The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
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

March 1, 2017

Looking Back at “A Conversation with Tim Mayopoulos”

PBI welcomed friends and supporters in Washington, DC on Wednesday, January 25, for the second program in the Esther F. Lardent Leadership in Pro Bono Series, launched in 2016. Hosted by Microsoft, dozens of pro bono advocates gathered for a candid discussion featuring Tim Mayopoulos, President and CEO of Fannie Mae, and long-time champion of pro bono. Mayopoulos was joined by Stasia Kelly, Co-Managing Partner (Americas), DLA Piper, and Marc Fleischaker, Counsel and Chair Emeritus, Arent Fox, who moderated the discussion with robust audience participation.

Mayopoulos opened by sharing the profound ripple effect a simple act – signing the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® statement (while General Counsel at Bank of America) – had on Bank of America’s legal department, their law firm counterparts, and even other companies. He also talked about the lessons he learned from that simple act, including the importance of prioritizing values, like service to community, and how those values shaped his career and his perspectives on leadership.  Mayopoulos noted that corporate leaders can play a unique role on important social justice issues by engaging those around them, including lawmakers and other decision makers.

Noting the highly-charged political climate, Fleischaker and Kelly discussed big law’s efforts around current access to justice issues. Kelly stated that there is a lot of energy which mobilizes people, but that a values alignment with stakeholders remains important. Audience members advised following the lead of legal services providers and cautioned taking reflexive action without adequate information. The panelists agreed that while some individual issues may be partisan, other areas like ensuring access to courts and protecting rule of law are not only broadly supported, but imperative to a well-functioning society.

On the topic of building coalitions, the panelists agreed that, working in concert, the legal community can influence important access to justice issues.  PBI’s President and CEO Eve Runyon and Association of Corporate Counsel’s CEO Veta Richardson described a successful effort in partnership with local ACC chapters, bar associations, and other stakeholders to expand the ability of in-house counsel to engage in pro bono across jurisdictions. ACC and PBI drafted letters of support which hundreds of general counsels signed resulting in rules changes in more than 13 jurisdictions. A similar effort may be recommended if the new administration proposes shifts in important initiatives and resources.

PBI thanks event sponsors: Fannie Mae, Arent Fox, and Tom Gottschalk of Kirkland & Ellis for their support.

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 21, 2017

Submit Nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award

Know of an inspiring and impactful pro bono partnership? CPBO is now accepting nominations for the 2017 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award. The award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups. Nominated partnerships must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest group partners. CPBO may present two awards: (1) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 50 or more lawyers; and (2) to a partnership that includes a legal department of 49 or less lawyers.

The award will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner in New York City on September 28, 2017.

The 2016 recipients were:

A full list of previous award winners can be found here. To nominate a pro bono partnership, please complete a nomination form and submit a letter of nomination no later than April 21, 2017.

Award criteria and the nomination form are available here. For more information about the award, please contact CPBO.

 

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

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

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 14, 2017

Capital One – Ringing in 2017 with Pro Bono

On January 31, Capital One Financial Corporation** co-hosted a Clinic in a Box® Program – Legal Audit with CPBO, McGuireWoods LLP*†, and United Way of the National Capital Area. Twenty-six Capital One volunteers met at the McGuireWoods office in Tysons, Virginia, to receive training and assist ten local nonprofits with a legal audit. Attorneys from McGuireWoods led an hour and a half long training that offered instruction on five areas of law vital to the upkeep of Virginia nonprofits: governance, intellectual property, employment, human resources, and fiscal management. Once the training concluded, the volunteers broke into teams and went to work with their pre-assigned clients.

Over the course of more than two hours, volunteers utilized a detailed checklist to ask questions, review current practices, provide advice, and identify areas for follow-up.  Through providing legal assistance to these nonprofits, volunteers help ensure the services these nonprofits offer their communities — ranging from support for survivors of domestic violence to housing for the homeless — can continue. One client summed up the importance of the clinic by saying, “Very useful time spent. You don’t know what you don’t know. A review like this is so beneficial to be proactive in addressing concerns!” Thank you to the organizers, volunteers, and trainers who aided not only the 10 nonprofits present, but the estimated 24,500 clients they reach.

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can learn more on the Clinic in a Box® program webpage and read about previous clinics here. To discuss in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

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

**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory