in partnership with
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil) lawyers and staff have been performing pro bono service in Houston and other communities as part of a well-established program since the mid-90s. Catholic Charities and ExxonMobil together have become essential in bridging the gap in legal services to those in need in and around Houston.
ExxonMobil’s partnership with Catholic Charities began more than eight years ago. They have worked to provide hundreds of individuals with immigration legal advice and representation, ranging from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), citizenship, and adjustment of status for refugees, asylees, and Cubans, and have assisted more than 540 clients who completed and filed citizenship applications.
ExxonMobil has engaged more than 100 lawyers and 40 support staff in this pro bono partnership, including retiree lawyers, thereby widening the net of those providing pro bono legal support to Catholic Charities. The partnership has developed innovative service models, including a large-scale workshop model for DACA to serve more than 100 clients and a unique adjustment of status workshop. Moreover, ExxonMobil has introduced new partners to support Catholic Charities’ mission, encouraging law firms to collaborate on clinics and to sponsor similar pro bono efforts within their firms. ExxonMobil has also engaged other legal services providers to broaden community involvement.
To help ensure their program continues to flourish and meet clients’ needs, ExxonMobil and Catholic Charities review their work every year. They also continually seek new opportunities – new models, places, and people to serve – as the landscape of immigration changes in the community.
About the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a project of Pro Bono Institute, created the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award to recognize innovative pro bono collaborations of in-house legal departments with law firms and public interest organizations. Pro bono partnerships that include at least one in-house legal department with one or more law firms and/or public interest organizations are eligible. The CPBO Advisory Board selects the award recipients.
The award honors legal departments and the organizations with which they partner in the provision of legal services to those in need. The award recipients are departments, law firms, and public interest organizations that have demonstrated an impact in their community through their partnership project, shown substantial involvement in the project by in-house lawyers, made tangible steps toward sustaining the relationship among the partners, developed innovative substantive or structural approaches in support of the partnership’s effort, and addressed a critical legal need or assisted a particularly vulnerable community or target population.
Over the years, the impact and innovation of the projects supported by the award recipients have been tremendously important both in the projects’ ability to address the legal needs of the communities being served and in the role the partnerships have played in supporting and furthering pro bono work, especially within the in-house community. Through these partnerships, legal departments, law firms, and public interest organizations have devised programs that contribute to the legal profession’s efforts to close the justice gap and that create strong legacies of effective pro bono service.