Guest Blog: Legal Pro Bono at Salesforce

SalesforceWe at The PBEye are inspired every day by the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatories.  In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the launch of the CPBO Challenge® initiative, we are showcasing some of their projects and letting them inspire you too.

At Salesforce**, giving back is part of our DNA. Through our 1-1-1 model of integrated philanthropy, all employees are given seven days of volunteer time off (VTO) that they can use toward any cause they are passionate about. The legal team actively participated in VTO events, using our hours to volunteer at organizations like SF Food Bank and the San Francisco Zoo. While we were active volunteers, there was a hunger to help out with skills-based volunteering – to use our legal skills to help the less fortunate have access to justice, spanning the legal departments of both Salesforce and, the philanthropic arm of the company.

With the support of the Salesforce General Counsel Amy Weaver, we got started quickly building a program. The Association of Corporate Counsel** quickly led me to Eve Runyon, then-director of Corporate Pro Bono, who provided a host of information, networking opportunities, and help starting the program. After talking to Eve, I went about by getting support within the department, forming a Pro Bono Committee and surveying the lawyers. Armed with feedback on our team’s interest areas, we jumped at the first opportunity to partner with the San Francisco Bar Association’s Justice and Diversity Center, along with other lawyers from firms and veteran services providers, to staff a one-day free legal and social services clinic for U.S. Veterans. From there, we continued to find events we could do at least quarterly, slowly moving from a headquarter-centric approach to a broader one that could include our global offices.

One of the most interesting projects we have worked on to date was completed globally, with contributions from lawyers in Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York. The Salesforce legal teams partnered with Baker & McKenzie*† to draft a toolkit for judges in South Asia adjudicating terrorism cases in their national courts. The toolkit was designed to support the effective adjudication of terrorism cases by judges from the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. The project was a collaborative partnership between the two organizations with a truly global scope resulting in one of the strongest pro bono efforts the team has undertaken to date. The resulting toolkit will be used as a template to be adapted by judges and judicial academies in other regions throughout the world.

The legal pro bono program has really blossomed at Salesforce over the last two years and continues to be a popular way to give back to the communities in which the lawyers work and live on a global basis. You can read about our latest project in Brussels at our blog.

Shanti Ariker is SVP & General Counsel of 

* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
** denotes a CPBO Challenge® signatory