The PBEye

Pro Bono As We See It

Law Firm Pro Bono

November 9, 2017

Lawyers Read: Refugee by Alan Gratz

Need a new book to curl up with as the temperature drops? Looking for effective ways to communicate the impact of your pro bono work and the backgrounds of some of your clients? Check out Refugee by Alan Gratz, which tells the story of three different children, living on different continents, spanning decades of time. Although the characters of this novel are from completely separate worlds, they have “one mission in common: ESCAPE.” Gratz weaves the tales of Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Isabel, a Cuban girl experiencing riots and unrest in 1994, and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy fleeing civil war in 2015, as they embark on dangerous treks in search of safety and refuge. As one enthusiastic reviewer observed, author “does his history homework and then hides it in a total page turner. . .  There are explosions, sharks, gunshots, paranoia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merchandise, armed robberies, a cute kitten, tear-gas bombs, greased-doorknob pranks, a bar mitzvah, and a bad guy so bad he beheads a child’s stuffed animal.”

While Refugee is a work of historical fiction, the stories of the children depicted are all too familiar to lawyers who work in this space. To hear more about our take on Refugee and the important pro bono work being done to aid immigrants and refugees tune in to our conversation with BJ Jensen of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison*† on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® Member

November 6, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Andrew LeGrand

This week, Andrew LeGrand of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher*† joins PBI on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to share his views on empowering self-represented litigants and supporting “civil Gideon” for litigants facing more complex matters. He is inspired by the leaders of the civil rights movement and sees the law as the “most potent mechanism to affect social change.” Tapping into his network from his time as a clerk, Andrew helped build an informal pro bono appellate program at the firm with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Take 40 minutes to listen to our conversation with Andrew and be inspired to make time for pro bono.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen 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.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

November 2, 2017

We Have a New Look and New Address!

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
– John F. Kennedy

This week we released our new brand identity including a new logo for Pro Bono Institute (PBI), Law Firm Pro Bono Project, and Corporate Pro Bono, a global partnership project of PBI and Association of Corporate Counsel. Our new look reflects our bold, innovative mission and the past 20 years of transforming the pro bono landscape with you.

You’ll see the new branding on our correspondence, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn pages. Curious about our logo’s history? Check out this video on the evolution of our logo.

We’ve also moved! Although we were sad to leave Farragut North, we are getting settled in a new space at Metro Center: 1001 G St., NW, Suite 305 West, Washington, DC 20001.  Next time you are in the area for a game or concert at the Capitol One Arena, grabbing a bite in Chinatown or strolling around the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, be sure to stop by and visit.

Our new look and space enhance our commitment to transform pro bono with you. Thank you for strengthening access to justice through pro bono!

October 30, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Amy Barasch

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this week on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, we are joined by Amy Barasch of Her Justice. Amy describes their “pro bono first” model; how Her Justice provides specialized support to pro bono attorneys; and the challenges faced by women who experience intimate partner violence, including issues related to divorce, immigration, and poverty. She also discusses Her Justice’s externship program with law firms and how one extern established an important precedent. Take 40 minutes to listen to our conversation with Amy Barasch about the crucial role of pro bono in empowering survivors of intimate partner violence.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen 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.

October 26, 2017

The Year of the Law Firm Merger

According to every indication, 2017 is poised to be a record year for law firm mergers. Altman Weil’s MergerLine reports that the end of the third quarter of this year, there have already been 76 deals. This pace signals that the 2015 record of 91 deals is likely to be broken and experts predict that there could be more than 100 combinations this year.

Mergers involve many complicated and moving pieces (compensation policies; client conflicts issues; leadership and administrative reorganization and consolidation; etc.) and can create anxiety and tension. Pro bono, however, can be an effective piece of a larger and long-term integration process. It is important that pro bono does not get lost in the shuffle and that firms think carefully about how to sync different pro bono cultures, policies, staffing and governance structures, priorities, budgets, projects, and more.

If your firm is involved in a merger, check out the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s checklist, which provides a summary of issues and ideas to get you started as your pro bono program moves forward. Visit our Resource Clearinghouse to download the checklist, which is free for Law Firm Project members and available to all others for purchase. We are also available for individual consultations to help you best navigate your specific merger-related transitions. In addition, tune in to our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to hear from Ballard Spahr’s*† Mary Gay Scanlon, about the firm’s upcoming merger with Lindquist & Vennum*.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

October 23, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Mary Gay Scanlon

Mary Gay Scanlon of Ballard Spahr*† joins PBI on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to explore how she connects lawyers with pro bono opportunities tailored to their interests, motivates attorneys with a sticker incentive program and alerts, and how the firm’s upcoming merger with Lindquist & Vennum will reinforce both firms’ strong commitments to pro bono. Mary Gay also discusses the increase in immigration-related pro bono since January, pro bono efforts to promote access to nutritious food, broadcasting leadership’s pro bono work throughout the firm, and cultivating a mindfulness practice to reduce stress. Take 55 minutes to listen to our conversation with Mary Gay about the transformational power of pro bono.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen 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.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

October 19, 2017

#CelebrateProBono

We are #ProBonoProud and celebrated outstanding achievements in pro bono service and strengthening access to justice last month at our own Annual Dinner. Sensitively recognizing pro bono efforts has the power to sustain and transform pro bono programs. In addition to being meaningful for deserving individuals, and teams to be acknowledged, doing so can be educational, inspiring, and help recruit newcomers to the pro bono community.

The ABA’s 2017 National Celebration of Pro Bono is right around the corner. From October 22 to October 28, the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service will be encouraging greater participation in pro bono work by lawyers nationwide and to use the week as a tool to enhance access to justice for all. You can find National Pro Bono Celebration events across the country and near you by using the 2017 Events Map. Check out www.celebrateprobono.org for more information about the Celebration such as pro bono stories, resources, and more.

As they say: “Do Good. Do Justice. Do Pro Bono.”

October 16, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with Eliza Vorenberg

Eliza Vorenberg from the Roger Williams University School of Law joins us on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to explore her career, the Pro Bono Collaborative, which connects law firms, attorneys, and law students to community organizations that need pro bono legal services, and the access to justice culture in Rhode Island. We also discuss the wide variety of law student pro bono opportunities; the role of volunteer attorney mentors: expungement clinics; providing civil legal advice to individuals in a medium security prison and tax assistance clinics for low-income residents; and more. Take 50 minutes to listen to our conversation with Eliza about inculcating the spirit of pro bono service in every law student and motivating them to use their unique legal skills and training for the benefit of others.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help make it easier for other listeners to find the show. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen 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.

October 12, 2017

Thanks to Our Members

Many thanks to the law firms that have joined the Law Firm Pro Bono Project for 2017-2018, and special welcome to the following new member firms: Butler Snow†, Lathrop Gage† and Loeb & Loeb*†. Member firms have publicly demonstrated their leadership and commitment to pro bono service.

It’s not too late to join! Submit your enrollment form or join online today and you’ll have access to a variety of high-quality resources to help you strengthen and grow your firm’s pro bono program. The Law Firm Project’s mission is to support and enhance the pro bono culture and performance of major law firms in the U.S. and around the world. We make available to our members an online Resource Clearinghouse, programming, confidential consultations, and more to ensure that their pro bono efforts remain vibrant, responsive, and effective. Be sure to take full advantage of your membership benefits. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita, if you have any questions.

We appreciate our member firms’ dedication to pro bono and to our work, which is 100 percent supported by membership dues and law firm contributions. As the number of underserved persons locally and globally continues to climb, we must continue working together to do more pro bono, to do better pro bono, and to use our collective skills and resources to promote access to justice for all. We look forward to welcoming your law firm as a member soon.

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

October 9, 2017

It’s Pro Bono Podcast Monday: A Conversation with BJ Jensen

BJ Jensen of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison*† joins us on the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour, to discuss his role as the firm’s first Pro Bono Associate, the firm’s pro bono work for immigrants, transgender clients, and more. He describes how he infuses emails with the personal relationships he’s built throughout the firm to better recruit volunteers to staff pro bono matters. BJ also discusses how the firm leadership’s deep commitment to pro bono encouraged them to quickly mobilize in response to January’s travel ban and engage in meaningful “airport advocacy.” Take 45 minutes to listen to our conversation with BJ about his dream that everyone everywhere has access to a lawyer.

Subscribe to the Pro Bono Happy Hour on Apple Podcasts and be sure to leave a review! We’d appreciate the feedback and it would help us expand the conversation about pro bono and access to justice. The podcast is also available on YouTube. Links to all of our episodes can be found here.

Listen 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.

 

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member