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2015 Partner Award Winner – Large Law

About the BNY Mellon, White & Case, and National LGBT Bar Partnership

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), the global pro bono partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Council (ACC), is proud to present the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law category to BNY Mellon, in partnership with the National LGBT Bar Association (LGBT Bar) and White and Case, for their collective development of the Online LGBT Tax Resource, an innovative tool that provides pro bono legal assistance to same-sex married couples in the U.S. This partnership, which leverages both legal insight from a team of dozens of attorneys and technology to aid tens and potentially hundreds of thousands of people with a specific, substantial need, is a model of highly efficient and effective pro bono service.

BNY Mellon, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, first began to formalize pro bono efforts within its legal department in 2010, successfully integrating pro bono service in six of its offices across three countries in the first year. Since then, BNY Mellon volunteers have supported a variety of pro bono projects assisting people in need around the world. Projects include providing legal services to micro-entrepreneurs starting new businesses in New York, assisting foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong with employment and immigration matters, and working with U.S. veterans to secure benefits.

In 2014, BNY Mellon joined with the LGBT Bar and White and Case to develop the Online LGBT Tax Resource. During the first year of the partnership, lawyers from BNY Mellon and White & Case exhaustively researched state codes, administrative guidance, and case law to provide state-specific information to help same-sex married couples understand their filing status in their jurisdiction. Thirty-four attorneys, including 14 from BNY Mellon, invested more than 500 hours in the project to research, draft, launch, promote, and update the first-of-its-kind online resource tool.

The Online LGBT Tax Resource provides a comprehensive, state-by-state list of reporting regulations and guidance for LGBT couples to be used as a starting point for preparing tax returns. With clear summaries and explanations of the tax law in each jurisdiction and links to instructions and forms, the tool has given LGBT families the most complete state-by-state information currently available. Prior to the work of these pro bono teams, same-sex couples and their tax advisors had to search the internet across many sources and sites for limited information about the laws in a specific state.

With the rapidly evolving laws surrounding same-sex couples, BNY Mellon and White & Case attorneys updated the resource in September 2014 and again March 2015 and intend to do so again to reflect guidance issued by various states in the wake of the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. CPBO congratulates BNY Mellon, the LGBT Bar, and White and Case for their innovative, impactful work and continued collaboration.