The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Global Pro Bono

April 15, 2016

Upcoming Webinar: Global Due Diligence Manual

Due Diligence Manual Cover

Join us Thursday, May 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET for “Global Due Diligence Manual” a one-hour program hosted in conjunction with West LegalEdCenter.

PBI’s new Global Due Diligence Manual, produced in partnership with several global law firms, is a hands-on guide intended to help you locate, vet, and take on global pro bono opportunities. Join us for a discussion of clearinghouses, major NGO clients, research projects, and more. Learn how the Manual can help you expand your global pro bono program.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Wendy Atrokhov, Latham & Watkins*†
  • Lisa Dewey, DLA Piper *†
  • Lou O’Neill, White & Case*†

Interested in-house counsel should contact CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon for registration information or to submit questions in advance of the program. Registration is free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms. Law firm participants should contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson for registration information.

Schedule conflict? Don’t worry – the program will also be available on-demand shortly after the original broadcast date.

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

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


January 22, 2016

2016 PBI Annual Conference: Addressing a Global Mass Migration Crisis (Pro Bono in Practice)

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. is just two months away, and one of this year’s highlights is a session on mass migration. If you’ve been concerned about the international refugee crisis and wondered what you can do to help, you won’t want to miss it.

Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes by war and persecution — more than at any time since World War II. Half are children. Where are the lawyers? On March 24, the Addressing a Global Mass Migration Crisis (Pro Bono in Practice) session will provide an update on what’s being done to save lives and protect refugees, development, and legal migration and mobility and how pro bono lawyers can help.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference, and save on fees if you do so by February 10th. If you have questions or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720.


December 4, 2015

Justice Center for Legal Aid, Jordan

JordanPBI recently sat down with Hadeel Abdel Aziz, co-founder and executive director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), located in Amman, Jordan. Aziz visited the U.S. this fall as an Eisenhower Fellow and met with Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Taylor and Global Pro Bono Project Coordinator Sri Katragadda to discuss pro bono and access to justice, both in the U.S. and in Jordan.

A nonprofit organization established in 2008, JCLA has grown from one legal aid clinic in Amman into the largest legal aid provider in Jordan, with 25 clinics located across the country. In 2009, JCLA provided legal representation to clients in 78 matters, which grew to 2,477 in 2014. One-on-one legal consultation sessions grew from 141 in 2009 to 4,518 in 2014. Today, JCLA reports that on a monthly basis it assists approximately 375 beneficiaries through legal consultations, provides legal representation to approximately 150 beneficiaries across 200 cases, and reaches approximately 3,600 vulnerable people through its awareness sessions.

JCLA, using both its own attorneys as well as pro bono volunteers, assists poor and vulnerable people by:

  • Raising awareness of legal rights and legal aid;
  • Providing free legal services, through either legal consultation or legal representation; and
  • Gathering data on access to justice barriers and advocating for reforms to overcome such barriers.

We will stay tuned for future developments in Jordan and we wish Aziz and JCLA all the best with their continuing work in providing legal assistance to the needy.

November 24, 2015

Technology and Access to Justice

Technology blogThe PBEye is excited to report on an online tool in the U.K. called CourtNav, developed by the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau (RCJ Advice) in partnership with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer†. Employing a user-friendly design with simple step-by-step questions, CourtNav helps clients who cannot afford a lawyer complete forms and navigate the court process.

RCJ Advice first triages clients by phone to determine whether someone needs face-to-face advice or can be assisted through CourtNav, which has a number of helpful features — it can spot inconsistent answers, identify whether the client qualifies for reduced court fees, and summarize current status within the court process. The tool also allows the client to communicate with a solicitor to finalize documents before printing, signing, and submitting them in court.

CourtNav is a commendable example of technology not only providing self-help guidance, but also enabling distance pro bono, allowing lawyers in the greater London area to assist clients in remote areas.

Exploring this innovative tool also gives The PBEye another opportunity to ponder “disruptive” pro bono. How should we think about making pro bono more efficient, incorporating new technologies, and developing effective triage systems?

RCJ Advice’s approach to screening clients to determine which matters are most in need of legal representation versus those well-suited to CourtNav appears to be a promising example of leveraging pro bono resources efficiently. We commend Freshfields and RCJ Advice on this exciting example of triage, technology, self-help, and distance pro bono!

 denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

August 26, 2015

Partnership Develops Tools to Aid Judges in South Asia

s asia

South Asia has suffered from a significant amount of terrorist violence over the years. For example, 38 percent of terrorist incidents in 2013 occurred in South Asia, according to the Global Center on Cooperative Security. In 2014, according to the U.S. State Department, more than 60 percent of terrorist attacks took place in just five countries (Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria), of which three are in South Asia; nearly 6,700 people died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India that year.

In recognition of the need to build expertise in the adjudication of terrorism-related cases, the Global Center and the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) launched a project to engage South Asian judges to develop strategies to improve the handling of such cases. One of the project’s goals was the development of a regional toolkit to help guide judges in their adjudication of such cases, which could in turn support the development of national bench books.

Pro bono lawyers from** and Salesforce Foundation, in partnership with Baker & McKenzie*†, rose to the challenge of preparing such a regional toolkit.

When Salesforce began its pro bono program in 2014, it was eager to find a global project that could be done by its lawyers around the world. Drafting this regional toolkit fit the bill, and partnering with a global law firm like Baker & McKenzie allowed Salesforce to match up its lawyers with nearby law firm lawyers in different offices. Teams in Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York contributed to the creation of this toolkit, which was recently submitted to the Global Center and CTED. The toolkit is practice-oriented and follows customary international and human rights law and norms relating to court proceedings for terrorism offenses. It is expected to be discussed at the 10th “Regional Workshop for Judges, Prosecutors, and Police in South Asia on Effectively Countering Terrorism” in Bangkok this October and may ultimately be used as a template for judges and judicial academies in other regions as well.

This project is the latest example of how partnerships in pro bono, particularly on a global scale, can provide meaningful assistance on important issues. The PBEye salutes Salesforce and Baker & McKenzie on a job well done.

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

June 17, 2015

Liberia, the Magna Carta, and the Rule of Law

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On June 15, thousands of people from around the world descended on a field in Runnymede in the United Kingdom to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Although the Magna Carta was not the first time a monarch agreed to respect the rights and liberties of others, it went on to become an icon for the revolutionary concepts of due process and the rule of law. As British Prime Minister David Cameron noted at the commemoration, “Think of South Africa – of that courtroom in Rivonia. As Nelson Mandela stood in the dock, looking at a lifetime in prison, it was Magna Carta that he cited.”

How can pro bono attorneys contribute to the vision being discussed and celebrated this week? One answer is rule of law themed pro bono projects, particularly in post-conflict countries. A noteworthy example is a recently completed project in Liberia, in which Thomson Reuters Corporation** teamed up with Linklaters*†‡ and the nonprofit organization Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB).

As the country struggled to recover from the political upheaval and civil wars that occurred under former president Charles Taylor, Liberia’s legal system was additionally challenged by a lack of access to case law precedent in a readily usable format. To remedy this, LWOB secured seed project underwriting from the World Bank, publishing support from Thomson Reuters, and volunteer lawyers from Linklaters to produce a digest of case summaries and key-word index of over 3,700 Liberian cases beginning in the 1860s. This five-year project involved a cross-disciplinary team of over 200 Linklaters lawyers, trainees, and summer associates, from offices in New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, and Paris. Thomson Reuters Corporation helped organize the case digest structure and printed hard copies of the digest and index; these have now been provided to every judge in Liberia. Making such information readily available in a meaningful way should help improve the efficacy and consistency of legal governance in Liberia, although electricity and internet connectivity issues have delayed the longer-term goal of making the digest and index available online.

The work of the Magna Carta is not yet done. But pro bono attorneys and other legal professionals are working to realize its vision in Liberia and elsewhere: a world governed by the rule of law. We will stay tuned!

* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
 denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
New York office only participating in Challenge

May 15, 2015

Slave Labor in Australia


According to the International Labour Organization’s 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labour, there were an estimated 20.9 million people in forced labor around the world at any given point between 2002 and 2012. The majority of those individuals, 68 percent (14.2 million), were forced to work by private individuals or enterprise in activities such as agriculture, construction, domestic work, and manufacturing. In Australia, most investigations of forced labor have related to sexual exploitation. However, in March of this year, one victim of labor exploitation secured restitution, thanks to the help of pro bono counsel from Clayton Utz.

On March 27, the Australian Federal Circuit Court found that Mr. Dulo Ram, a 45-year-old Indian native, had been trafficked from rural India to an Indian restaurant in suburban Sydney by the restaurant’s owner. The owner lured Ram with the promise of a 457 visa, which is intended to create opportunities for temporary migrant workers in Australia. With no command of English nor contacts in Australia, Ram was forced to work as a cook for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. After working this pace for 16 months, with just one day off, Ram was paid just AUD$6,958.88. He also lived, ate, bathed, and slept in the restaurant kitchen. According to Ram, the owner threatened to harm his family and have him arrested if he returned to India.

Pro bono attorneys from Clayton Utz, working in partnership with Anti-Slavery Australia, a legal research and policy center focused on the abolition of slavery, trafficking, and labor exploitation, agreed to assist Ram in securing his missing wages. After three years of pro bono representation, the team secured a judgment awarding Ram AUD$186,000 in back-pay, entitlements, and interest.

David Hillard, partner, Clayton Utz, who led the team representing Ram, commented:

 “This is happening right now, in our community, under our noses. This case shows that there are avenues for obtaining justice for the victims of labour trafficking and slavery. Compensation will not erase the demeaning, degrading experience which our client has endured, but it does say plainly that what happened to him was wrong, and cannot be tolerated under Australian law.”

In Ram’s case, pro bono counsel played an indispensable role in overcoming logjams. Although the restaurant had been visited by the Department of Immigration, and Ram had complained to the Fair Work Ombudsman, in both cases the restaurant owner used lies and falsified wage records to undermine allegations of wrongdoing. Through pro bono representation, Ram was able to expose the documents provided by the restaurant owner as a sham.

The PBEye is happy to note that Ram has been granted a permanent witness protection (trafficking) visa to remain in Australia with his family. We applaud the work of dedicated pro bono attorneys, in Australia and around the world, who are fighting for justice for the survivors of human trafficking.

May 8, 2015

Upcoming Webinar: Integrating Pro Bono, CSR, and Charitable Giving

Puzzles 2

Join us Thursday, May 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET for “Best Practices: Integrating Pro Bono, CSR, and Charitable Giving,” a one-hour program hosted in conjunction with West LegalEdCenter. This program is part of our “Best of the 2015 PBI Annual Conference” series of webinars, which reprise and supplement select sessions from the 2015 PBI Annual Conference.

Increasingly, law firms and companies are taking a fresh look at how their pro bono activities can be integrated with or complement their charitable contribution practices and corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. This webinar will consider best practices for approaching, integrating, and managing these efforts in order to make a greater impact than any one alone can accomplish. The following panelists will address some of the potential benefits of integration, such as enhanced employee satisfaction, as well as potential concerns:

  • Jinny Jeong, CECP
  • Jake Lee, Allen & Overy†
  • Allegra Nethery, Seyfarth Shaw*
  • Sharon Sayles Belton, Thomson Reuters Corporation**

Interested in-house counsel should contact CPBO Project Assistant Josh Lefebvre for registration information or to submit questions in advance of the program. Registration is free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms. Law firm participants should contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson for registration information.

Schedule conflict? Don’t worry – the program will also be available on-demand shortly after the original broadcast date.

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


February 20, 2015

Sharing Perspectives: Visitors from the Philippines

Pic2Earlier this month, PBI and CPBO were honored to welcome a delegation from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, in a trip organized by the U.S. State Department. The delegation, composed primarily of Filipino law student leaders, came to exchange views on the development of pro bono structures, culture, and leadership. The group sat down with Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Taylor, CPBO Director Eve Runyon, and Global Pro Bono Coordinator Sri Katragadda.

Two of the non-law students in the delegation: Eldred Cole, deputy regional prosecutor of Dumaguete City and Rhobert Maestre, president of the Mindanao Youth Volunteer Corps, provided details on the country’s mandatory 60 hour annual pro bono requirement and a brief look at the country’s legal profession. Both voiced an eagerness to advance the culture of pro bono and noted that this would ultimately be accomplished by involving the next generation of lawyers; hence the group’s heavy composition of law students. We were inspired by the thoughtful questions of these students, including law school clinic leaders, who are passionate about enhancing the profile of pro bono within the Filipino legal sector. For our part, PBI and CPBO discussed the history of pro bono development in the U.S. We noted that development of pro bono can be seen as both cultural — a growing expectation that pro bono is a normal part of an attorney’s practice — as well as structural — the institutional development of pro bono programs.

Stay tuned for more pro bono developments in the Philippines from our new friends.


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