In-House Pro Bono in the News… Again!

Two more legal teams recently caught the attention of The PBEye when The National Law Journal (NLJ) released its Chicago Legal Departments of the Year Awards: Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), which was named as department of year, and McDonald’s Corporation**, recipient of top honors for pro bono.

Achicago adm blog imagemong the many reasons ADM was selected, NLJ noted the department’s up-and-coming pro bono program. When ADM General Counsel Cameron Findlay joined the company in mid-2013, the department had no pro bono program to speak of.  Since then, Findlay has prioritized pro bono and called upon members of ADM’s newly formed law firm alliance to partner on pro bono and tap into existing opportunities.  His dedication comes as no surprise, as Findlay was an Equal Justice Works’ 2013 Scales of Justice Honoree, awarded for his pro bono efforts, including establishing a successful pro bono program at his previous company, Medtronic, Inc.** The PBEye looks forward to reporting on ADM’s future efforts!

Over the past 15 years, McDonald’s legal department has transformed itself from a department with no pro bono program to one recognized as Chicago’s best.  The combination of General Counsel Gloria Santona’s enthusiastic support and Senior Counsel Pauline Levy’s passion for pro bono has resulted in the development of a formal pro bono program and a strong pro bono culture. In 2014, McDonald’s legal team exceeded the CPBO Challenge® goal of 50 percent participation in pro bono. McDonald’s pro bono efforts include a wide variety of projects, allowing the employees to pursue their interests in a variety of forums. Recently, McDonald’s partnered with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago to create the SNAP Pro Bono Project, in which volunteers assist clients applying for food stamps.

Congratulations to ADM and McDonald’s and kudos to NLJ for recognizing the importance of pro bono and including it among the top criteria for assessing legal departments!  To read about more legal departments that have been recognized for their pro bono efforts, see Pro Bono is Key in the “Best of 2015” and Evaluating Legal Departments with Pro Bono in Mind. For more information on in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.

** Denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory

Hat tip to PBI intern Adam Baginski for his contribution to this blog.