house legal pro bono. Following a period of deliberation, on April 28, 2016, the court voted 5-2 to adopt the petition.  On July 21, 2016, the court issued Rule Order 15-05 amending Supreme Court Rule 10.03(4)(f) to include: “A lawyer registered under this subsection may provide pro bono legal services without fee or expectation of fee as provided in SCR 20:6.1,” thereby expanding the pool of clients registered in-house counsel may serve.

Wisconsin joins Illinois, New York, and Virginia as a state that allows non-locally licensed in-house counsel to provide pro bono services free of unnecessary restrictions. The PBEye congratulates all involved in the rule change for their dedication to equal access to justice. We hope that Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, and Virginia are just the start and that it is only a matter of time until non-locally licensed in-house counsel in all states can provide pro bono legal aid to those in need without unnecessary restrictions.

Amending the local practice rules is of course only one step in increasing the role of in-house counsel in improving access to justice. Runyon returned to Wisconsin in November to speak at Quarles & Brady’s*† 2016 Annual Legal Ethics Seminar on the ethics of in-house pro bono, including the practice rules that apply to non-locally licensed in-house counsel. As discussed by all of the esteemed speakers that day, with knowledge of the rules and a bit of organization, legal departments are using their unique skills to assist those in need.

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

December 22, 2016

CLOs on the Intersection of Pro Bono and CSR at the 2016 ACC Annual Meeting

A highlight of the in-house pro bono programming offered at the ACC Annual Meeting was a session featuring Susan Lees, executive vice president and general counsel for Allstate Insurance Company**, and Amy Weaver, executive vice president and general counsel for Salesforce**. The session, moderated by Eve Runyon, president and CEO of PBI, opened with Lees and Weaver discussing their experiences in starting and growing pro bono programs, as well as providing tips for how in-house departments could start, expand, or rejuvenate their pro bono programs. The speakers offered advice to the audience such as:

  • partner with ACC chapters, law firms, or other legal departments that have well-established pro bono programs,
  • offer bite-sized volunteer opportunities,
  • consider practical logistics,
  • secure training and support,
  • conduct a survey to find out what issues interest potential volunteers, and
  • attend the PBI Annual Conference for information and networking.

With regard to pro bono programs, audience members posed questions ranging from whether to compensate for pro bono hours to how to identify volunteer opportunities.

The session then turned to the various ways corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts and pro bono legal services can be integrated, including the company foundation funding pro bono programs and contributing to partner legal aid organizations, legal support to the beneficiaries of the company’s CSR efforts, and thematic alignment. Both Lees and Weaver discussed the challenges of maintaining momentum with regard to integration, finding the right projects, knowing when to sunset those that are no longer effective, and the constant competing demands on time. The benefits, they noted, make it well-worth the effort, including the impact on clients and the draw for recruiting strong talent, particularly among millennials.

Runyon ended the session by asking where the panelists would like to see in-house pro bono go in the future. Weaver said that she expects that it will become engrained in the culture at all departments. Lees replied that she hoped technology would be developed and utilized to increase access to and the efficiency of pro bono legal services and that CSR departments would think of their legal department colleagues whenever planning new initiatives, because as Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Sad you missed out on the session? Don’t worry, CPBO has resources for you! Check out the recently published infographic “Integrating In-House Pro Bono with CSR” which outlines the various ways to align the two and spotlights the activities at several companies, including Allstate and . To learn more, contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org.

** 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

November 14, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need a cure for the end of Daylight Savings Time and early sunsets? Tune in to Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.  Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and equal access to justice.

pbhh-logoDon’t miss our recent interview with Cynthia Anderson and Jon Bye of Lindquist & Vennum*.  Cynthia and Jon talk to us about the firm’s history and pro bono program, community economic development, “Breaking Poverty Barrier’s to Equal Justice,” and more. Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

cpbo-podcast-box-1400-dclListen to Ron Bell, General Counsel and Secretary at Yahoo! Inc.** talk about Yahoo’s history, how pro bono is a natural fit with its values and culture, and the tremendous benefits of providing pro bono legal services to the clients, but to volunteers, and department.  Subscribe to the CLO & Pro Bono Series in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

Listen along and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

 

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

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

November 1, 2016

Guest Blog: Caterpillar’s Commitment to Renewal House and its Residents

We at The PBEye are inspired every day by the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the launch of the CPBO Challenge® initiative, we are showcasing some of their projects with the hope that they inspire you, too.

From its inception in 2006, the Caterpillar Inc.** Pro Bono Program in Nashville has covered a spectrum of legal matters from researching social security laws in the U.S. to inheritance rights in Kenya; from assisting young immigrants with their deferred action immigration paperwork to helping the elderly and indigent through our simple wills and powers of attorney clinics.

Our longest standing partnership has been with Renewal House, a local nonprofit that provides residential and non-residential treatment programs to women with drug and alcohol addictions. In the residential program, if the mother has custody, her young children may reside with her as she goes through the recovery programs. Over the last 10 years, we have provided a wide variety of legal services to Renewal House and its residents.

As a group, we’ve conducted many simple wills and powers of attorney clinics. In small teams or individually, we’ve been involved in divorce/custody/name change/visitation/child support matters, subpoena matters, worked on their document retention policy, an employee manual as well as a grantcaterpillar application. In addition to conducting document and contract reviews, we have amended their bylaws.

Our pro bono efforts have had a profound impact on Renewal House in that by providing assistance to the struggling mothers we have given them stepping stones to rebuild confidence in their future and to the organization itself, by providing a multitude of free legal services to the nonprofit. In return, Renewal House has given us a sense of accomplishment as we feel that in some small way, we’ve helped make a difference in the lives of the women.

Yvonne Clemence is a paralegal in Caterpillar Inc.’s Legal Services Division and the coordinator of its Nashville Pro Bono Program.  Michael G. Sposato is a Deputy General Counsel in Caterpillar Inc.’s Legal Services Division and its Pro Bono Committee Chair.

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory