At a time when law firms are being particularly careful about spending, there are synergies to be leveraged by integrating the firm’s pro bono program with its business giving and charitable foundation. There are different models of law firm charitable foundations and they vary in the way they operate, are structured, and how they intersect with the pro bono program. Check out the Law Firm Pro Bono Project’s recently updated compilation of Member Firms and Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Signatories that have charitable giving foundations, where you can read about the foundations’ missions, structures, and the organizations to which they donate.
A firm foundation can play a critical role in the firm’s pro bono efforts by funding expenses associated with pro bono matters, including revolving litigation expenses, such as expert fees, travel, deposition transcripts, etc. Donations and financial support for public interest groups and legal services providers are, likewise, critical. Indeed, in the Challenge Statement of Principles and Commentary, “[w]e strongly encourage law firms to continue and expand their financial support of legal services organizations. These organizations need both service and monetary contributions from major law firms.” Firm contributions to nonprofit legal organizations, whose expertise and assistance make law firm pro bono possible, are essential to maintaining an effective pipeline of pro bono matters and a support network for legal services.
Visit our Resource Clearinghouse to download the publication. If you are with a Member Firm and are new to the Resource Clearinghouse, please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson to register.
Hat tip to PBI intern Lily Liu for her research assistance.