The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Law Firm Pro Bono

March 23, 2017

Member Benefit: Summer Associate Programming

Pro bono has become a significant part of the summer associate experience and a crucial differentiator as talented law students make decisions about their futures. Each year, Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members participate in a number of informational programs, during which we, along with firm partners, directors, managers, coordinators, associates, and pro bono committee members, discuss an array of pro bono-related topics, such as:

  • relationship of pro bono to professional and skill development;
  • national trends in pro bono;
  • “hot” and emerging areas in pro bono;
  • developments in in-house pro bono;
  • pro bono and access to justice current events; and
  • the particular operations of the firm’s pro bono program and new initiatives.

These programs are important representations of a firm’s commitment to pro bono and useful tools for orienting and engaging your newest recruits. We are happy to tailor our participation and the program design to your firm’s specific needs.

If your Member Law Firm is interested in scheduling and designing a meeting (which may be conducted in person or by video) as part of your summer associate program, please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita. Please note that it may not be possible to fill all requests this year, so schedule your event soon.

March 20, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need motivation as you begin spring cleaning? 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 most recent interview with Elizabeta Markuci of Volunteers of Legal Service (VOLS). Liz talks to us about pro bono initiatives to support immigrants in the context of her own family’s experience, the value of storytelling, the importance of self-care, her pro bono role models, 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.

March 13, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Get to Know Our Speakers – Part 3

Missed the 2017 PBI Annual Conference? Want to hear more from our speakers? Since the Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in October 2015, we have had the opportunity to feature a variety of guests from law firms and public interest organizations; many of whom were speakers at the Conference last week.

Check out these episodes with public interest and law firm pro bono leaders who facilitated Conference Sessions:

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 the 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.


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

March 6, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: Get to Know Our Speakers – Part 2

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is only a few days away! Need some listening material while you pack? Tune in to our most recent episode, Ready, Set, Go! 2017 PBI Annual Conference Preview. During this special episode, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project discusses what’s new this year, opportunities for networking, cutting-edge issues that will be featured, and more.

Interested in learning more about our speakers as you prepare to attend?  Since the Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in October 2015, we have had the opportunity to feature a variety of guests from law firms and public interest organizations; many of whom will be speakers at the Conference.

Check out these episodes with public interest and law firm pro bono leaders who will be facilitating Conference Sessions:

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 the 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.

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

March 3, 2017

Conference Sneak Peek: Lessons From Our Past

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is next week and one of this year’s highlights is a session about the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case Korematsu v. United States (1944) and its aftermath.

The “Day of Remembrance” commemorates the Japanese American internment during World War II. It is observed on February 19, the anniversary of President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of approximately 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Order. Join us on Thursday, March 9, for, “Lessons From Our Past.” While we are all familiar with World War II, this story of injustice, prejudice, and war hysteria remains less known.  Let’s discuss fundamental questions regarding the failure of leadership at the highest level of government and of the legal system to protect the constitutional rights of a racial minority. We are grateful to our panel of experts who will be sharing their stories and helping us explore this timely subject:

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

March 2, 2017

Conference Sneak Peek: Get to Know Our Speakers – Part 1

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is next week! Interested in learning more about our speakers as you prepare to attend?  Since the Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, in October 2015, we have had the opportunity to feature a variety of guests from law firms and public interest organizations; many of whom will be featured speakers at the Conference.

Check out these episodes with law firm pro bono leaders who will be facilitating Conference sessions:

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.

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 27, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need listening materials as you start to spring into March? 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 most recent interview with Annie Helms of DLA Piper*†. Annie talks to us about her career, the access to justice culture in Chicago, the Woodlawn Legal Clinic, pro bono in the suburbs, the firm’s Krantz Fellows, 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.

February 23, 2017

Conference Sneak Peek: Engage and Inspire Action

“The most powerful delivery system ever invented for an idea is a story.”
– Aaron Sorkin (February 19, 2017)

The 2017 PBI Annual Conference is only two weeks away and one of this year’s highlights is a storytelling workshop.

We want to share the impact that our pro bono efforts have, but often the numbers we track and report don’t paint a complete picture.  Numbers and data lack the emotional resonance that a story has to inspire action. Narratives can do what data alone cannot – they provide context, meaning, emotion, and purpose. Stories are universal, relatable, and engaging. Stories help our listeners, viewers, and readers understand and care about why we do what we do.

Join us on Friday, March 10, for “Engage and Inspire Action: Storytelling to Enhance Pro Bono Engagement and Access to Justice.” Jerome Deroy, Chief Executive Officer of Narativ, will help us explore the benefits, challenges, and best practices of using stories to frame access to justice issues; recruit, engage, and motivate pro bono lawyers and staff; sway funders and other stakeholders; create a sense of urgency; and inspire collective action.

Through a skills-building workshop, we will practice and hone the craft of storytelling: the “what,” “why,” “how,” and “when” of storytelling.  What are the qualities of a well-told story? Why are stories effective? How do you identify which stories will work and engage your audiences in what matters to you and your organization? When might you find stories helpful? What stories do you already have as part of your toolkit? How can you translate the data you have into engaging stories that connect? You will return home with critical information, models, ideas, and innovations that you can use to reshape, retool, and enhance your pro bono and access to justice messaging.

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

February 20, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Have the day off and need some listening material? 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 most recent interview with Jerri Shick of O’Melveny & Myers*. Jerri talks to us about the firm’s pro bono program, her leadership of Bet Tzedek’s Holocaust Survivors’ Justice Network, providing pro bono assistance in Haiti to survivors of a catastrophic earthquake, 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

February 17, 2017

Welcome to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Initiative

The Law Firm Pro Bono Project is pleased to announce a new signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative. We are excited to welcome Willkie Farr & Gallagher*, whose attorneys and staff have shown a strong dedication to pro bono work by providing a wide range of legal services to those in need.

Since 1993, the Challenge, an initiative of PBI’s Law Firm 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.

We encourage firms to use their status as signatories as a rallying cry and a point of pride and distinction. Publicize your participation and your pledge of pro bono service inside and outside the firm, to your clients, and to the public interest groups with whom you work. Making a public commitment to the Challenge heightens awareness of pro bono at the firm, increases attorney participation, engages firm leadership, and sets clear and shared goals for success. We also invite firms to renew their Challenge commitments at any time: whether you are undergoing a merger or other structural changes; whether you would like to increase your Challenge goal from 3 to 5 percent of billable hours; or whether you’d like to gain the momentum of publicly re-affirming your institutional commitment to pro bono.

For firms that have not yet joined because of a concern that they cannot meet the Challenge goals, we encourage you to enroll and use this proven tool to advance pro bono at your firm. There is no downside as we do not publish disaggregated statistics, nor do we in any way identify individual firms as having met or not met their Challenge goal. Rather, we work closely with Challenge Signatories to provide individual consultative services and support to help them improve their pro bono performance.

By joining the Challenge, your firm can institutionalize its firm-wide commitment to providing pro bono legal services to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and the organizations that serve them. To learn how your firm can become a leader in law firm pro bono, please contact us.


* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory