|Esther F. Lardent, Esq.
On April 4, 2016, Esther Lardent, Pro Bono Institute’s founder and first President and CEO, passed away after an extended illness. Esther’s passing is a tremendous loss for the legal profession and the fight for access to justice, but her legacy endures and PBI remains committed to advancing her work through its mission to promote, support, and enhance pro bono efforts around the world. Esther’s 45-year legal career was dedicated to fighting for civil rights and equal protection under the law, during which she directed pioneering and creative approaches to tackling serious access to justice issues. Highlights include founding the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar – the first program of its kind in the U.S., founding the Death Penalty Representation Project as a consultant at the ABA’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, and launching the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®, which has since become the gold standard for law firm pro bono among large firms and the legal media. Read more…
Assistant Director, Corporate Pro Bono
Johnna Carey-Park joined PBI in December 2021 as the Assistant Director of the Corporate Pro Bono Project. Most recently prior to PBI, Carey-Park was Resource Counsel at National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), where she managed a weekly webinar discussion series, maintained the NACDL Resource Center, and provided technical and substantive assistance to NACDL members. Johnna attended Transylvania University, where she majored in English with clusters in Art History and Chemistry (she knows it’s a weird combination). Johnna graduated from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law. In her spare time, she loves to travel with her husband, read fiction, take in DC sporting events and concerts, and try new recipes.
Lily Constine joined PBI in 2019. Prior to joining PBI, she was a special events intern at the American Heart Association. Lily graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2018 with a B.A. in English. While at Sewanee, Lily interned with the development team at Ronald McDonald House in Houston, TX , writing social media copy and and web content. Additionally, during her time at Sewanee, she planned fundraisers for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and was a part of an all-female a capella group.
Director of Communications
Kim Kerker comes to PBI from a DC-based animal rights organization where she served as Director of Communications and Publications managing publications, web, social media, electronic communications, and internal communications. Previously, Kim consulted on strategic, organizational, and campaign-specific communications planning for small philanthropic organizations. She worked in communications at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for 15 years. Kim is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelors in Photography, and from Ohio State University with a Masters in Journalism.
Assistant Director, Law Firm Project
Nihad Mansour joined PBI in December 2019 as the Assistant Director of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project. Previously, Nihad managed statewide pro bono programs as the Pro Bono Staff Attorney of the North Carolina Bar Foundation. While at the Foundation, Nihad developed and led pro bono experiences that engaged volunteers from NC Bar Associations, law firms, corporations and law schools, bringing together local and community partners to reach underserved North Carolinians. Nihad attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she majored in Global Studies and Hispanic Linguistics, with a minor in Arabic. Nihad graduated from UNC School of Law.
Chris Niebling joined PBI in June 2010 as the Operations Manager. Chris manages human resources, office technology, accounts payable, and day-to-day operations. Previously, he was an IT Consultant for Mindspire Technologies, and the office services manager for Widmeyer Communications. He holds a B.A. in Theater and minor in History from Oberlin College. Chris also moonlights as an actor, director, and fight choreographer at various theaters in the Washington/Baltimore region.
Danny Reed, Esq.
Director of Development
Danny Reed comes to PBI with 20 years of fundraising and nonprofit management experience. Prior to joining PBI in December 2017, Danny served as Director of Development for the Council for Court Excellence, where he launched a major donor program as part of a rebranded annual campaign. His career also includes development positions with The D.C. Bar Foundation, Equal Justice Works, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (OutServe-SLDN). Danny holds a B.A. in Economics from Colby College and a J.D. from William & Mary Law School.
Chief Operating Officer
Kate Rice joined PBI in April 2013 as the chief operating officer, responsible for PBI’s daily operations and financial management, strategic direction and goals, and human resource administration. Kate has extensive leadership and non-profit management experience with over 20 years in the alternative investment industry, most extensively at Managed Funds Association where she served as the Executive Vice President for a decade. At MFA, she was responsible for all daily business operations, strategic planning, financial management, communications, membership, conferences, seminars, and human resources.
Previously, Kate was a member of the Futures Industry Association Senior Management Team as the Senior Vice President, Communications. Before FIA, Kate was President of Rice Consulting Group, a marketing and communications firm with institutional clients in the alternative investment industry. She also served as the Assistant Vice President, U.S. Business Development, of the London International Financial Futures & Options Exchange. At the beginning of her career, she worked at National Futures Association as the Senior Editor, Public Affairs & Education.
Kate served on the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC, from 2004 to 2009, and from 2008 to 2011, she lived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she was personally and professionally involved with a number of local and international organizations.
Kate graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a B.A. in English.
Eve Runyon, Esq.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Eve Runyon is the president and CEO of Pro Bono Institute. Eve first joined PBI in 2005 to lead Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), PBI’s global project on in-house pro bono. Under Eve’s leadership, CPBO designed and implemented innovative initiatives to expand the commitment to pro bono across in-house law departments to include, among other things, the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative and support for broader multijurisdictional practice pro bono rules applicable to in-house pro bono. In connection with multijurisdictional practice, Eve served on the Advisory Committee on Pro Bono Service by In-House Counsel in New York State and has spoken on the topic at numerous access to justice summits as well as before the Conference of Chief Justices and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Eve has traveled throughout the U.S. discussing strategies for initiating and sustaining pro bono and improving access to justice.
Before joining CPBO, Eve worked as a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom in Washington, D.C., where she represented major U.S. electric, gas, and pipeline companies in matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and federal and state courts. While at Skadden, she participated in the Skadden Loaned Associate program, an externship program with Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. At Legal Aid, she served as lead counsel in child custody, child support, domestic violence, landlord tenant, housing, and public benefits cases.
Eve serves on the advisory board of New Perimeter, the nonprofit affiliate of DLA Piper that provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world, and is a member of the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services for the District of Columbia Circuit Court.
Eve graduated from the University of Virginia and Yale Law School.
Alyssa Saunders, Esq.
Director, Corporate Pro Bono
Alyssa Saunders joins PBI with years of pro bono experience. She most recently worked at Cooley†, where she served on the Pro Bono Committee in the Washington, D.C. office and coordinated that office’s pro bono summer associate research program. As a law firm associate, Alyssa worked on a diverse array of pro bono matters, including affirmative and defensive asylum cases, social security disability appeals, litigating civil rights cases in federal district court, and representing tenants in eviction proceedings. Alyssa graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
Erik J.A. Swenson, Esq.
Director, Law Firm Pro Bono
Erik Swenson is the director of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Project working to expand and support the depth, breadth, and quality of pro bono service generously provided by law firm lawyers and staff around the globe. Erik joined PBI in 2020.
Before joining PBI, Erik worked for more than 30 years in partner, counsel, and associate roles at four well known law firms ranging in size from 100 to 4,000 lawyers – Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (“NRF”); King & Spalding LLP; and Chadbourne & Park LLP. During his law firm career, he worked on a variety of groundbreaking matters, including: obtaining the first license for mobile earth stations from the Federal Communications Commission; assisting the Nestle Infant Formula Commission to resolve international disputes over the marketing of breastmilk substitutes; obtaining certifications from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for, and establishing the rights of, first movers in the green power movement; and securing authorizations for U.S. exporters of liquefied natural gas seeking to improve world energy security. During his law firm years, he devoted many hours to pro bono matters, through chairing NRF’s DC Office Pro Bono Committee and working directly on a variety of pro bono matters ranging from one-day clinics supporting individuals and not-for-profit organizations to leading regional, national, and international initiatives to secure voter’s rights, combat human trafficking, achieve stable peace in Darfur, and improve the health of America’s rivers.
Erik attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated from Columbia College and Columbia Law School.