The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Law Firm Pro Bono

January 11, 2018

Conference Sneak Peek: Pro Bono in the UK

The 2018 PBI Annual Conference is next month and one of this year’s highlights is a session about pro bono and legal needs in the United Kingdom.

Pro Bono in the UK is designed for law firm attendees who are interested in how to get their UK lawyers involved in pro bono. Join us on February 21, from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., to discuss pro bono opportunities in the United Kingdom. Curious about Brexit?  Vaguely familiar with the Collaborative Plan?  Concerned about legal aid funding in the UK and what that means for unmet legal needs and priorities? This session will explore these questions and more! We are grateful to our panel of experts who will be sharing their experiences and expertise:

Interested in learning more?  Check out episodes of the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast; featuring guests from across the pond:  Rebecca Naylor of Reed Smith*† and Nic Patrick of DLA Piper*†. You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in Apple Podcasts and links to all of the episodes can be found here.

If you have any questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

January 8, 2018

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Eye of the Storm

Native Houstonian and podcast all-star Ellyn Josef of Vinson & Elkins* joins us this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to share her experience and discuss pro bono efforts around Hurricane Harvey. Ellyn describes how the pro bono community prepared for the storm, the importance of collaboration with other firms and legal aid organizations during a crisis, and how the technology they utilized to organize airport lawyering to address the Muslim travel ban was applied to their response to the hurricane. Spend 25 minutes and hear about Ellyn’s compelling experiences during one of the costliest natural disasters in United States history.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

January 4, 2018

Snack and Socialize at the 2018 Pro Bono EXPO and Happy Hour

Want to network with leaders from legal services and public interest organizations? The 2018 PBI Annual Conference will be here before we know it and we are excited to provide a preview of this year’s Pro Bono EXPO and Happy Hour.

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 mingle, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop new pro bono initiatives.  Table hosts include:

Check back for additional table hosts over the coming weeks!

This year’s EXPO and Happy Hour will take place from 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on February 22. We hope to see you there!

If you have any questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

December 21, 2017

Welcome to Law Firm Pro Bono!

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? 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 2018? If so, we have a special pre-Conference session just for you! Join us bright and early on February 21 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2018 PBI Annual Conference.

Leading a law firm pro bono program can be overwhelming, particularly for those new to the position or leading a program going through a reboot. We can help! Attend Law Firm Pro Bono 101 – a crash course on the basics of structuring, implementing, and administering successful law firm pro bono programs – to get all the information you need. Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members will share valuable resources available to you and discuss the variety of support services available from the Project year-round. You’ll also receive individualized tips for navigating the Conference. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees. What would you like to learn at Law Firm Pro Bono 101? Let us know!

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what an attendee from last year’s session had to say about the program: “This was an inspiring session, particularly as someone new to the space. It was thoughtful and an excellent job all around. Very helpful for people who are new to the pro bono game.”

Pre-registration is required. The discounted, early-bird registration rate expires on January 5, so be sure to register today. If you have any questions about the Conference, or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

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

December 14, 2017

Gifts that Give Back

Happy Holidays from all of us at The PBEye! Choosing the perfect gift during the holiday season can be a challenge. Fortunately, we are here to help with even more of our favorite gift ideas that also give back.

  • Need a gift for your favorite runner or yogi? Check out Love Bottle. For every bottle purchased, the company donates 5% of every purchase to Global Water, a nonprofit dedicated to making safe drinking water accessible.
  • As the weather gets colder, winter accessories are a great gift. Love Your Melon offers stylish hats but the company also donates 50% of all profits to non-profits in the field of pediatric cancer, including funding research initiatives and supporting families in need. In addition to monetary donations, Love Your Melon strives to ensure that every child battling cancer in America receives a donated hat.
  • Looking for a way to show support for causes dear to you? Pura Vida Bracelets handcrafts a Charity Collection of bracelets. Each bracelet in the collection is associated with a specific charity, which receives a portion of the proceeds from every bracelet sold, while raising awareness about the cause.
  • Although many professions involve giving to others, it is important to practice self-care. If you are looking for a gift to aid relaxation, Soapbox is a body product company that produces naturally derived soaps. For every bar of soap that is purchased, Soapbox donates a bar to people in need in the United States and around the world.

Something for everyone: there are incalculable opportunities to support social entrepreneurs who also give back to their community. In addition to these ideas, we always suggest doing more pro bono work – one of the best gifts you can give is your time!

December 7, 2017

Justice for Juveniles Serving Life without Parole

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its 2012 decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles must be applied retroactively, granting new chances at release for hundreds of inmates serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed in their youth.  The opinion indicated that life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders should be exceedingly rare and gave states two options: resentencing the affected prisoners or making them eligible for parole. At the time of the decision, there were more than 2,500 people (concentrated in California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed when they were not yet 18. Many of them automatically received those sentences, without individualized consideration of their youth and other factors.  How can pro bono lawyers get involved and be of assistance?

Join us on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00 PM EST for our upcoming webinar on the subject, produced in partnership with West LegalEdcenter, Pro Bono in Practice: Juvenile Life without Parole.

You’ll hear from experts:

  • Heather Renwick, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
  • Whitney Untiedt, Akerman

CLE credit is available in many jurisdictions. The program is available for free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Law Firms as a member benefit. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for assistance accessing the program.

For additional background and first-hand experiences representing juvenile lifers, check out our interviews with Whitney Untiedt, Valentine Brown, and Hayes Hunt on the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast. Among other things, they discuss their meaningful work to ensure access to justice for “juvenile lifers.” You can subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in Apple Podcasts and links to all of the episodes can be found here.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

November 30, 2017

Mix and Mingle at the 2018 Pro Bono EXPO

The 2018 PBI Annual Conference, which will be held on February 21-22 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., is just a few short months away! In addition to thought-provoking and inspiring sessions and programs, we are excited to present 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. Seize this unique opportunity to network, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the globe, 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 February 22. See you there!

Are there particular organizations or topics you would like to see represented at the EXPO? Would you 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 email events@proboninst.org or call 202.370.6770.

November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

The PBEye is taking some much needed turkey time this week.  We have a lot to be thankful for—including all of PBI’s friends, colleagues, and supporters and their continued commitment to pro bono and access to justice.  Leave a comment below and let us know what you are thankful for this year!

November 20, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Ericka Garcia

Ericka GarciaThe Florida Bar Foundation’s director of pro bono partnerships, joins us this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to discuss her passion for legal aid, the innovative new projects the Foundation is undertaking, and how access to justice is a major issue for urban and rural residents throughout the state. Ericka was introduced to legal aid as a teenager when she served as a volunteer translator.  That formative experience, among others, motivated her to become a legal aid attorney and an advocate for children with developmental disabilities. Her role at the Foundation is unique: she is as a hub for pro bono efforts by law firms, legal departments, and nonprofit and legal services organizations across Florida. Recently, the Foundation turned its focus to technological solutions to make the placement of pro bono matters more efficient, culminating in the creation of a statewide portal: “Florida Pro Bono Matters.” Take 35 minutes to listen to our inspiring conversation with Ericka about the innovative ways technology can extend the reach of pro bono lawyers, her involvement in the legal response to Hurricane Irma, resources available to pro bono lawyers, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen and let us know what you think. Send your comments, thoughts, feedback, questions, and suggestions to probono@probonoinst.org. Be warned: we might just read them on the air.

November 16, 2017

Want to Be Happy At Work?

We spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and writing about why lawyers, law firms, and legal departments should do pro bono work.

In case you need yet another reason, check out Being Happy at Work Matters, a Harvard Business Review article that combats the myth that you don’t have to be happy at work to succeed. “Happy people are better workers.”  “Those who are engaged with their jobs and colleagues work harder – and smarter.”

Research shows that to be happy and engaged at work, people need: (1) a meaningful vision of the future; (2) a sense of purpose; and (3) great relationships.

Pro bono offers a way to satisfy these three requirements and is foundational to cultivating legal professionals who will be emotionally and intellectually committed to their law firms.  Pro bono embodies firm values, gives lawyers a larger sense of purpose that goes beyond monetary gain, and enables colleagues at all seniority levels to work collaboratively toward a common goal, which fosters strong and deep relationships.

Want a happier and more engaged law firm? Create a vibrant and meaningful pro bono program.   You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or go it alone.  Contact the Law Firm Pro Bono Project for assistance.

 

Hat tip to PBI intern Erin Killeen for her help with this post.

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