On October 3, CPBO re-teamed with ACC Chicago, local in-house pro bono leaders, and DLA Piper*†, to support the development of in-house pro bono in Illinois. The organizations hosted a panel discussion on the ethical issues involved with in-house pro bono and provided an opportunity for in-house counsel to network with representatives from public interest organizations that offer and support pro bono engagements in Illinois. This was the latest in a growing list of in-house pro bono focused activities in the state, which includes the Illinois Supreme Court amending its practice rules to remove unnecessary restrictions on registered in-house counsel providing pro bono legal services. The program expanded upon an event co-hosts presented last year to deepen the already robust in-house pro bono culture in Illinois.
This year, engaged in the conversation were Darryl Bradford, general counsel, Exelon Corporation**; Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride; Eve Runyon, director, CPBO; Chuck Smith, assistant general counsel, Allstate Insurance Company**; and Jeff Torosian, partner, DLA Piper*†. Topics included pro bono metrics, the attorney-client relationship, multijurisdictional practice rules, and liability insurance. In addition, panelists shared some of the lessons they learned with regard to in-house pro bono. Bradford reminded all in-house counsel that they are “more powerful than [they] think” and that they can effect change for pro bono not only within their own departments but the larger legal community as well. Bookending the panel was Alix Darrow, president of ACC Chicago, who welcomed attendees to the event and Kelly Tautges, director of pro bono and court advocacy at The Chicago Bar Foundation, and Jody Adler, director of The Law Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, who concluded the panel by reiterating the importance of pro bono legal services and highlighting some of the numerous opportunities for in-house counsel in Illinois. Many of these opportunities will be covered in the forthcoming new edition of the Pro Bono Opportunities Guide.
** denotes Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project