The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Law Firm Pro Bono

May 15, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Don’t miss the latest episode of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, “You’ve Got Mail”. In part one, we answer questions from listeners about pro bono in pop culture, reading recommendations, and our “favorite” and most-requested publications. Tune in on Thursday to catch part two.

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.

May 11, 2017

“The Time to Lead is Now”

“The future will belong to those who can embrace change.”
Hilarie Bass, President-Elect, American Bar Association; Greenberg Traurig*†, Co-President

We have previously reported that a video can be an innovative and engaging way to promote law firms pro bono program and demonstrate the firm’s dedication to pro bono. Similarly, a video is an eye-catching and informative way to promote legal services organizations and create awareness about needs and opportunities.

This year, our friends at The Florida Bar Foundation released an inspiring video, “The Time to Lead Is Now.” The fast-paced and ­­­catchy video is a call to action and highlights “trouble in paradise;” an access to justice crisis for many Floridians and how pro bono lawyers can be of help. Check out the video below and imagine if everyone had access to legal help and how we might achieve our goal:

Have you created a video to promote pro bono and access to justice recently? Leave a comment and share your experience, and be sure to link to the video!

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

May 8, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Don’t miss the latest episode of  the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour,  featuring Kimberly McClain of Seyfarth Shaw*†. Kimberly talks to us about the firm’s pro bono program, applying project management principles to organizational pro bono clients, cultivating a social media presence, the firm’s “guideposts of Compassion, Action, and Impact,” 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

May 4, 2017

Welcome, Greenberg Traurig, to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®

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 Greenberg Traurig*† whose attorneys and staff have shown a strong dedication to pro bono work by providing a range of meaningful 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.

Coming Soon: We are busy preparing our report on the 2016 pro bono performance of Challenge Signatories, which will provide an evidenced-based picture of the law firm pro bono landscape. To view the 2015 Challenge Report, click here.

 

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

May 1, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Don’t miss our latest episode of  the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour,  featuring Norah Rogers of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough*†. Norah talks to us about the firm’s pro bono program, impact litigation, efforts to help the homeless and veterans, assisting unique clients such as the Burrito Riders, 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

April 27, 2017

Pro Bono Spring Break

Law schools, law firms, and public interest organizations have made tremendous progress in their efforts to inculcate the value of service and involve law students in providing meaningful pro bono. During the spring break season, a wide array of schools offered their versions of “alternative spring breaks,” during which students spent their vacation time offering pro bono work. Earlier this year on the Law Firm Project’s Podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, we the discussed Columbia Law School’s alternative spring break with Laren Spirer. Their Spring Break Pro Bono Caravans, with support from Dentons*and others, enables law students to work with legal services and public interest organizations nationally and abroad, from Alaska to California to Texas to Jordan and South Africa and places in between, on a range of legal issues, such as immigration, criminal justice, domestic violence, water rights, and reproduction rights. In addition to Columbia Law School’s program, a variety of law schools across the country offer similar programs: Boston University School of Law, Fordham University School of Law, Harvard Law School, Rutgers Law School, Stanford Law School, Texas A&M University School of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law, University of Colorado Law SchoolUniversity of Chicago Law School, and more.

These intensive, pro bono experiences can be life changing for the clients, host organizations, and next generation of lawyers.

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

 

April 24, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need something to hold you over between Stanley Cup playoff games? 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 latest episode featuring Hilarie Atkisson of Fenwick & West*†. Hilarie talks to us about her career, the intersection of pro bono and corporate social responsibility (CSR), the Justice Bus, the access to justice culture in the San Francisco Bay Area, 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.

April 20, 2017

Pro Bono and Pop Culture

What are you doing on Saturday night? Check out the premiere of HBO’s adaption of the best-selling novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. The film, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, tells the story of an impoverished black woman whose cancer cells were used to aid in lucrative medical discoveries after she died in 1950.  Meanwhile Lacks’ surviving relatives were left poor and unable to afford health insurance.

Lowenstein Sandler*† provided pro bono legal assistance both to set up the Henrietta Lacks Foundation and secure it tax-exempt status.

The Foundation aims to provide financial assistance to eligible individuals who have contributed to scientific research without personally benefiting, particularly in the absence of informed consent, and their families.   To date, more than 50 grants have been awarded to Lacks’ immediate family members for health expenses and education.  Other recipients are the family members of survivors of the Tuskegee Institute study from the 1930s-1970s, which left black men untreated for syphilis without their knowledge or consent, and Guatemalan men infected with syphilis in a U.S. government experiment in the 1940s.

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

April 17, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday

Need listening material for the NBA playoffs? 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 latest episode featuring Hayes Hunt of Cozen O’Connor*†. Hayes talks to us about his career, the firm’s pro bono program, meaningful pro bono matters, the pro bono culture in Philadelphia, 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

April 13, 2017

Heating Up with Pro Bono

The National Law Journal recently released its annual Pro Bono Hot List, which showcases significant and noteworthy pro bono efforts at major law firms.

This year’s issue recognized 11 Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatories and/or Law Firm Pro Bono project member firms for their inspiring pro bono initiatives: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld*† (settling a claim on behalf of a hearing disabled inmate); Jenner & Block*† (successfully arguing six cases before the U.S. Supreme Court); Latham & Watkins*† ( procuring citizenship for immigrant veterans); Mayer Brown* (supporting a task force that is working to restore relationships between Chicago police and communities of color); McDermott Will & Emery*†  (representing a group of Sikh soldiers against the United States Army, which resulted in a policy change); Morrison & Foerster*† (winning a U.S. Supreme Court case regarding the best interests of a woman’s health in Texas and the “undue burden” standard); Munger, Tolles & Olson*† (directing legal elements of a panel investigating police reform in San Francisco); Robins Kaplan*† (suing the government on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe to maintain the emergency room on their Reservation); Ropes & Gray*† (working with the Innocence Project to gain release for a wrongfully convicted client); Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*† (handling 200 Clemency Project cases and earning 25 clemency grants); and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr*†  (obtaining a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating Florida’s capital sentencing scheme as a violation of the Sixth Amendment).

These large-scale pro bono efforts are deserving of attention and praise for making an impact, being strategic, and tackling underlying legal issues to mitigate systemic problems and effect meaningful change. It is especially notable and encouraging to see law firms making significant commitments of time and resources to undertake major pro bono matters.

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