The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Annual Conference

February 26, 2015

Lunch and Learn at the Pro Bono Expo

Expo picThe 2015 PBI Annual Conference is less than a week away and The PBEye is excited to provide a sneak peek of the public interest organizations that will be featured at the Pro Bono Expo Lunch on Thursday, March 5. We have a record-number of prominent table hosts this year, and their expert representatives will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations; answer questions; and provide information about cutting edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. This is a unique time to network, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop new pro bono initiatives.

Among the organizations hosting tables next Thursday are:

Center for Reproductive Rights

Children’s Law Center

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles

Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston

Public Interest Law Initiative

We’ll also have tables dedicated to discussing the “state of pro bono” in Australia, Brazil, and Singapore. If you have questions about the Conference, please email us or call 202.973.8720. We hope to see you soon!

February 19, 2015

Conference Sneak Peek: Criminal Justice

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The 2015 PBI Annual Conference is quickly approaching and one of this year’s highlights is a session about criminal justice. Although much of the Conference is built around peer-to-peer learning, we have expert-led sessions as well. “Pro Bono in Practice” sessions bring together those involved in a particular substantive area of public interest practice to explore the status of available pro bono opportunities, strategic approaches, opportunities for collaboration, and how to get started.

Pro Bono in Practice: Criminal Justice will be moderated by Lisa Borden of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz*†, who is a leader in addressing the issue of criminal justice debt. The panel will also feature two experts from prominent public interest organizations. Nancy Anderson will join us from Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which has led the recruitment of large law to participate in the Clemency Project. Rounding out the panel is Lauren-Brooke Eisen of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, which works to improve the criminal justice system, focusing on issues such as reducing mass incarceration and ensuring racial equality.

Join us on March 5 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. to learn about critical legal issues of the day related to criminal justice and how pro bono volunteers can get involved and make a difference. If you have questions, please send us an email. We look forward to seeing you soon!

* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®

denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

February 12, 2015

Welcome to Law Firm Pro Bono!

lf101Has your firm, of more than 50 lawyers, recently created or restructured a formal pro bono program? Is your firm planning to do so in 2015? Are you a newly-appointed managing partner, practice group or office leader, pro bono committee chair or member, pro bono counsel, partner, director, manager, or coordinator? If so, join us bright and early on March 4 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2015 PBI Annual Conference.

We know that leading a law firm pro bono program can be overwhelming, particularly when you are relatively new to the position or if the program is undergoing a reboot, and we are here to help! Law Firm Pro Bono 101 offers a crash course on the basics of structuring, implementing, and administering successful law firm pro bono programs. Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members will also be available to provide participants individualized tips for navigating the Conference in order to maximize the experience, and introduce attendees to the resources and support available from the Project all year round. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees.

This year, we are offering Law Firm Pro Bono 101 at no extra charge. Pre-registration is required for this program, so please email PBIevents@courtesyassoc.com or call 202.973.8720 to enroll or to confirm your registration status.

Don’t miss out on this popular session. We hope to see you there!

February 4, 2015

2015 PBI Annual Conference: In-House Pro Bono: Growing Your In-House Pro Bono Program

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Are you headed to this year’s PBI Annual Conference to be held March 4-6 in Washington, D.C.? For in-house counsel and other legal department staff, this year’s programming kicks off on the morning of March 4. The programming carries a broad appeal, with topics ranging from developing programs to those whose programs are more mature. One such in-house specific session has been designed for those who are looking to bring their pro bono program to the next level:

In-House Pro Bono: Growing Your In-House Pro Bono Program4:15 – 6:00 pm
You successfully launched your in-house pro bono program. What comes next? This session will consider new opportunities for in-house pro bono programs, addressing common challenges in-house departments encounter as they move beyond the start-up phase to growing their departments’ pro bono programs, and offering new solutions on how to overcome them.

This session is just one of many in a full day of in-house specific programming. Other sessions for the day include topics on starting or reviving a pro bono program as well as how legal departments can influence pro bono developments outside their own company environment. If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference. To learn more about other sessions, please view the in-house agenda. If you have questions, please feel free to send us an e-mail. We hope to see you there!

February 3, 2015

Why Attend the PBI Annual Conference?

The 2015 PBI Annual Conference (March 4-6) is the premier pro bono event of the year, connecting law firm and in-house leaders as well as public interest and legal services pro bono professionals, to learn and share the best and latest information on pro bono! Take a listen as some of the top leaders in legal pro bono explain why they come to the Conference.

We hope to see you there!

January 29, 2015

Don’t Miss the Expo Lunch!

lunchThe 2015 PBI Annual Conference is rapidly approaching and The PBEye is excited to provide a sneak peek of the public interest organizations that will be featured at the Pro Bono Expo Lunch on Thursday, March 5. A record-number of prominent organizations will be hosting tables, and their expert representatives will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations; answer questions; and provide information about cutting-edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. This is a unique opportunity to network, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop major pro bono initiatives.

Several organizations are hosting tables for the first time this year, including:

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Brooklyn Defender Services

Justice Connect

Start Small Think Big, Inc.

The Public International Law & Policy Group

Register now to take advantage of this opportunity to engage with leaders in the access to justice and pro bono community. If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720. We hope to see you there!

January 15, 2015

Share Your Pro Bono Innovation

We’re gearing up for the 2015 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on March 4-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. One of the perennial highlights of the Conference are the “Marketplace of Ideas” sessions, fast-paced opportunities for presenters to share cutting-edge pro bono projects and for attendees to learn about new opportunities, offerings, infrastructure, and other replicable pro bono developments. Presenters identify real-world legal needs and explain how their projects are successfully addressing them.

Click here to read a summary of the 2014 Marketplace of Ideas presentations, and check out our webinar reprising the 2014 Marketplace session about transactional pro bono.

We invite those wishing to serve as a presenter at a Marketplace of Ideas session to submit a brief proposal describing your initiative so that we can ensure adequate time and capacity for all presentations. Please send submissions to Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson. Due to time limitations, we may not be able to accept all proposals this year.

We look forward to learning more and sharing new ideas and projects at the 2015 PBI Annual Conference! For assistance with Conference registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720.2015AC-Header-Web

December 18, 2014

Expo Lunch: Let’s Eat and Greet!

Planning is well underway for the 2015 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on March 4-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. In addition to thought-provoking and inspiring sessions and programs, we are excited about the ever-popular Pro Bono Expo Lunch. A variety of prominent organizations will be hosting tables, and their expert representatives will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations, answer questions, and provide information about cutting-edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. This is a unique opportunity to network, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop major pro bono initiatives.

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Are there any particular organizations or topics you would like to see represented at the Expo? Please email Law Firm Project Assistant Eva Richardson with your suggestions. If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720.

Mark your calendars – we hope to see you there!

May 29, 2014

Marketplace of Pro Bono Ideas: Part 2

annual conference 2014The 2014 PBI Annual Conference featured three dynamic “Marketplace of Ideas” sessions, during which participants shared information on cutting-edge pro bono projects and attendees learned about new opportunities, offerings, infrastructure, and other creative and replicable pro bono developments.

The PBEye reported last week on some of the global projects featured during these sessions. Here are two more of the innovative projects that were highlighted:

Crime Victim Rights Advocacy
Heidi Naasko from Dykema Gossett*† described her experience advocating for the rights of crime victims and shined a spotlight on an area ripe for pro bono development. Under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, victims in federal criminal cases have various rights, such as the right to protection from the accused, the right to attend proceedings, and the right to restitution. While representing a group of Central American children involved in human trafficking, Naasko fought to ensure that her clients could be present at the sentencing of their trafficker and that they received restitution. Pro bono attorneys are vital in these cases because other players in the justice system may not properly defend the rights of a victim, or even be aware of them. Additionally, crime victims need attorneys who can take into consideration the depth of their losses and protect their interests with appropriate sensitivity.

In addition to being personally rewarding, representing victims offers tremendous professional development opportunities for litigators. Potential cases can be found through the courts or the National Crime Victim Law Institute.

Name Change Project
Michael Silverman discussed the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund’s (TLDEF) innovative Name Change Project, which helps transgender people overcome the legal obstacles to securing a name change. For many transgender people, obtaining a legal name change is an important step toward making their legal identities match lived experience, but interaction with the court system and judges is a foreign and intimidating experience for many people. A lack of appropriate identity documents can deter people from applying for jobs, school, and public benefits, and can lead to discrimination. By providing eligible individuals with pro bono legal representation, the Project ensures that clients can successfully complete the process and move forward with their lives.

While the initiative was small in scale at first, more than 30 law firms and legal departments are now involved. The work is an attractive pro bono opportunity for many lawyers, both litigators and non-litigators, since it is a time-limited commitment. The Project is currently expanding beyond New York to Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

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Check out the full recap of the 2014 Marketplace of Ideas sessions in the May 2014 edition of The Pro Bono Wire! We look forward to learning more and sharing other replicable ideas and projects at the 2015 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 4-6.

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

May 21, 2014

2014 Pro Bono Marketplace of Ideas: Global

The 2014 PBI Annual Conference featured three fast-paced “Marketplace of Ideas” sessions, including one dedicated to global pro bono projects. During these sessions, participants shared experiences and attendees learned about new opportunities, offerings, and other global pro bono developments.

The PBEye is pleased to share these ideas with the hope that they may serve to guide and inspire others to think creatively, strategically, and collaboratively about future pro bono projects. A few of the projects featured include:

Submissions to U.N. on Behalf of Nonprofits

Dianne Heins of Faegre Baker Daniels*† discussed her firm’s work in bringing international attention to human rights issues through submissions of human rights reports at the U.N. The goal is to expand the capacity of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advocate at the U.N. on these issues.

Faegre works with civil society groups to help prepare and submit a stakeholders report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. This report informs a dialogue in which Council members question the country’s representatives on their human rights record.

In addition, Faegre recently submitted three reports on Cameroon in connection with its review under The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

International Legal Network

Anne-Françoise Meeùs discussed her role as coordinator of the International Legal Network (ILN) of Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF). ASF has changed its focus from direct pro bono representation of individual clients in Africa to capacity-building of local NGOs so they can provide quality legal services to serve local needs. ILN projects involve lawyers in larger ongoing ASF projects. It’s not just a case of participating in a one-time training but rather a training event that continues through a larger project financed by institutional donors such as UKAID, USAID, or EU.

Genocide Prevention and Holocaust-Looted Art

Owen Pell of White & Case*† discussed several pro bono projects he has been working on in genocide prevention and Holocaust-looted property, particularly art. Pell described the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), the main organization recognized by the U.N. for genocide prevention.

Pell noted that Holocaust looting, including Holocaust-looted art, is an area where pro bono lawyers can make a big difference. His work has included proposals for title-clearing and a dispute resolution entity to address claims relating to Holocaust-looted art.

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Look out for more information on other innovative pro bono projects featured during our Marketplace of Ideas session in the May edition of The Pro Bono Wire! We look forward to learning more and sharing other replicable ideas and projects at the 2015 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 4-6. We invite those wishing to serve as presenters to submit brief proposals in advance describing their initiatives to ensure adequate planning and capacity. Please send submissions to Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Taylor (due to time limitations, we may not be able to accept all proposals).

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

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