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2016 PBI Annual Conference

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The 2016 PBI Annual Conference, held on March 23-25, attracted nearly 350 participants from law firms, legal departments, and public interest organizations from around the world.

The Conference began on the morning of March 23 with the “Law Firm Pro Bono 101” and “In House Pro Bono: Top 10 Basics” sessions for newcomers to pro bono and those looking to begin pro bono programs, followed by Regional Joint Networking Exchanges. The afternoon was dedicated to law firm and in-house specific substantive and networking sessions including “Peer-to-Peer Networking Sessions” for law firm attendees and an “In-House Pro Bono Meet and Greet” and the “In-House Plenary: Managing Risks Related to In-House Pro Bono” session for in-house attendees.

On March 24, the Opening Plenary featured the perspective of a pro bono client who delivered a message of gratitude and told a story of the power of pro bono. Ahmed al Brich, like thousands of Iraqis, assisted the U.S. in its efforts in Iraq, and, as a result of his work, had his life and the lives of his family threatened. Al Brich recounted the pro bono assistance he received to navigate the process to move his family to safety in the U.S. and said that without the help of his attorney to complete the applications and prepare to be interviewed, he feels certain that he and his family would not be alive and he would not have had the opportunity to attend Georgetown University and debate with his tween daughters. Al Brich ended his remarks by calling on those in the room and all lawyers to provide pro bono to the multitude of refugees in need.

The remainder of the day featured cutting-edge pro bono programming and concluded with a new Pro Bono Expo experience. This year, the Pro Bono Expo had a more open format that allowed attendees to visit information tables hosted by two dozen public interest groups and learn about public interest organizations and potential pro bono partnership opportunities.

On Thursday evening, PBI presented the 2016 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award to Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary John Schultz and the Office of the General Counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company** (HPE) during the 2016 PBI Annual Conference Reception at the Supreme Court of the United States. The program featured remarks from the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, HPE ‎Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Laura Heltebran, who accepted the award on behalf of Schultz, and PBI Board of Directors Chair James W. Jones. Read more about HPE’s pro bono program here. PBI also celebrated its 20th Anniversary at the Reception, and Senior Advisor to the Commission of Food and Drugs Bruce Kuhlik, former general counsel of Merck & Co., Inc.**, gave remarks congratulating PBI on the milestone.

PBI Board of Directors Chair James W. Jones presents the 2016 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award to Hewlett Packard Enterprise Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Laura Heltebran.

The Conference concluded on March 25 with a special presentation from Dr. Larry Richard of LawyerBrain.com entitled “Why Do Lawyers Volunteer?” Dr. Richard is a renowned lawyer-psychologist who has extensively studied the personality data of more than 5,000 lawyers. His presentation focused on how lawyers think and operate and how that information can be used to more effectively engage lawyers in pro bono.

Award Recipient: John Schultz and the Office of the General Counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company 

Press Release: PBI Honors John Schultz and the Office of the General Counsel of Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Remarks: Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Photos: 2016 PBI Annual Conference Reception

Social Media: View Tweets from the Conference