Legal Week and The American Lawyer recently hosted the 2016 Transatlantic Legal Awards, celebrating achievement by both firms and in-house legal departments in global legal affairs. In particular, The PBEye was thrilled to hear that among the awardees were many leaders with regard to pro bono, including Microsoft Corporation**, its President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, and DLA Piper*†.
DLA Piper was recognized as Pro Bono Programme of the Year in honor of its signature pro bono project, aimed at upholding the rights of and providing legal assistance to the roughly 13.9 million immigrants across the globe displaced by war and conflict. With participation from 18 DLA Piper offices worldwide, the project has provided legal assistance to more than 175 vulnerable individuals and 10 nongovernmental agencies. In total, 180 DLA Piper attorneys have volunteered more than 7,000 pro bono hours to the project so far and their efforts continue.
Microsoft Corporation was named the Transatlantic In-House Team of the Year and Smith was named the Transatlantic In-House Leader of the Year. The reasons for their selection are surely many, including the legal department’s tremendous pro bono program and Smith’s leadership to assist some of the most vulnerable individuals among us: unaccompanied immigrant children. Like DLA Piper’s honored project, Microsoft’s pro bono efforts focus on providing legal assistance to the immigrant community. In addition to many initiatives Microsoft’s pro bono program has supported over a decade, the department led by Smith formed Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice (VAIJ) in 2003 and co-found Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) in 2008. Over the years, KIND has engaged nearly 6,000 volunteer attorneys to provide legal support to more than 5,500 unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children as they face deportation proceedings and led successful lobbying campaigns in support of crucial changes in U.S. immigration policy. Without their efforts, thousands would go without the legal support they desperately need.
Congratulations to DLA Piper, Microsoft, Smith, and all awardees of the Transatlantic Legal Awards for their tremendous achievements. We especially commend their ongoing commitments to pro bono work both at home and abroad. For more information about in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
Hat tip to PBI Intern Jake Thorne for his contribution to this blog.