A Bounty of Rich Programming:
PBI 2022 Annual Conference
It’s less than three weeks away!
In-Person: Tuesday, March 8 – Thursday, March 10, 2022
Virtual: Wednesday, April 6 – Thursday, April 7, 2022
The PBI 2022 Annual Conference provides rich programming with flexibility. In-Person registration includes access to the additional Virtual programming in April. For those unable to attend In-Person, PBI offers a Virtual-only registration option.
We asked our Law Firm Pro Bono Project® staff and our CPBO Corporate Pro Bono® project, aka “the experts,” to highlight two In-Person sessions, and two Virtual sessions. While all Annual Conference sessions and plenaries are great, their selections show the breadth and depth of our programming.
Peace of mind. A regulated nervous system in the present moment sharpens clarity, focus, and balance in everyday life. This workshop experience, designed for lawyers and legal staff, will give legal professionals the fundamental skills to bring calm, clarity, and focus into their lives and work. Attendees will learn a simple, effective meditation method and other mindfulness tools, calibrated for a legal professional’s busy workday, that sharpen focus, calm the mind, and cultivate resilience in the face of anxiety and stress. Leave this workshop with tools for establishing an effective mindfulness practice that will improve performance and overall well-being. Foundations of Mindfulness, Thursday, March 10, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. EDT
Justice + Humanity. The 2022 Annual Conference offers a unique opportunity in the Connecting Justice and Humanity session to first learn about the role of pro bono representation in the criminal appellate system and to later participate in a virtual visit to the Bent County Correctional Facility in Los Animas, Colorado, through the Douglass Project’s Prison Visitation Program. The goal of this Project is to improve the system through personal exposure to the humanity and value of the incarcerated population. The post-Conference virtual visit will be scheduled for a time that is convenient to participants! Thursday, March 10, 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. EDT
Forward thinking. The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) wave already has swept through Europe and is building in the U.S. and elsewhere. Adding social purpose to organizations is likely to have profound impacts for pro bono, pro bono leaders, law firms, corporate legal departments and legal service organizations across the globe. Attend this cutting edge session to learn more about the intersection of ESG and pro bono and explore how pro bono programs and leadership positions are likely to be reshaped. Will ESG Serve as a Driver for Greater Pro Bono? Wednesday, April 6, 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT
Be the change. Have you wondered what you can do to create positive change as a lawyer? There has been a shift toward movement lawyering in the last several years, and pro bono attorneys do have a role. The Role of Pro Bono Attorneys in the Fight for Systems Change will address how to search the root causes of harms in law and policy, the role of lawyers in response efforts, and the impact of supporting local organizations. Learn how to make a change in your community with the skillset you have and join us for this important discussion. Thursday, April 7, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT
Many sessions offer CLE credit and will be available on demand after the conference. PBI has partnered with Thomson Reuters and West LegalEdcenter to facilitate CLE credit.
Visit the Annual Conference website, and register today! The PBI Annual Conference is the legal profession’s premier pro bono event tailored to the interests and needs of pro bono leaders at law firms, in-house legal departments, and nonprofit legal services organizations. We look forward to seeing you in March!
Our primary concern is the health and safety of our attendees and staff. This year we have structured programming to accommodate a smaller in-person Conference that addresses spacing and safety concerns. While current federal and local COVID guidelines may change, PBI will require proof of vaccination and masks for participation in PBI’s 2022 Conference events.
Law Firm Pro Bono Project Convenes Defining Law Firm
Pro Bono Working Group
For more than 25 years, the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative, administered by Pro Bono Institute (PBI), has served as a polestar for pro bono, with signatory firms committing to contribute three percent or five percent of their total billable hours to pro bono annually. The Challenge, and its definition of pro bono, has become an industry standard guiding well over 60,000 attorneys at Challenge signatory law firms (as well as many other organizations). For their part, Challenge signatory firms have responded to the call, boosting pro bono hours three-fold in just the last 20 years alone. However, as pro bono programs have expanded and become more sophisticated, how pro bono resources should be deployed to best contribute to the public good and move our society closer to universal access to justice has also grown.
In August 2021, PBI’s Law Firm Pro Bono Project convened the Defining Law Firm Pro Bono working group to re-examine the definition of pro bono, as outlined in Challenge documents, to ensure they remain current and constructive in meeting the needs of underserved communities. The working group consists of a diverse group of 13 law firm pro bono program leaders. The key areas under review by working group members are impact finance and social impact, public rights, global pro bono, and racial justice. The group is expected to complete its work and make recommendations to PBI leadership later in 2022.
Pro Bono & the AAPI Community: A Conversation with Christina Yang of Advancing Justice – LA
Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders account for 7.2% of the U.S. population, and are the fastest growing ethnic population in the U.S. In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in hate incidents targeting the Asian American community. PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono project recently joined Christina Yang, General Counsel and Pro Bono Director at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA), in conversation to learn more about the challenges facing the AAPI community and what pro bono lawyers can do to help.
Advancing Justice – LA is also always looking for more attorney and other professional volunteers for virtual and in-person opportunities like consulting in their all-purpose legal clinics, issue clinics, and longer-term cases. Read our latest blog for more information.
Update to PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge Initiative
In January 2022, PBI announced that it was expanding the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge pledge to expressly embody a commitment by Challenge signatories to combat racial injustices and other systemic injustice through their pro bono work. In particular, the following provision was included in the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge Statement of Principles:
5. In furtherance of these principles, our firm also agrees:
- d) To support the proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all by identifying and volunteering for pro bono opportunities that target racial injustice and other systemic inequities in the legal system.
Heartened by both the individual and collective efforts being made by law firms to address racial injustice, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Project initiative, with the endorsement of both the PBI Board of Directors and the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee embraced the legal communities’ renewed commitment to ensure that there is no room for racism and systemic inequities in a legal system that promised access to justice for all.
These changes to the Challenge will allow Challenge signatory firms to continue to support the special needs of the poor, while re-examining what it means to apply best efforts to promote access to justice for all.
Tell us about your impactful pro bono work!
Every year, CPBO Corporate Pro Bono project celebrates partnerships in pro bono work between in-house legal departments, law firms, and legal service organizations. CPBO is now accepting nominations for the 2022 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award. The award recognizes innovative collaborative approaches to pro bono involving legal departments partnering with law firms and/or public interest organizations. The award(s) will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner on Wednesday, November 2, 2022 in New York City. Nominations must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest organization partners.
The criteria for selection are:
- A legal pro bono project that has a demonstrated impact on its community/target group;
- Substantial involvement by in-house lawyers;
- Tangible steps toward making the partnership sustainable;
- Innovative substantive and/or structural (e.g., delivery model) approaches to the effort; and,
- Addresses a critical legal need and/or particularly vulnerable community/target group.
Please submit your nomination form by April 15, 2022. View a list of previous CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award winners. Please contact CPBO with any questions about the nomination process.
We Need More Data!
In 2006, at the urging of chief legal officers, CPBO launched an initiative enabling legal departments to identify, benchmark, and communicate their support for pro bono service. The Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® statement is now the standard for in-house pro bono. It is a simple, voluntary statement of commitment to pro bono service by legal departments, their lawyers, and staff.
In 2021, CPBO published Corporate Pro Bono’s 2021 Challenge® Report (reporting on the year 2020), “In-House Pro Bono in a Challenging Year.” In the report, CPBO provided data on in-house pro bono participation by CPBO Challenge®signatories. The Report helps in-house legal departments benchmark their pro bono efforts against their peers. In the U.S., 37% of the respondents met or exceeded the goal of 50% participation by attorneys, and 17% of the respondents met or exceeded the goal of 50% participation by other legal department staff. Globally, 48% of responding signatories with lawyers outside of the U.S. engaged in pro bono outside of the U.S.
In February 2022, CPBO sent its annual survey to Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories requesting their January 1 – December 31, 2021 pro bono data. Later this year, the Project will issue a report on signatories’ progress toward meeting the Challenge goal of 50% participation annually by both lawyers and staff.
Additionally, in February 2022, CPBO sent its biennial Benchmarking survey to Corporate Pro Bono Challenge®signatories and other CPBO stakeholders, requesting information about their pro bono programs. CPBO asks its key constituents to complete this survey to assist CPBO and others with understanding the current state of in-house pro bono, including program structure, the types of pro bono matters handled, metrics, partnerships, and more.
If you received one or both of these surveys, please submit your legal department’s responses by April 4, 2022. If you need your department’s Challenge or Benchmarking survey link re-sent, or if you did not receive a survey and would like your department to participate, please contact CPBO Project Assistant Lily Constine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMPORTANT Reminder for
Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge Signatories
On January 10, 2022 each PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge signatory firm should have received a custom link to our survey seeking information on the status of its pro bono program in 2021. With the exception of firms that joined the Challenge in 2021 or 2022, all signatories have committed to furnishing information on their pro bono programs to PBI on an annual basis and responding to the survey fulfills this commitment. PBI and Challenge signatories rely on robust survey participation to support the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s issuance of its publicly available annual report on the state of pro bono, as well as to provide confidential custom benchmarking analysis for Project member firms. If you have already submitted your response – thank you! If not, signatories firms have until March 1, 2022 to complete this year’s survey. If you are Challenge signatory firm and (1) did not receive, or cannot find, your survey response link; (2) are having technical issues using the link or completing the on-line survey; or (3) have questions about any of the survey items: please send us a note at email@example.com as soon as possible.
Working Hard Virtually
A reminder of the resources you have through PBI.
Despite the difficulties experienced in 2021, PBI’s Corporate and Law Firm Projects initiatives continued to create and update helpful resources, provide technical assistance, and continued to expand the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative and the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative.
During the 2021 Annual Award Gala, CPBO presented McDonald’s Corporation with the 2021 Partner Award for their work with Goldberg Kohn, Jenner & Block, and the National Immigrant Justice Center in representing asylum seekers to be granted asylum in the US. In conjunction with this award, CPBO updated McDonald’s Best Practice Profile that was written to highlight McDonald’s pro bono program in 2015. The new McDonald’s Best Practice Profile contains updated information on the department’s pro bono projects as well as updated pro bono program statistics.
CPBO’s published infographics were also updated in 2021. The newly published infographics are great resources on various in-house pro bono topics including insurance, CSR, and ethics. They contain up-to-date information from CPBO’s most recently collected Challenge and Benchmarking data. Check out the updated infographics page here.
Technical assistance services are provided by CPBO at no cost to established in-house pro bono programs in addition to departments looking to start a pro bono program. In 2021, CPBO reached a record number of Technical Assistance by completing over 200 total hours of technical assistance.
Additionally, in 2021 CPBO launched a year-long Challenge Outreach campaign in recognition of the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative’s 15th Anniversary. Between January 2021 and December 2021, Corporate Pro Bono reached out to in-house departments with established pro bono programs and invited them to join the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge initiative. By signing the Challenge statement, a legal department commits to an aspirational goal of having 50% of the departments’ legal staff involved in pro bono work. Throughout 2021, CPBO had 14 new Challenge signatories, and as of December 31, 2021, 189 departments have signed on to the CPBO Challenge. Although the official outreach campaign has come to an end, CPBO will continue to recruit new Challenge signatories to promote the importance of in-house pro bono.
The Law Firm Pro Bono Project® initiative had a productive 2021. Among other things, the Project:
- Updated and issued its annual Law Firm Pro Challenge® survey and reported on results, including record breaking pro bono efforts by law firms in 2020
- Grew the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Membership
- Assisted/consulted with over a dozen Project member firms in support of their pro bono programs
- Increased the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge signatory list
- Answered more than 20 What Counts questions with respect to the Challenge
- Participated in an amicus brief on recovery of attorney fees in a pro bono representation
- Initiated a Working Group to review the definition of pro bono under the Challenge and related PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge materials for currency in today’s world
- Added combatting systematic injustice, expressly including racial injustice, to the scope of commitment embodied by the Challenge Principles
- Published five blogs on a variety of topics of interest to pro bono stakeholders
- Released three podcasts covering issues important to the assessment and provision of pro bono services
PBI Welcomes New Assistant Director, Corporate Pro Bono
PBI welcomes Johnna Carey-Park as the Assistant Director of the Corporate Pro Bono Project. Prior to joining 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. Carey-Park received a J.D. from Indiana University, Maurer School of Law, and a B.A. from Transylvania University.
* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member