The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Annual Conference

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

 

September 8, 2016

Call for Ideas

confPlanning is well underway for the 2017 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on March 8 – 10 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. Some 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 2016 Marketplace of Ideas presentations.

Interested in serving as a presenter? We invite you 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 Elysse DeRita. 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 2017 PBI Annual Conference.

May 26, 2016

Pro Bono Summer Reading

Interested in a good read for the upcoming long weekend? In the past, our suggestions have ranged from best-sellers to classics to autobiographies to multi-part, investigative series. Earlier this year, we were fortunate to spend time with our friend Dr. Larry Richard as we worked together to prepare for his incredible session at the 2016 PBI Annual Conference. During our discussions, he offered tips for further learning and we, in turn, are recommending one of those books: Influence, by Robert Cialdini, which explores the factors that lead a person to say “yes” to another’s request.

Written in a narrative style combined with scholarly research, the book is a practical and accessible refresher as to “why lawyers volunteer” and an introduction to new ways of thinking that could help with pro bono recruitment efforts. Cialdini explains the ways in which we become persuaded and shares techniques based on psychological principles that guide human behavior. During his session, Dr. Richard taught us about many of these principles, including “social proof,” which is the phenomenon where people adopt the actions of others, in any given situation, in an attempt to reflect correct behavior. In other words, the bandwagon effect exists and laugh tracks work. If you have any doubts, watch this classic Candid Camera prank from 1962 about group pressure:

 

We have long advocated that law firms should leverage “peer pressure” as a force for good. The dictates of group norms are powerful and having visible pro bono role models leads to more lawyers doing more and better pro bono. Influence is an easy and thought-provoking read. We hope you’ll use the lessons learned to improve your outreach, increase participation, and grow your pro bono program.

May 19, 2016

Marketplace of Pro Bono Ideas

Marketplace of Pro Bono Ideas--March 15The 2016 PBI Annual Conference featured a dynamic “Marketplace of Ideas” session, during which attendees learned about new opportunities, infrastructure, and other creative and replicable pro bono developments and projects.

The PBEye is pleased to share these ideas with the hope that they may guide and inspire you to think creatively, strategically, and collaboratively about future pro bono initiatives:

Access to Justice Fellows Program

Sue Finegan of Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo*† described the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission’s Access to Justice Fellows Program, which gives experienced attorneys who have retired or are transitioning into retirement a structured opportunity to work for a year (or longer) at nonprofit organizations, legal service providers, or courts to provide critical pro bono assistance to underserved populations. With the goal of leveraging the capacity and expertise of the growing number of lawyers nearing retirement, the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission launched a pilot program in 2012 with seven fellows. Since then, the program has continued to expand: to date, there have been 55 fellows, including 19 current fellows, who have provided more than 45,000 hours of pro bono assistance to those in need.

Review-A-Rama

Eric Greenberg of UnitedHealth Group Incorporated** and Millie VandenBroek of Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) discussed Review-A-Rama, a collaborative pro bono initiative involving pro bono attorneys and staff from UnitedHealthcare, who review veteran medical and military personnel records. Many of CVLC’s clients have lengthy and complex medical files and the document review process is often excessively time-consuming. By handling much of the record processing and background review, UnitedHealthcare provides valuable assistance to CVLC attorneys and their clients. Review-A-Rama is an effective, time-limited, flexible pro bono model.

The first Review-A-Rama was held in September 2015 for professionals in UnitedHealthcare’s Connecticut office. The program has expanded nationwide and company-wide and planning has already begun for Review-A-Rama 3.0.

Strategic Planning

Monika Varma described the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s recent comprehensive strategic planning effort, which was part of the D.C. Bar’s overall strategic planning process. In order to reassess priorities, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategic objectives, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee created a 19-member task force. The task force used surveys, interviews, and focus groups to collect information from stakeholders about the Pro Bono Center’s strengths and opportunities for growth. This feedback, along with research and analysis of the current legal environment and potential trends, formed the foundation for a strategic plan. In addition to implementing a strategic name change, the Pro Bono Center developed a high-level plan with three goals: (1) increasing the delivery of pro bono legal services in D.C.; (2) providing innovative pro bono leadership; and (3) ensuring long-term financial sustainability and resilience.

***

We look forward to learning more and sharing other replicable ideas and projects at the 2017 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., on March 8-10. If you would like to be a presenter, please submit a brief proposal describing your initiative to Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson. (Due to time and capacity limitations, we may not be able to accept all proposals this year.)

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

March 9, 2016

The State of Pro Bono Around the World, and New Global Resources

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference will offer many new and compelling sessions, including a timely discussion addressing global pro bono and possible obstacles to participation. The State of Pro Bono Around the World (Thursday, March 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) will explore global pro bono practices, including differences in delivery structures, practice rules, national and local legal cultures, and the need for and availability of pro bono matters. Included in the discussion will be two soon-to-be-released resources:

  • the 2016 edition of the Latham & Watkins*† Survey of Pro Bono Practices and Opportunities, and
  • the new Global Due Diligence Manual.

We hope to see you at the session!

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

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March 3, 2016

John Oliver Takes On Voting Rights

 
The presidential primaries are in full swing and The PBEye was pleased to see that John Oliver kicked off season three of Last Week Tonight with a timely segment about voting rights. He took aim at states that have implemented voting restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which weakened the Voting Rights Act. According to Oliver, “Since 2011, seven states have curtailed early voting and 13 have added requirements that voters show some kind of ID at the polls.”

After showing clips of state lawmakers claiming that these new voting requirements are simply common sense measures that will not affect a large number of people, Oliver is quick to point out that there are, in fact, many individuals who do not have identification and that the restrictions disproportionately affect minorities. He then proceeds to dismiss the argument that strict voter identification laws are necessary to combat voter fraud by showing that actual instances of voter impersonation are statistically insignificant.

As we have previously reported, pro bono lawyers are at the forefront of non-partisan legal efforts to ensure that all eligible voters have equal access to the ballot box and to cure legal flaws in the election system, which threaten the accuracy and legitimacy of the voting process. The quickly approaching 2016 PBI Annual Conference will feature a “Pro Bono in Practice” session, The Challenges of Citizenship: Election-Related Pro Bono Opportunities, on Thursday, March 24. Join us for a timely and wide-randing discussion of how pro bono efforts play important roles at all levels of the election protection, voting rights, and reform processes on Election Day and all year round.

As Oliver so aptly stated in his segment, “Voting is a right. If you take it away, you ruin democracy.” Check out the video and we hope to see you at the session.

February 26, 2016

2016 PBI Annual Conference: Revamped In-House Track

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference is right around the corner and, for in-house counsel, it’s shaping up to be an incredible lineup that offers attendees even more sessions than in years past!  This year’s Conference, March 23-25, at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., will feature an in-house track that officially kicks-off for all in-house attendees on Wednesday, March 23 with a plenary session, Managing Risks Related to In-House Pro Bono. Afterward, attendees will have the option to attend the following sessions:

In-House Pro Bono: Communication and Recognition4:15 – 5:15 pm
Legal staff are bombarded constantly with competing information. This session will address ways to break through the noise. Topics will include internal and external messaging, utilizing social media, and recognition efforts that acknowledge, encourage, and inspire pro bono participation.

In-House Pro Bono: Increasing Impact4:15 – 5:15 pm
Formal in-house pro bono programs are becoming more common and sophisticated. This session is designed for those whose departments have longer-term pro bono programs, and will consider how departments can focus on driving participation and engagement while increasing impact in the community. It will include discussion on how legal departments can work together to achieve greater change.

In-House Pro Bono: Expanding Volunteer Engagement5:30 – 6:30 pm
Legal departments are made up of a variety of people – many of whom are not lawyers – and many companies employ lawyers in a number of departments, including compliance, contracts, and claims. Led by pro bono leaders in various roles, attendees at this session will brainstorm ways legal departments can engage volunteers throughout the company in its pro bono efforts.

In-House Pro Bono: Successful Pro Bono Projects, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Panelists will discuss a variety of replicable, successful in-house pro bono projects. This session is designed for attendees leading newer pro bono programs or who are new to their position as pro bono leaders.

For new leaders of existing programs or leaders of new programs, programming begins that morning with In-House Pro Bono: Top Ten Basics from 8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. (pre-registration is required). Wednesday morning will also feature the opportunity for in-house counsel to join their law firm counterparts at the Regional Joint Networking Exchanges (10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.) and Networking Lunch (11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) and to convene informally with one another at the In-House Pro Bono Meet and Greet (1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.).

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 send us an
e-mail.

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February 25, 2016

Mingle and Munch at the Pro Bono Expo

Expo picThe 2016 PBI Annual Conference will be here before we know it and The PBEye is excited to provide a sneak peek of the public interest organizations that will be featured at the Pro Bono Expo on Thursday, March 24. Table hosts 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.

This year, we are introducing a new time (4:00 to 5:15 p.m.) and format to facilitate learning and encourage table-hopping. Click here for a list of organizations that are hosting tables at the Pro Bono Expo.

If you have questions about the Conference, please email us or call 202.973.8720. We hope to see you soon.

February 18, 2016

Why Do Lawyers Volunteer?

LRR photo (s41884cc113985_11)We’re getting excited for the upcoming PBI Annual Conference and we hope you are too. This year, renowned lawyer-psychologist Dr. Larry Richard will lead the closing session on Friday, March 25, exploring why lawyers and staff do pro bono work and how to encourage them to get involved.

Dr. Richard, founder and principal consultant at LawyerBrain LLC, is recognized as the leading expert on the psychology of lawyer behavior and the “lawyer personality.” He has also advised dozens of law firms on leadership, management, and related issues such as teams, change management, talent selection, assessment, and other aspects of strategic talent management. As part of his scholarship, he has gathered personality data on thousands of lawyers.

Dr. Richard presented at the 2012 PBI Annual Conference to rave reviews. Here’s a sample of what attendees had to say:

“Dr. Richard was very entertaining but also had great substance with lots of takeaway information and ideas that are easily applicable to pro bono.”

“His examples were so helpful and so accurate and so relevant to our firms and our work.”

“Great way to end the Conference! Very motivating and interesting.”

“A very unique perspective on motivating attorneys. It was refreshing and insightful.”

Join us on March 25 – you don’t want to miss it. If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720.

February 11, 2016

Conference Sneak Peek: Law Firms Collaborating for Justice

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference is quickly approaching and one of this year’s highlights for law firm attendees is a session about collaborating on large-scale, multi-firm pro bono efforts.

Working Together: A Case Study in Collaborative Law Firm Pro Bono will feature an ambitious multi-firm effort to assist Indian citizens in pursuing claims of labor trafficking. After a federal judge refused to let the Southern Poverty Law Center’s law suit against Signal International, a marine services company that defrauded and exploited workers from India, go forward as a class action, nearly a dozen large law firms agreed to represent individuals on a pro bono basis. We encourage law firm attendees to join us on March 23 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. to learn about issues such as overcoming obstacles to collaboration, including joint ownership versus individual “credit,” disagreements over strategy, maximizing institutional resources and infrastructure while streamlining administration, use of technology, the role of public interest partners, and sustaining interest.

For additional background, check out our interview with John Fleming of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan*† on the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast featuring lively conversations about law firm pro bono, news, and best practices. John, who will be a panelist for the Conference session, discusses how Sutherland got involved, what it was like collaborating with other law firms, and more. You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes and links to all of the episodes can be found here.

If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720. We look forward to seeing you in March!

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

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