The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Global Pro Bono

November 17, 2016

Pro Bono Values Project

“[I]t is the right thing to do. Everyone should have access to justice. A lot of people do not have access to justice because they cannot afford it. It is my spiritual view on humanity and my personal belief.” (Graduate Lawyer, Medium Law Firm.)

tree-finalWe recently learned about an intriguing empirical study that examines the motivations of lawyers who participate in pro bono work. Over a four month period, the University of Queensland Pro Bono Centre at TC Beirne School of Law interviewed lawyers across Australia.  The lawyers came from firms of various sizes, practice areas, and seniority levels. The Centre hoped that the study would offer insight into lawyers’ personal reasons for doing pro bono work and their thoughts about pro bono practice and trends. In June 2016, the Centre published their findings, which shed light on lawyers’ values.  Highlights and key takeaways include:

  • Intrinsic motivators were ranked highly by lawyers. Many described a “moral calling” to do pro bono work as a motivating factor.
  • Workplace settings and policies greatly influence and impact the involvement of law firm lawyers in pro bono.
  • A majority of lawyers who provide pro bono services reported that they apply the same professional and ethical standards to their pro bono work as to their fee-earning, billable work.
  •  Lawyers expressed a greater concern and preference for directing their pro bono efforts towards satisfying domestic, unmet legal needs as opposed to engaging in international pro bono work.

Check out the study, What does pro bono public mean to lawyers? A report on the findings of the Pro Bono Values Project,” to learn more.


What motivates you to do pro bono work? Leave a comment below!

September 6, 2016

Guest Blog: Growing Pro Bono Work Around the World

We at The PBEye are inspired every day by the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the launch of the CPBO Challenge® initiative, we are showcasing some of their projects with the hope that they inspire you, too.

By Erica Wang, General Counsel, 3M China and Hong Kong

3M Company’s** General Counsel Ivan Fong likes to quote Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, to describe our legal team’s approach to pro bono work: “Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life and not something you do in your spare time.”

Perhaps that’s why pro bono legal work, which has long been a growing focus at our company’s Minnesota headquarters, is spreading to our attorneys around the world – even some parts of the world where it’s still a developing concept. In China, we recently organized our first pro bono workshop with international law firm Hogan Lovells*† at the 3M Shanghai Innovation Center.

Social enterprises are booming in China, along with increasing attention and care to the underprivileged population and China’s societal sustainability, but they often lack legal and other professional support. At our workshop, 3M and Hogan Lovells attorneys advised five charitable organizations on their business operations. The five organizations that participated in the workshop are:

  1. Shanghai Ju Shan Zhu Can Public Welfare Development Center. Its Chinese name, Ju Shan Zhu Can, means “collection of kindness to support the disabled.” The Center created China’s first online charity store five years ago, which takes in unused clothing and household items or business inventory, and then sells them online. The organization provides employment opportunities to people with disabilities and also uses the revenue to run charitable programs.
  2. Netspring Social Enterprise. It collects used computers from companies to distribute to rural schools, which not only supports the education of children living in poverty, but also reduces e-waste by continuing the usefulness of the computers.
  3. Shanghai Laogang Town Beilan Environmental Protection Service Center. The name “Beilan” in Chinese refers to ensuring a blue sky for younger generations. It focuses on environmental protection by way of recycling used clothes.
  4. GeiLi Giving. The name “Geili” in Chinese means giving power. It collects donations, sells goods for charity and conducts other charitable activities via a public service web platform.
  5. Shanghai Yi Tu Wu Zhang Ai Art Studio. The name “Yi Tu Wu Zhang Hai” means no barrier to becoming artists. This studio was set up in 2010 to help children with autism experience the arts and develop their skills.

Each enterprise was paired with a small group of attorneys. We learned about their initiatives, missions, and challenges, and, based on that, we provided specific solutions from legal and risk control perspectives. Each enterprise received more than an hour of dedicated consulting in a private meeting room.

The participants were very pleased about the interaction with legal professionals, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to their important work. We aim to contribute more and are about to organize our second pro bono activity in the second half of this year. All of us felt what is to be gained by giving.

Thank you, 3M Company, 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

June 21, 2016

Pro Bono Leaders Shine at Transatlantic Legal Awards

Legal Week and The American Lawyer recently hosted theGlobe 2016 Transatlantic Legal Awards, celebrating achievement by both firms and in-house legal departments in global legal affairs. In particular, The PBEye was thrilled to hear that among the awardees were many leaders with regard to pro bono, including Microsoft Corporation**, its President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, and DLA Piper*.

DLA Piper was recognized as Pro Bono Programme of the Year in honor of its signature pro bono project, aimed at upholding the rights of and providing legal assistance to the roughly 13.9 million immigrants across the globe displaced by war and conflict. With participation from 18 DLA Piper offices worldwide, the project has provided legal assistance to more than 175 vulnerable individuals and 10 nongovernmental agencies. In total, 180 DLA Piper attorneys have volunteered more than 7,000 pro bono hours to the project so far and their efforts continue.

Microsoft Corporation was named the Transatlantic In-House Team of the Year and Smith was named the Transatlantic In-House Leader of the Year. The reasons for their selection are surely many, including the legal department’s tremendous pro bono program and Smith’s leadership to assist some of the most vulnerable individuals among us: unaccompanied immigrant children. Like DLA Piper’s honored project, Microsoft’s pro bono efforts focus on providing legal assistance to the immigrant community. In addition to many initiatives Microsoft’s pro bono program has supported over a decade, the department led by Smith formed Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ) in 2003 and co-found Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in 2008. Over the years, KIND has engaged nearly 6,000 volunteer attorneys to provide legal support to more than 5,500 unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children as they face deportation proceedings and led successful lobbying campaigns in support of crucial changes in U.S. immigration policy. Without their efforts, thousands would go without the legal support they desperately need.

Congratulations to DLA Piper, Microsoft, Smith, and all awardees of the Transatlantic Legal Awards for their tremendous achievements. We especially commend their ongoing commitments to pro bono work both at home and abroad. For more information about in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

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

Hat tip to PBI Intern Jake Thorne for his contribution to this blog.

April 15, 2016

Upcoming Webinar: Global Due Diligence Manual

Due Diligence Manual Cover

Join us Thursday, May 5 at 12:00 p.m. ET for “Global Due Diligence Manual” a one-hour program hosted in conjunction with West LegalEdCenter.

PBI’s new Global Due Diligence Manual, produced in partnership with several global law firms, is a hands-on guide intended to help you locate, vet, and take on global pro bono opportunities. Join us for a discussion of clearinghouses, major NGO clients, research projects, and more. Learn how the Manual can help you expand your global pro bono program.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Wendy Atrokhov, Latham & Watkins*†
  • Lisa Dewey, DLA Piper *†
  • Lou O’Neill, White & Case*†

Interested in-house counsel should contact CPBO Project Assistant Virginia Lyon for registration information or to submit questions in advance of the program. Registration is free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Firms. Law firm participants should contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson for registration information.

Schedule conflict? Don’t worry – the program will also be available on-demand shortly after the original broadcast date.

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

March 9, 2016

The State of Pro Bono Around the World, and New Global Resources

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference will offer many new and compelling sessions, including a timely discussion addressing global pro bono and possible obstacles to participation. The State of Pro Bono Around the World (Thursday, March 24, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) will explore global pro bono practices, including differences in delivery structures, practice rules, national and local legal cultures, and the need for and availability of pro bono matters. Included in the discussion will be two soon-to-be-released resources:

  • the 2016 edition of the Latham & Watkins*† Survey of Pro Bono Practices and Opportunities, and
  • the new Global Due Diligence Manual.

We hope to see you at the session!

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


January 22, 2016

2016 PBI Annual Conference: Addressing a Global Mass Migration Crisis (Pro Bono in Practice)

The 2016 PBI Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. is just two months away, and one of this year’s highlights is a session on mass migration. If you’ve been concerned about the international refugee crisis and wondered what you can do to help, you won’t want to miss it.

Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes by war and persecution — more than at any time since World War II. Half are children. Where are the lawyers? On March 24, the Addressing a Global Mass Migration Crisis (Pro Bono in Practice) session will provide an update on what’s being done to save lives and protect refugees, development, and legal migration and mobility and how pro bono lawyers can help.

If you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference, and save on fees if you do so by February 10th. If you have questions or need assistance with registration, please email us or call 202.973.8720.


December 4, 2015

Justice Center for Legal Aid, Jordan

JordanPBI recently sat down with Hadeel Abdel Aziz, co-founder and executive director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), located in Amman, Jordan. Aziz visited the U.S. this fall as an Eisenhower Fellow and met with Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Taylor and Global Pro Bono Project Coordinator Sri Katragadda to discuss pro bono and access to justice, both in the U.S. and in Jordan.

A nonprofit organization established in 2008, JCLA has grown from one legal aid clinic in Amman into the largest legal aid provider in Jordan, with 25 clinics located across the country. In 2009, JCLA provided legal representation to clients in 78 matters, which grew to 2,477 in 2014. One-on-one legal consultation sessions grew from 141 in 2009 to 4,518 in 2014. Today, JCLA reports that on a monthly basis it assists approximately 375 beneficiaries through legal consultations, provides legal representation to approximately 150 beneficiaries across 200 cases, and reaches approximately 3,600 vulnerable people through its awareness sessions.

JCLA, using both its own attorneys as well as pro bono volunteers, assists poor and vulnerable people by:

  • Raising awareness of legal rights and legal aid;
  • Providing free legal services, through either legal consultation or legal representation; and
  • Gathering data on access to justice barriers and advocating for reforms to overcome such barriers.

We will stay tuned for future developments in Jordan and we wish Aziz and JCLA all the best with their continuing work in providing legal assistance to the needy.

November 24, 2015

Technology and Access to Justice

Technology blogThe PBEye is excited to report on an online tool in the U.K. called CourtNav, developed by the Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau (RCJ Advice) in partnership with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer†. Employing a user-friendly design with simple step-by-step questions, CourtNav helps clients who cannot afford a lawyer complete forms and navigate the court process.

RCJ Advice first triages clients by phone to determine whether someone needs face-to-face advice or can be assisted through CourtNav, which has a number of helpful features — it can spot inconsistent answers, identify whether the client qualifies for reduced court fees, and summarize current status within the court process. The tool also allows the client to communicate with a solicitor to finalize documents before printing, signing, and submitting them in court.

CourtNav is a commendable example of technology not only providing self-help guidance, but also enabling distance pro bono, allowing lawyers in the greater London area to assist clients in remote areas.

Exploring this innovative tool also gives The PBEye another opportunity to ponder “disruptive” pro bono. How should we think about making pro bono more efficient, incorporating new technologies, and developing effective triage systems?

RCJ Advice’s approach to screening clients to determine which matters are most in need of legal representation versus those well-suited to CourtNav appears to be a promising example of leveraging pro bono resources efficiently. We commend Freshfields and RCJ Advice on this exciting example of triage, technology, self-help, and distance pro bono!

 denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project

August 26, 2015

Partnership Develops Tools to Aid Judges in South Asia

s asia

South Asia has suffered from a significant amount of terrorist violence over the years. For example, 38 percent of terrorist incidents in 2013 occurred in South Asia, according to the Global Center on Cooperative Security. In 2014, according to the U.S. State Department, more than 60 percent of terrorist attacks took place in just five countries (Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria), of which three are in South Asia; nearly 6,700 people died from terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India that year.

In recognition of the need to build expertise in the adjudication of terrorism-related cases, the Global Center and the UN Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) launched a project to engage South Asian judges to develop strategies to improve the handling of such cases. One of the project’s goals was the development of a regional toolkit to help guide judges in their adjudication of such cases, which could in turn support the development of national bench books.

Pro bono lawyers from** and Salesforce Foundation, in partnership with Baker & McKenzie*†, rose to the challenge of preparing such a regional toolkit.

When Salesforce began its pro bono program in 2014, it was eager to find a global project that could be done by its lawyers around the world. Drafting this regional toolkit fit the bill, and partnering with a global law firm like Baker & McKenzie allowed Salesforce to match up its lawyers with nearby law firm lawyers in different offices. Teams in Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York contributed to the creation of this toolkit, which was recently submitted to the Global Center and CTED. The toolkit is practice-oriented and follows customary international and human rights law and norms relating to court proceedings for terrorism offenses. It is expected to be discussed at the 10th “Regional Workshop for Judges, Prosecutors, and Police in South Asia on Effectively Countering Terrorism” in Bangkok this October and may ultimately be used as a template for judges and judicial academies in other regions as well.

This project is the latest example of how partnerships in pro bono, particularly on a global scale, can provide meaningful assistance on important issues. The PBEye salutes Salesforce and Baker & McKenzie on a job well done.

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

June 17, 2015

Liberia, the Magna Carta, and the Rule of Law

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On June 15, thousands of people from around the world descended on a field in Runnymede in the United Kingdom to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta. Although the Magna Carta was not the first time a monarch agreed to respect the rights and liberties of others, it went on to become an icon for the revolutionary concepts of due process and the rule of law. As British Prime Minister David Cameron noted at the commemoration, “Think of South Africa – of that courtroom in Rivonia. As Nelson Mandela stood in the dock, looking at a lifetime in prison, it was Magna Carta that he cited.”

How can pro bono attorneys contribute to the vision being discussed and celebrated this week? One answer is rule of law themed pro bono projects, particularly in post-conflict countries. A noteworthy example is a recently completed project in Liberia, in which Thomson Reuters Corporation** teamed up with Linklaters*†‡ and the nonprofit organization Lawyers Without Borders (LWOB).

As the country struggled to recover from the political upheaval and civil wars that occurred under former president Charles Taylor, Liberia’s legal system was additionally challenged by a lack of access to case law precedent in a readily usable format. To remedy this, LWOB secured seed project underwriting from the World Bank, publishing support from Thomson Reuters, and volunteer lawyers from Linklaters to produce a digest of case summaries and key-word index of over 3,700 Liberian cases beginning in the 1860s. This five-year project involved a cross-disciplinary team of over 200 Linklaters lawyers, trainees, and summer associates, from offices in New York, London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, and Paris. Thomson Reuters Corporation helped organize the case digest structure and printed hard copies of the digest and index; these have now been provided to every judge in Liberia. Making such information readily available in a meaningful way should help improve the efficacy and consistency of legal governance in Liberia, although electricity and internet connectivity issues have delayed the longer-term goal of making the digest and index available online.

The work of the Magna Carta is not yet done. But pro bono attorneys and other legal professionals are working to realize its vision in Liberia and elsewhere: a world governed by the rule of law. We will stay tuned!

* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
**denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
 denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
New York office only participating in Challenge

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