The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It


January 12, 2017

New to Law Firm Pro Bono?

Has your firm, of more than 50 lawyers, recently created or restructured a formal pro bono program? Is your firm planning to do so in 2017? Are you a newly appointed managing partner, practice group or office leader, pro bono committee chair or member, pro bono partner, counsel, director, manager, or coordinator? If so, join us bright and early on March 8 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2017 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 introduce attendees to the resources and support available from the Project year round and to provide participants individualized tips for navigating the Conference in order to maximize the experience. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees.

Pre-registration is required for this program. If you have any questions about the Conference, or need assistance with registration, please email or call 202.370.6770.

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


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.

August 24, 2016

Meet the 2016 PBI Annual Dinner Co-Chairs

Join the 2016 Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner Co-Chairs for one of the legal profession’s most celebrated events of the year. The 2016 PBI Annual Dinner, Celebrate Achievements in Pro Bono, will take place on Thursday, November 3, at New York’s historic Gotham Hall.

We are honored to announce this year’s Annual Dinner Co-Chairs:

Michael Fricklas
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
Brad Smith
and Chief Legal Officer
Laura Stein
Executive Vice President – General Counsel and
Corporate Affairs



Meet the Dinner Co-Chairs
June 28, 2016

CPBO at the 2016 ACC Annual Meeting


The PBEye is happy to announce that the CPBO team will be traveling to San Francisco for the 2016 ACC Annual Meeting. At the meeting, held October 16 – 19, you can get your recommended dose of in-house pro bono at the following events:

Clinic in a Box® Program Training  Sunday, October 16, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Is your ACC chapter or legal department interested in co-hosting a Clinic in a Box® program? Join CPBO and be trained to co-host a Clinic in a Box® program, a half-day clinic that provides in-house counsel the opportunity to advise nonprofit organizations or small businesses while earning CLE credit. (Note that registration is required and there is a separate fee to participate in this program.)

Clinic in a Box® Program  Monday, October 17, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Earn CLE credit while providing pro bono services to nonprofit organizations that are in great need of legal assistance. In the first half of the clinic, law firm experts train participants, who during the second half meet in teams with representatives of San Francisco area nonprofits to provide legal advice. Training materials and information about the nonprofit clients are provided to participants in advance. (Note that pre-registration is required to participate.)

Pro Bono Breakfast  Tuesday, October 18, 7:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Meet and network with other in-house counsel interested in pro bono, and learn about pro bono trends and best practices. Please contact CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon in advance if you plan to attend the breakfast.

Session: CLOs on the Intersection of Pro Bono and CSR  Tuesday, October 18, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
A panel of CLOs will lead an interactive session exploring 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.

Meet with CPBO  Sunday, October 16 – Wednesday, October 19 
CPBO looks forward to meeting with attendees when they have free time between programs. If you are interested in discussing with CPBO options and initiatives for yourself, your legal department, or your chapter, please contact CPBO to set up a time that is convenient for you. Or, stop by the CPBO booth in the exhibit hall to see new resources and chat with the CPBO team.

To find out more about the events listed above, please contact CPBO, and for the complete ACC Annual Meeting schedule, click here. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

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