The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

PBI News

September 29, 2016

Celebrating the First Anniversary of the Pro Bono Happy Hour

anni-3On October 1, 2015, PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project launched the Pro Bono Happy Hour, a weekly podcast offering a smart, fresh, creative take on pro bono and featuring lively conversations about law firm pro bono, news, and best practices.

Since the podcast’s inception, we have interviewed insightful and entertaining expert guests from Law Firm Project member firms and Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatories.  Law firms featured on our podcast include:

  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
  • Blank Rome
  • Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
  • Crowley Fleck
  • Day Pitney
  • Dentons
  • DLA Piper
  • Dorsey & Whitney
  • Fenwick & West
  • Fredrikson & Byron
  • Hunton & Williams
  • K&L Gates
  • Katten Muchin & Rosenman
  • Kaye Scholer
  • King and Spalding
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • Mayer Brown
  • Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo
  • Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough
  • Sidley Austin
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
  • Troutman Sanders

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour in iTunes. Have you rated us on iTunes yet? Would you consider doing it now? Leave a review by October 31 and you will be entered into our podcast review contest. Winners will be announced on the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here. Celebrate our paper anniversary and join the conversation today!

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

 

August 25, 2016

Making Democracy Work

Voting is at the heart of our democracy, yet our voting system remains deeply flawed. A number of prominent civil rights and public interest groups are leading non-partisan efforts to ensure that every eligible voter can vote and that every proper vote is counted.

Pro bono lawyers are often at the forefront of legal efforts to cure legal flaws in the system, which threaten the accuracy, legitimacy, and fairness of the voting process. Lawyers have important roles to play at all levels of the election protection and reform processes – crafting legislation, enforcing voting laws, researching legal developments, monitoring the election process for unlawful behavior, representing eligible individual voters, and aiding local, state, and national organizations in bringing impact litigation to challenge unconstitutional election laws. The range of pro bono opportunities is broad and deep, with meaningful options for both small and large-scale projects and those that would appeal to litigators and non-litigators.

Want to get involved and make a difference this election year? PBI has three new resources to help you navigate election-related pro bono opportunities:

webinarListen to our latest webinar, Best of the 2016 PBI Annual Conference: The Challenges of Citizenship: Election-Related Pro Bono Opportunities (Pro Bono in Practice), which is now available on-demand.  This program explores how pro bono efforts play an important role at all levels of the voting rights and reform processes on Election Day and all year round. Jennifer BrownMorrison & Foerster*†, Ezra RosenbergThe Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Chris WaltersReed Smith*† discuss emerging issues, how to get started, opportunities for collaboration, and a range of pro bono options.

podcast2Check out a special episode of our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, about Election Protection. PBI talks to Nancy Anderson and Arusha Gordon, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, about the national, nonpartisan Election Protection coalition and how pro bono lawyers can advance and defend the right to vote.

bookVisit our Resource Clearinghouse to access our updated publication, Facing the Challenges of Citizenship: Election-Related Pro Bono Opportunities, which explores pro bono opportunities available during and in-between major national election cycles.

For assistance accessing the webinar, podcast, or Resource Clearinghouse, please contact Law Firm Project Assistant Elysse DeRita.

* denotes a signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®

† denotes a member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

August 4, 2016

Summer at PBI

From left to right: Jake Thorne, CJ Rydberg, and Ali Boyd.

From left to right: Jake Thorne, CJ Rydberg, and Ali Boyd.

Summer is flying by and The PBEye would like to thank our Sheehan Scholars and interns for their hard work over the past few months.

In June, we welcomed our seventh class of Sheehan Scholars: Ali Boyd (University of Michigan Law School) and CJ Rydberg (New York University School of Law). Bob Sheehan, who oversees the pro bono program at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†, former Executive Partner (1994-2009) and Co-Chair of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee (2001-2015), and his family provided the financial support to launch this program in 2010, which has been named in his honor in recognition of his extraordinary pro bono leadership. We are grateful to the Sheehan family for their generosity and to Ali and CJ for spending their summers with us. They were joined by a terrific undergraduate: Jake Thorne (University of Michigan).

Our interns and Sheehan Scholars worked on a variety of projects – large and small – and you will continue to see the fruits of their labors in the weeks and months ahead. We are grateful for their diligence and dedication, and we especially enjoyed their energy and fresh perspectives. We are also appreciative of the firms and individuals who supported our summer program by inviting our interns and staff to events and donating time to provide additional professional development opportunities.

To learn more about Ali, CJ, and Jake’s experiences at PBI working to promote pro bono and access to justice, tune in to our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour.

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

August 13, 2015

Thanks to Our Summer Crew!

From left to right: Adam Baginski, Nate Hyman, Ali Remick, and Mike Andreani

From left to right: Adam Baginski, Nate Hyman, Ali Remick, and Mike Andreani

Summer is flying by and The PBEye would like to thank our Sheehan Scholars and interns for their hard work over the past few months.

We welcomed our sixth class of Sheehan Scholars this summer: Mike Andreani and Nate Hyman (Georgetown University Law Center). Bob Sheehan, who oversees the pro bono program at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†, former Executive Partner (1994-2009) of the firm and Co-Chair of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee (2001-2015), and his family provided the financial support to launch this program in 2010, which has been named in his honor in recognition of his extraordinary pro bono leadership. We are grateful to the Sheehan family for their generosity and to Mike and Nate for spending their summer with us. They were joined by two terrific undergraduate interns: Adam Baginski (University of Michigan) and Ali Remick (Georgetown University).

Our interns and Sheehan Scholars worked on a variety of projects – large and small – and you’ve seen the fruits of their labors. We are grateful for their diligence and dedication, and we especially enjoyed their energy and fresh perspectives. We are also appreciative of the firms and individuals who supported our summer program by inviting our interns and staff to events and donating time to provide additional professional development opportunities.

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

August 28, 2014

Thanks to Our Summer Crew!

Interns (2)Summer is coming to an end and The PBEye would like to thank our Sheehan Scholars and interns for their hard work over the past few months.

We welcomed our fifth class of Sheehan Scholars this summer: Jordyn Coad (American University Washington College of Law) and Lori Panosyan (The George Washington University Law School). Bob Sheehan – head of the pro bono program at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom*†, former Executive Partner (1994-2009) of the firm, and Co-Chair of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee – and his family provided the financial support to launch this program in 2010, which has been named in his honor in recognition of his extraordinary pro bono leadership. We are grateful to the Sheehan family for their generosity and to Jordyn and Lori for spending their summer with us. They were joined by two terrific undergraduate interns: Samantha Fry (Yale University) and Sam Mancina (University of Michigan).

Our interns and Sheehan Scholars worked on a variety of projects – large and small – during their time at PBI and you’ve seen the fruits of their labors. We are grateful for their diligence and dedication, and we especially enjoyed their energy and fresh perspectives. We are also appreciative of the firms, organizations, and individuals, such as the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Foley & Lardner*†, Fredrikson & Byron*†, Venable*†, and Pam Wandzel, who supported our summer program by inviting our interns and staff to events and donating time to provide additional professional development opportunities.

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

April 25, 2014

Remembering Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

Rubin_Carter_4The PBEye is saddened to learn of the death of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former professional boxer who became a symbol of racial injustice in the U.S. After 19 years on death row for a triple murder, Carter was exonerated with the help of his pro bono attorneys.

After his release, Carter became the first Executive Director of the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted in Toronto, serving from 1993 to 2004. He campaigned on behalf of criminal justice reform and fought tirelessly to free those unjustly imprisoned. From his deathbed, Carter wrote a column in February in which he advocated for the release of two specific prisoners he believed are innocent.

Carter’s experiences and advocacy impacted many attorneys and motivated them to do pro bono work on behalf of death row inmates. His legacy as a symbol of hope for those wrongly convicted will endure and continue to inspire lawyers to do meaningful and much-needed pro bono work. “To live in a world where truth matters and justice, however late, really happens, that world would be heaven enough for us all.” Rubin Carter

August 8, 2013

Esther F. Lardent Recognized as AmLaw Top Innovator

Lardent-Heashot

PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent

The PBEye takes great pleasure in congratulating PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent on being recognized as one of The American Lawyer’s top 50 innovators! This special honor recognizes individuals in the legal field who have been innovative thinkers and doers, and as a result have made a significant impact in the legal community. Lardent is joined by a remarkable group of innovators including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman.

“I am personally honored and quite humbled to receive this award. I am deeply indebted to the PBI staff, the PBI Board, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee, the Corporate Pro Bono Advisory Board, and the countless volunteers who have all played a major role in helping transform the pro bono culture in law firms and legal departments around the world,” Lardent said.

We congratulate all of the honorees and encourage them to keep up the good work!

Read the article on Lardent, “Raising the Bar,” online at The American Lawyer and read the full list here: The American Lawyer’s Top 50 Innovators.

March 7, 2013

Remembering Bricker Lavik

LavikWe at The PBEye were extremely saddened to learn of the death of our good friend and pro bono champion Bricker Lavik on March 1.  For us, Mr. Lavik’s legacy is one of genuine commitment to serving others, particularly those most in need, and recruiting others to serve as well.  We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at Dorsey & Whitney LLP*.  Below is a brief notice on Mr. Lavik’s passing courtesy of our friends at Dorsey.

It is with deep regret that I inform you that our colleague and good friend Bricker Lavik died on Friday, March 1, 2013. Bricker is survived by his beloved wife, Tonja Orr.

Bricker Lavik started his legal career as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society. In that role he represented clients in cases involving consumer credit, garnishments, repossessions, evictions, government benefits and more. He brought three Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative complaints resulting in the creation of 784 new units of low-income housing. He was lead counsel in a class action case raising deceptive trade practices claims, resulting in rent abatement claims procedures for tenants in a 100 unit apartment building.

Bricker joined Dorsey in 1986 and continued his efforts to ensure that low-income clients receive access to legal services by doing Pro Bono work and serving on numerous committees and boards. Because of Bricker’s leadership, Dorsey joined the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge as a charter signatory in 1993 and successfully achieved that Challenge for 20 consecutive years.

Bricker was the soul and conscience of Pro Bono and as such, received many recognitions including the Hennepin County Bar Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2006 and Dorsey’s first ever Pro Bono Award for Distinguished Service in 2012. His commitment to serving the public was deep and pervasive. Humble and selfless, Bricker inspired us all never to rest on our laurels.

Bricker’s personal and professional passion for justice were among his most enduring qualities. He remained vibrant and vital through the most extreme health challenges imaginable. He seized every moment not because it could be his last but because he understood moments are to be seized.

Rather than battle these various maladies, he accepted their truth and dealt with them rationally, working as an eager partner with many outstanding medical professionals most notably his primary care team at the Mayo Clinic.

In the wake of this heartbreaking news, I am reminded of what a great inspiration Bricker was to so many people. He was a kind, generous, undaunted and wonderful person. And for this, we are grateful and our world is truly a better place.

It is worth noting that Bricker had a heart transplant in July 2000, shortly after being diagnosed with a rare heart disease. If it wasn’t for the generosity of the donor and the donor’s grieving family, think of all our Pro Bono world would have missed out on. I would guess that literally thousands of additional pro bono clients were reached, and many additional pro bono projects started, and pro bono professionals inspired, because of Bricker’s successful heart transplant. A wonderful tribute to Bricker as we all grieve, may be to make sure we are all organ donors. And of course, he would tell us to get out there and get more done to help those in need of our legal services!

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

January 7, 2013

Remembering a Champion of Pro Bono

Bill-McBride-PhotoThe PBEye is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bill McBride, a dear friend to the Pro Bono Institute and a passionate leader who championed pro bono for society’s most vulnerable members.  His death is a profound loss for his beloved family,  the legal profession, and the pro bono cause.  His legendary wisdom, humor, exuberance, and larger-than-life personality will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

McBride’s lifelong dedication to service began when he voluntarily enlisted in the Marines, serving in combat in Vietnam.  As managing partner of Holland & Knight LLP*, he built upon the culture of pro bono initiated by his friend and mentor, Chesterfield Smith, and continually reminded fellow attorneys that they too had a responsibility to “do good.”

Buddy Schulz, a close friend of McBride’s and a partner at Holland & Knight, said “[McBride] showed me perpetually that we, as lawyers, could not simply work for ourselves and our clients; that we, as lawyers, must discharge our professional  obligations always to help others.”

McBride played a pivotal role in the Pro Bono Institute, serving as Co-Chair of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project from 1997-2001 and lending his expertise and judgment to the project at a critical moment in its history.  He was also one of the leaders of Lawyers for One America initiative of the Clinton Administration, led by now-Attorney General Eric Holder, that brought together the leaders of the legal profession in the U.S. to forge a plan to enhance diversity in the profession and to increase pro bono service to people and communities of color.

At a White House ceremony launching the Lawyers for One America initiative, he spoke of the importance of pro bono and diversity, noting that “[R]evenues per lawyer, profits per partner or profitability indexes don’t measure the right things. Those statistics measure everything about the practice of law except what makes us proud to be lawyers.  [As for diversity], the current minority hiring pool is simply too small—law schools must give us more minority law graduates. Give us the lawyers; we will give them the opportunities to succeed.”

“We owe a debt of gratitude to this man of extraordinary intellect and spirit who spent so much of his life helping others,” PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent said.  “He will be greatly missed, and he will always be remembered for his example of service and his commitment to pro bono.  Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and colleagues.”

Read McBride’s obituary at The New York Times.

*denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®

September 13, 2012

Thanks for the Hard Work and Memories!

We’ve had a busy few months at PBI and have benefited greatly from the contributions of our summer interns.  We welcomed our third class of Sheehan Scholars this year.  Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP‘s*† Bob Sheehan and his family provided the financial support to launch this program in 2010, which has been named in his honor and in recognition of his extraordinary pro bono leadership.

The 2012 Sheehan Scholars were two impressive law students: Lauren Epstein (University of Michigan Law School) and Sheryl Golkow (University of Pennsylvania Law School).  We are grateful to the Sheehan family for their generosity and to Lauren and Sherri for spending their summers with us.  They were joined by two terrific undergraduates from the University of Michigan: Kristyn Acho and Ben Gloger.  The four interns worked on a variety of projects – large and small – for Corporate Pro Bono, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, and our communications department.  You’ve already seen the fruits of their labors and will continue to do so in the weeks and months ahead.

PBI is grateful for their hard work and dedication.  We especially enjoyed their energy and fresh perspectives.  We are also appreciative of the firms and individuals, such as Venable LLP*†, Amanda Hollis (PBI intern alum), and her firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP*†, who support our summer program by inviting our interns to events and donating time to provide additional professional development opportunities.

If you know of a student or lawyer who may be interested in spending time working or volunteering at PBI, please send an inquiry to jobs@probonoinst.org.

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

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