The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Corporate Pro Bono

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

 

October 25, 2016

Guest Blog: Review-A-Rama Takes Off: UHG and CVLC Mobilize Volunteers for Vets

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.

Legal communities across the country are turning toward unbundled legal services to improve access to justice. In 2015, inspired by this trend and by the possibilities of expanding justice for Connecticut’s disabled veterans, UnitedHealth Group** (UHG) and The Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) launched Review-a-Rama, a model for limited-scope pro bono assistance by in-house legal staff.

UHG and CVLC are now mid-way through the third round of Review-a-Rama. More than 170 UHG law department employees from across 26 states pledged to review over 30,000 pages of veteran medical and military files between Memorial Day and Veterans Day 2016. With this major effort underway, we can now report on our successes and lessons learned thus far.

The Solution to a Tremendous Need

In designing Review-a-Rama, CVLC and UHG sought to alleviate a bottleneck in CVLC’s workflow while also providing short-term volunteer opportunities for employees in UHG’s legal department, including paralegal and administrative staff. The Review-a-Rama project model allows CVLC attorneys to more efficiently handle cases that require the time-consuming review of very large medical and military files by engaging UHG employees to handle those initial reviews. Single files can number more than 1,000 pages apiece and take hours to review carefully for pertinent evidence.

UHG employees go through a training program with CVLC on how to conduct their reviews and CVLC shares file-specific instructions on what types of information to look for in each case. The more detailed the instructions for each file, the more equipped volunteers are to have a productive volunteer experience.

When they receive their file, UHG volunteers read the documents and parse out important content. Volunteers then summarize the content for CVLC attorneys, creating an evidentiary timeline with page references to the primary source material. Volunteers send the evidentiary timelines back to CVLC attorneys, who use them to provide faster turnaround on case merit assessments, client advisements, and brief writing.

The Right Match

Review-a-Rama works because it strikes the right note between providing an important service to CVLC’s clients and harnessing the energy, skills, and generosity of a large group of UHG volunteers. Engaging volunteers for unbundled document review provides a significant service to CVLC’s clients.

Review-a-Rama not only requires the time and attention of the UHG volunteers who review files, it also requires a significant collaborative planning effort by UHG project leads Denise Zamore, Eric Greenberg, and Emily Robakiewicz. Frequent, regular phone calls between UHG and CVLC allowed the team to brainstorm creative ideas and anticipate challenges together as the project expanded.

UHG Deputy General Counsel and Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair Brian DuPerre, who has been an active part of the project team said, “It’s been exciting to see this concept grow from a local pilot program with 27 participants to a national pro bono project open to all of our 1,300 plus law department colleagues across the country. To have 13 percent of our law department volunteering their skills on a single project is unprecedented since we have staff in nearly every corner of the country.” When we think about why this program has been so successful we reflect on the lessons learned. DuPerre added, “A key lesson for us has been to keep this simple, effective and efficient by permitting volunteers to pick their commitment level as well as the time period in which to complete their tasks.”

CVLC Executive Director Margaret Middleton describes the culture of the partnership. “We are really grateful to the UHG team for helping us figure out how to make this novel idea work,” Middleton said. “This was a collaborative brainstorm. It’s great when you have a corporate partner who is open to reviewing and enhancing the process with you.”  Trying out ideas, making changes to improve the process with each iteration, and the importance of open communication have all been instrumental qualities of this partnership and have set the stage for Review-a-Rama’s success.

The Bottom Line

UHG’s epic effort in Review-a-Rama has helped CVLC achieve its mission. For clients of CVLC, legal services can mean the difference between stable housing, accessible healthcare, and a steady income – or living on the street. CVLC’s mission is to assist veterans recovering from homelessness and mental illness in removing barriers to health, housing, and income.

CVLC’s attorneys appreciate the help in providing more efficient services to clients. CVLC Senior Counsel Christy Fischer expressed her gratitude saying, “Review-A-Rama has been a wonderful expansion of CVLC’s ability to assist veterans. The RAR teams have allowed CVLC staff attorneys to timely review numerous files. The additional eyes on the case have proved invaluable.”

The size and scope of the volunteer engagement in Review-a-Rama reflects a willingness and desire on the part of UHG employees to provide meaningful assistance to veterans. As one volunteer said, “I am thankful for this opportunity to assist the State of Connecticut and our Veterans.” In order to serve veterans who have served us, it seems fitting to honor Connecticut’s by mobilizing a small army of volunteers.

Millie VandenBroek is the Howard R. Udell Staff Attorney and Cara Cancelmo is the Director of Development and Communications at Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

October 11, 2016

Guest Blog: Partnering in Chicago to Make a Difference

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.

For more than two years, Discoverdiscover-quote Financial Services** volunteers have joined with DLA Piper*† and LAF, a Chicago legal services provider, to host a free legal services clinic in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. The monthly clinic began in 2009 in response to the critical, unmet legal needs many low-income families in the area face, including housing and landlord tenant issues, public benefits, child support, and expungement of criminal records.  Since its inception, the Woodlawn Legal Clinic has served over 1,000 low-income clients living in the underserved South Side of Chicago.

In 2013, Discover’s pro bono committee was introduced to DLA Piper and LAF and jumped at the opportunity to become involved in their efforts. Since first attending the clinic, more than 20 Discover lawyers and 10 non-lawyers have spent in excess of 200 cumulative hours volunteering.

So far in 2016, Discover attorneys, paralegals, and interns have volunteered at the Woodlawn Legal Clinic six times and participated in more than 20 other pro bono events and projects. Here is what one of our lawyers had to say about Discover’s pro bono program: “I am very proud to be part of a company and a Law Department that so strongly values and supports my participation in pro bono activities.” My sentiments exactly.

Gary Wachtel is a Director in Discover Financial Services’ Law Department and its Pro Bono Committee Chair.

† 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

October 10, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Our offices are closed today, but it is still pro bono podcast Monday. 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 Jeseñia Brown of Lowenstein Sandler*†. Jeseñia talks to us about the firm’s pro bono program, her background and career, “Pro Bono in the Park,” and more. Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

 

cpbo-podcast-box-1400-dclListen to Susie Lees, executive vice president and general counsel of Allstate Insurance Company**, discuss her career, the company’s commitment to be a force for good, and the department’s various pro bono efforts. 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

 

 

October 4, 2016

A Month of the CLO & Pro Bono Series

Interested in the world of in-house pro bono? We’ve createdcpbo-podcast-box-1400-dcl a brand new podcast just for you! PBI’s newest podcast series, the CLO & Pro Bono Series has been on air for a month, featuring the following chief legal officers of Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories discussing the importance of pro bono and equal access to justice:

  • Craig Silliman, Executive Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel of Verizon Communications**. Silliman shares highlights from his department’s pro bono efforts and why he is passionate about access to justice.
  • Michael Holston, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck & Co., Inc.**. Holston provides insight into Merck’s pro bono program and shares why being a CPBO Challenge® signatory is important, as well as how the Merck Foundation supports the legal department’s pro bono partners.
  • Marcus Brown, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Entergy Corporation**. Brown talks about the dramatic growth of Entergy’s pro bono program and the development of the Self Help Resource Center which has served nearly 8,000 individuals in just three years.
  • Alex Dimitrief, general counsel and senior vice president for General Electric Company** and his colleague Kate O’Leary, global executive litigation counsel and head of GE’s pro bono coordinating committee. Dimitrief and O’Leary discuss GE’s pro bono program, its pro bono efforts around the world, Dimitrief’s goal of 100% participation, and much more.

Wish you could know the second a new podcast comes out?  Then subscribe to the CLO & Pro Bono Series Podcast in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Yes? Thank you! No? Would you consider doing it now? The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to episodes can be found here. Join the conversation today!

We’re still learning, so listen along and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to CPBO.

† 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

 

October 3, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

meangirlsblogIn the movie “Mean Girls”, on October 3rd, Aaron Samuels asked Cady Heron what day it was. Today, her answer would be, it’s pro bono podcast Monday! 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 new podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and equal access to justice.

Podcast Box LFPDon’t miss our recent interview with Marcia Tavares Maack of Mayer Brown*†.  Marcia talks to us  about the firm’s pro bono program, keys to pro bono success, innovative pro bono projects, her career, and more. Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

cpbo-podcast-box-1400-dclTune into CLO & Pro Bono Series to listen to insightful discussions with chief legal officers of Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories about the pro bono efforts at their departments and how they are working to improve access to justice. New and past episodes can be found on iTunes and YouTube.

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

September 26, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Leaves are falling, the PBI Podcast Network is calling. 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 new podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and equal access to justice.

Podcast Box LFPDon’t miss our recent interview with George Kendall of Squire Patton Boggs, one of the leading death penalty and indigent criminal defense lawyers in the United States. Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

 

cpbo-podcast-box-1400-dclMarcus Brown, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Entergy Corporation** talks about the dramatic growth of Entergy’s pro bono program and the development of the Self Help Resource Center which has served nearly 8,000 individuals in just three years. Entergy and its partners will be receiving the 2016 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award at the PBI Annual Dinner for their work on this project.  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 member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

September 20, 2016

Guest Blog: Boston Scientific Makes an Impact

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.

At Boston Scientific Corporation**, a global medicalboston-scientific-logo device company dedicated to transforming patient lives through innovative medical solutions, one of our credos is “Everyone Makes an Impact.” This statement rings true not only with respect to the company’s commitment to patient care but its philosophy on corporate citizenship, including contributions made through its pro bono program. Although Boston Scientific’s pro bono program is relatively young, it has already made a meaningful impact in its surrounding communities.

Boston Scientific’s legal department historically participated in pro bono activities, but in 2014, Tim Pratt, Boston Scientific’s Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary, decided he wanted to do more. That year, Pratt commissioned the establishment of a pro bono committee to lay the foundation of a formal pro bono program within the company and signed Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® statement.  As noted by Pratt, “We are privileged to be members of this extraordinary legal profession, and we must never forget what inspired us to join it—the opportunity to help others in need.  In no group is that more important than for those who can’t help themselves because of their life circumstances or other challenges.  For them, we must be there to provide legal services, not just because it makes us feel good about ourselves, but also because it’s the right thing to do.  I exhort my lawyers to make an impact by engaging in pro bono activities.  It’s part of our Company’s mission of helping others.”

Since that time, the pro bono program has matured and developed several meaningful partnerships with various nonprofits and law firm partners located near our principal U.S. office locations in California, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. In California, Boston Scientific partners with the Alliance for Children’s Rights to provide legal assistance to children in need, including guardianship and immigration cases. In Massachusetts, where the company is headquartered, Boston Scientific is an annual participant in the Clinic in a Box® program co-sponsored by CPBO, the Northeast ACC Chapter, the Lawyers Clearinghouse, and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo†*.  Boston Scientific also staffs legal clinics for the homeless sponsored by Lawyers Clearinghouse and has partnered with the Victim Rights Law Center, the first nonprofit legal center dedicated to providing legal representation to victims of rape and sexual assault. In Minnesota, the company partners with Faegre Baker Daniels†* to staff the Hennepin County Conciliation Court Clinic, which provides information and counseling services to pro se litigants.

Boston Scientific is happy to be one of many corporate legal departments giving back to their communities. Whether you have a large or small legal department, getting involved in pro bono is easy. CPBO has a variety of resources available to help you as well as information on the CPBO Challenge® initiative. Every pro bono hour contributed makes an impact!

Thank you, Boston Scientific Corporation, 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

September 19, 2016

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need an antidote for the Monday blues? 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 new podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and equal access to justice.

DoPodcast Box LFPn’t miss our recent interview with Josh Toll of King & Spalding*†. Josh talks to us about his career, the firm’s pro bono program, his pro bono role models, and more. Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes or YouTube for more episodes!

 

cpbo-podcast-box-1400-dclListen to Michael Holston, executive vice president and general counsel of Merck & Co., Inc.**, provide insight into Merck’s pro bono program and share why being a CPBO Challenge® signatory is important.  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® (Washington, D.C. office only)
† denotes a member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

September 13, 2016

You’re Invited: “Chief Legal Officers on the Intersection of Pro Bono and CSR” at the ACC Annual Meeting

ACC-AM-16The 2016 ACC Annual Meeting is only a month away! As The PBEye has reported previously, there will be a number of in-house pro bono-related events, including the session “Chief Legal Officers on the Intersection of Pro Bono and Corporate Social Responsibility” (Tuesday, October 18, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm). PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon will lead an interactive discussion with the following general counsel to explore the intersection of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and pro bono, with a particular focus on how legal department leaders can develop pro bono programs to complement their companies’ CSR efforts and increase impact:

  • Susan Lees, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Allstate Insurance Company**
  • Amy Weaver, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Salesforce.com, Inc.**

In addition, don’t forget to register for the Clinic in a Box® Program – Nonprofit Employment Policies (Monday, October 17, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm) and the pro bono breakfast (Tuesday, October 18, 7:45 am – 9:00 am) with CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon.

To find out more about in-house pro bono, stop by CPBO’s Booth #618 in the Exhibit Hall, or contact CPBO at cpbo@probonoinst.org. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

 

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory