The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It
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 17, 2017

Guest Blog: Sixth Annual ACC Northeast Chapter Clinic in a Box® Program

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky, and Popeo†* was honored to once again join with the Association of Corporate Counsel Northeast Chapter (ACC-Northeast), CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse, to host a Clinic in a Box® program to provide pro bono legal services to local nonprofit organizations for the sixth year in a row.

For the 40 in-house volunteers, the day started with a 90-minute training session led by Mintz Levin Attorney Anthony Hubbard who discussed bylaws and retired Casner & Edwards Partner Dick Allen who covered conflicts of interest (COI) policies. After the training, volunteer attorneys broke into small teams and met with 14 local nonprofits to assist with developing or editing the organizations’ bylaws and COI polices.

Volunteer attorneys came from a range of companies, including Adobe Systems Incorporated, Bose Corporation, Boston Scientific Corporation**, GE Oil & Gas (a subsidiary of General Electric Company**), Liberty Mutual Holding Company Inc., National Grid USA, and Velcro Companies.

Through such clinics, the volunteers benefit not only the nonprofits they sit with that day, but the individuals those nonprofits serve. The participating nonprofits provide many critically valuable services, such as assisting low-income immigrant families, providing shelter and services to survivors of domestic violence, and providing learning opportunities for Boston’s public school children.

Mintz Levin is happy to continue to include the Clinic in a Box® program in its many pro bono efforts.    “It is a pleasure to host the clinic in our Boston office and support the great work of in-house counsel dedicating their time and legal expertise to assisting organizations that contribute so much to our community,” notes Sue Finegan, Chair, Pro Bono Committee, Mintz Levin.

Both clients and volunteers had great things to say about their experiences. “This program was very fulfilling and enjoyable!” one volunteer noted. A client added their thanks for the work done that day, commenting, “I thought the clinic was VERY helpful, the individualized attention was great. Thank you so much for your help in organizing!”

Congratulations to the Boston in-house community and thank you to ACC-Northeast, CPBO, and Lawyers Clearinghouse for continuing to co-host the clinic. We look forward to working with you again in 2017 and beyond!

Thank you, Mintz Levin, for contributing to The PBEye.

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

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

January 12, 2017

New to Law Firm Pro Bono?

Has your firm, of more than 50 lawyers, recently created or restructured a formal pro bono program? Is your firm planning to do so in 2017? Are you a newly appointed managing partner, practice group or office leader, pro bono committee chair or member, pro bono partner, counsel, director, manager, or coordinator? If so, join us bright and early on March 8 for Law Firm Pro Bono 101 to jumpstart the 2017 PBI Annual Conference.

We know that leading a law firm pro bono program can be overwhelming, particularly when you are relatively new to the position or if the program is undergoing a reboot, and we are here to help. Law Firm Pro Bono 101 offers a crash course on the basics of structuring, implementing, and administering successful law firm pro bono programs. Law Firm Pro Bono Project staff members will also be available to introduce attendees to the resources and support available from the Project year round and to provide participants individualized tips for navigating the Conference in order to maximize the experience. This interactive pre-Conference session is particularly helpful for first-time attendees.

Pre-registration is required for this program. If you have any questions about the Conference, or need assistance with registration, please email events@probonoinst.org or call 202.370.6770.

Don’t miss out on this popular session. We hope to see you there!

 

January 10, 2017

2017 PBI Annual Conference: In-House Pro Bono Pre-Conference Sessions

 
The PBEye
 invites in-house counsel and staff to join CPBO March 8-10 at the 2017 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The Conference gives pro bono leaders from legal departments, law firms, and public interest and legal services organizations from around the world an opportunity to network and discuss ways to improve access to justice through pro bono.

In the past CPBO has offered pre-conference programming to help leaders new to pro bono start or reinvigorate their pro bono programs. In addition, this year there will be a new pre-conference session: crowd-sourcing for experienced pro bono leaders. Now there’s something for everyone! Both sessions will take place Wednesday, March 8.

  • In-House Pro Bono: The Basics9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for pro bono leaders of legal departments that are in the process of creating or re-launching a pro bono program, as well as for new pro bono leaders of existing programs. Experienced legal department pro bono leaders will discuss the key elements of a successful in-house pro bono program, from insurance to leadership structure to recognition.
  • In-House Pro Bono: Mature Crowd-Sourcing9:00 – 10:45 a.m.
    This session is designed for experienced in-house pro bono leaders and provides an opportunity to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of your fellow attendees to answer your most pressing in-house pro bono questions! This highly-interactive session will break down the barriers between presenter and attendee – and allow attendees to solve each other’s challenges. Moving beyond passive listening, attendees are asked to fully engage in the ideation and problem-solving process.

Please note that pre-registration is required for The Basics and encouraged for Mature Crowd-Sourcing. Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early!

Those who attend will join other in-house and law firm attendees at the Regional Joint Networking Exchanges (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) and Networking Lunch (12:00 – 1:30 p.m.). The In-House Pro Bono Track of the Conference will officially start at 1:30 pm with a plenary, followed by in-house specific sessions and networking opportunities.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference – the early-bird registration rate ends January 12! To learn more about other sessions, please view the in-house agenda.