Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer
Brad Smith is Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer. In this role, Smith is responsible for the company’s corporate, external, and legal affairs. The teams he leads are responsible for the company’s legal work, its intellectual property portfolio, patent licensing business, corporate philanthropy, government affairs, public policy, corporate governance, and social responsibility work. In addition, Smith works to advance several significant legal diversity and pro bono initiatives.
Microsoft’s Corporate, External and Legal Affairs Department (CELA), a charter signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, is a diverse and multidisciplinary team of approximately 1,300 legal, business, and corporate affairs professionals operating in 55 countries worldwide. CELA professionals have actively engaged in pro bono for many years on a variety of efforts.
- Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
KIND is Microsoft’s signature pro bono program. It began in 2008, inspired by Microsoft’s involvement with Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ) in Seattle. KIND provides bono legal representation for unaccompanied children facing immigration proceedings in the U.S. where the need is greatest and works at the micro-level on individual cases through volunteers from law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools, as well as at the macro-level by advocating for policy changes that benefit unaccompanied children. KIND has worked with more than 12,500 attorneys and partnered with more than 330 companies, law firms, law schools, and bar associations and has served more than 5,000 children. In addition, it has advocated for critical changes in U.S. law, policy, and practice to improve the treatment and protection of unaccompanied children. In just this year, more than 100 Microsoft employees have worked on KIND cases to provide protection and safety to unaccompanied children in the U.S.
- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
DACA was announced by President Obama in 2012. Shortly after the announcement, Microsoft began working with Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) to administer legal clinics to help address the needs of children and youth who came to the United States at a young age. Microsoft offers the legal staff and office space to run the clinics, while NWIRP provides the referrals and technical assistance for pro bono volunteers. Community members who have participated in the legal clinics are eligible to receive protection from deportation, and a recent study of those granted DACA status showed that after one year in the program, DACA recipients saw their average earnings rise by 45 percent.
- Pro Bono Around the World
Volunteers from Microsoft have worked on a number of direct service pro bono matters in the U.S. and abroad, which includes providing transactional legal advice to social entrepreneurs, drafting disaster relief provisions for global relief organizations, and working with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Pro Bono Program, which helps low-income inventors apply for and secure patents.
In addition, Smith has served for many years as co-chair of Corporate Pro Bono’s Advisory Board, PBI’s global partnership project with the Association of Corporate Counsel. For all of their great work, PBI presented Smith and the legal department of Microsoft with its 2014 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award which honors Judge Zelon’s (California 2nd District Court of Appeal) pro bono leadership and her singular contributions to enhancing justice for all.