The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Annual Conference

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.

December 8, 2016

2017 Pro Bono Expo

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on March 8-10 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., is around the corner. In addition to thought-provoking and inspiring sessions and programs, we are excited about the popular Pro Bono Expo. 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. This year’s Expo and happy hour will take place from 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on March 9. We hope to see you there.

Are there any particular organizations or topics you would like to see represented at the Expo? Would your public interest legal services organization like to apply to host a table? Space is limited, so please email Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant, Elysse DeRita soon with your suggestions or for more information. If you have questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please or call 202.370.6770.


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,, 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 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.


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


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


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.