The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Law Firm Pro Bono

February 16, 2017

Conference Sneak Peek: Pro Bono in Practice – Juvenile Life Without Parole

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is only three weeks away and one of this year’s highlights is a session about “juvenile lifers,” who were given the opportunity for new sentences as a result of Montgomery v. Louisiana, the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made retroactive the Court’s ban on automatic life-without-parole sentence for juveniles.

Juvenile Life Without Parole (Pro Bono in Practice) is one of a series of popular sessions geared toward bringing together law firm, in-house, and public interest leaders whose work is focused on a specific topical area. Join us on March 9, from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., to discuss current events and how pro bono lawyers can be of assistance to “juvenile lifers.” We are grateful to our panel of expert practitioners:

For additional background, check out our interview with Untiedt on the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast. Among other things, she discusses her meaningful work to ensure access to justice for “juvenile lifers.” 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 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

February 13, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

“Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.”
– John Denver

Want to learn about the latest pro bono opportunities? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our bonus episode, Up in the Air, with Ellyn Haikin Josef of Vinson & Elkins*†. Straight from the headlines, Ellyn talks to us about how a recent presidential executive order mobilized pro bono lawyers and inspired airport campouts and engagement.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along 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.

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

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

February 9, 2017

Conference Sneak Peek: Pro Bono in Practice – Family Law

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is only one month away and one of this year’s highlights is a session about family law, an area when the needs are great, but pro bono lawyers are often reluctant to get involved.

Changing the Face of Pro Bono Family Law (Pro Bono in Practice) is one of a series of popular sessions geared toward bringing together law firm, in-house, and public interest leaders whose work is focused on a specific topical area. We encourage attendees to join us on March 9 from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. to discuss a range of available family law pro bono opportunities, including full representation, limited-scope matters, and assisting those who are self-represented.

Interested in learning more?  Check out the episode of the Pro Bono Happy Hour, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast; featuring Michael Lucas of the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF). Lucas, who will be a facilitator for the Conference program, discusses being a leader in the public interest community, providing the “best legal representation money can’t buy,” and trends in access to justice, including a family law pro bono program that AVLF strategically added to work they were already doing to assist survivors of domestic violence to ensure that they get the holistic assistance they need to move forward. 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 any questions about the Conference or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

February 6, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need some listening material as you hunker down for six more weeks of winter? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our recent interview with Annie Mohan of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Annie talks to us about her career, the firm’s pro bono program, the legal community’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, affinity networks and pro bono, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along 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.

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.


† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member

February 2, 2017

2017 PBI Annual Conference: Pro Bono Expo and Happy Hour

Want to network with leaders from legal services and public interest organizations? The 2017 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.

This year’s Expo and Happy Hour will take place from 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on March 9. Click here for a current list of host organizations. 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.

January 30, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need some listening material as you prepare for Super Bowl Sunday (or to avoid the game, if that’s your preference)? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our recent interview with Houstonian, Ellyn Haikin Josef of Vinson & Elkins*†. Ellyn talks to us about her career, the pro bono culture in Houston, “virtual pro bono clinics,” assisting Holocaust survivors, and more.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along 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.

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

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

January 26, 2017

Experimentation and Evaluation

Exciting innovation is happening all across the world in an effort to meet unaddressed legal needs and the justice chasm.   One experiment in the United States is the use of trained and supervised individuals without formal legal training to provide help to people who would otherwise go without legal assistance.  New York City’s version, the Court Navigator Program, was created in 2014.  “Court Navigators” aid unrepresented litigants in New York City’s Housing and Civil Courts by providing information, assisting litigants in accessing and completing forms, attending settlement negotiations, and accompanying unrepresented litigants into the courtroom.

The umbrella program included three pilot programs: The Access to Justice Navigators Pilot Project, The Housing Court Answers Navigators Pilot Project, and The University Settlement Navigators Pilot Project. Supported by the Public Welfare Foundation, researchers from the American Bar Foundation and the National Center for State Courts evaluated and assessed the appropriateness (whether the services as designed could potentially produce the kinds of outcomes desired), efficacy (whether the services showed evidence of producing those outcomes), and sustainability (whether it was reasonable to anticipate that the project could be maintained, expanded, and replicated in other jurisdictions) of the pilot projects.  Released last month, their pioneering, comprehensive report, “Roles Beyond Lawyers,” concluded that the projects had a positive impact. For example, tenants assisted by Navigators were 87 percent more likely to have their defenses recognized by the court and 56 percent more likely to say they were able to share their side of the story than those who were unassisted.  A significant benefit of the evaluation process was an opportunity to document and share what is working well and what could be improved.

As Judge Fern Fisher, deputy chief administrative judge for New York City courts and friend of PBI, said, “All of us who are big supporters of nonlawyers realize it’s a triage.  “We must do a patchwork quilt of services in order to make sure we balance the scales.”  The study confirms through rigorous review that this is effective triage that is making a real difference and an important tool as we strive to ensure access to justice for all.

January 23, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need a cure for the winter blues? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss the continuation of our recent interview with Don Salzman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†, during which he talks about the firm’s pro bono program, its global Impact Project, and more. Part one, is available on both iTunes and YouTube.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along 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.

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

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

January 19, 2017

Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Reporting Is Now Open

Reporting season for the 2016 calendar year is now open. We have emailed unique survey links to all Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatories, so be sure to check your spam filter if you did not receive yours. The deadline for reporting is March 3.

Each year, Challenge signatories provide a brief, electronic report to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project on their progress in meeting the Challenge. The individual firm data is kept confidential, but each submission provides the basis for critically important aggregate statistics about trends in law firm pro bono. Please assist us in communicating the good news about the pro bono work of law firms to our colleagues in the legal profession and to the public with your prompt submission of the electronic reporting form. Let us know about your firm’s accomplishments and news.

Since 1993, the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative administered by PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project, has served as a guidepost to assist major law firms in increasing their commitment to pro bono legal services. The Challenge principles are designed to offer institutional support and maximize the efficacy of law firm pro bono programs. The Challenge definition of pro bono has become an industry standard, utilized not only by major law firms but by the legal media in reporting the pro bono contributions of large law firms.

Interested in joining your peer firms and becoming a Challenge signatory? Firms with 50 or more lawyers are welcome to join the Challenge at any point in the year and are given a grace period before the reporting requirement kicks in. Please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Elysse DeRita for more information on becoming a signatory and a leader in law firm pro bono.

January 16, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need some listening material for your winter hibernation? Tune in to the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, and learn about exciting and meaningful developments in the world of law firm pro bono and access to justice.

Don’t miss our recent interview with Don Salzman of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†. In part one, Don talks to us about his career, indigent criminal defense work, the Norfolk Four, the Clemency Project 2014, and more. Don’t forget to check back on Thursday to catch the conclusion of our conversation with Don!

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? We’d appreciate feedback and it would help make it easier for others to find the show and expand the conversation about access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen along 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.

Want to learn more about the world of in-house pro bono? Check out Corporate Pro Bono’s podcast, the CLO & Pro Bono Series, which features Chief Legal Officers discussing the importance of pro bono and access to justice.

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