2017 Annual Dinner Co-Chairs

Laureen E. Seeger
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
American Express Company

Laureen E. Seeger is American Express Company’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel. Prior to becoming American Express’ GC in 2014, Seeger served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of McKesson Corporation.

American Express developed a formal pro bono program for its legal department staff in 2002. The department sought to formalize a program in order to expand the pro bono efforts of American Express’ attorneys and staff and to support the company’s overall corporate social responsibility efforts.  Today, members of the American Express General Counsel’s Organization provide pro bono legal services domestically and internationally on a broad array of topics.

“American Express is guided by a deep set of values, starting with a fundamental commitment to making a positive difference in people’s lives through its products and services. This commitment extends to our community service efforts in the many communities in which we live and work,” said Seeger of American Express’ employee volunteerism programs.

American Express’ global legal team believes that nonprofits are an essential element for affecting positive change in underserved communities. For over a decade, volunteers from American Express have worked with Lawyers Alliance of New York to provide pro bono services to various nonprofits. American Express holds clinics in cooperation with Lawyers Alliance of New York to work with nonprofits that benefit children, families, artists, immigrants, and low-income individuals living in New York.  American Express also works regularly and extensively with several other nonprofits in the NY metropolitan area, including Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, Voices of September 11, Pro Bono Partnership and Kids in Need of Legal Defense (KIND).

Tony West
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

PepsiCo, Inc.

Tony West is General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Executive Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs of PepsiCo, Inc. (PepsiCo). West leads the company’s global legal, compliance and ethics, government affairs, and public policy functions.

As PepsiCo’s chief global legal officer, West has emphasized the importance of in-house counsel performing as supportive business partners while maintaining a values-based, ethical corporate culture. Under his leadership, PepsiCo has reaffirmed its reputation for high business integrity, receiving the Corporate Leadership Award from Transparency International-USA and frequently has been recognized as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

West has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining PepsiCo, West was the Associate Attorney General of the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice’s third ranking official, where he led the Justice Department’s efforts to protect Americans’ civil rights; assist homeowners who suffered losses during the 2008 financial crisis; strengthen the federal relationship with sovereign Native American nations; and secure access to criminal and civil legal aid regardless of income.

As a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory, PepsiCo supports a culture of giving back. Since 2016, over 25% of PepsiCo’s New York-based attorneys participated in one or more pro bono projects, providing more than 250 hours of service. This year, PepsiCo is well on its way to nearly doubling both participation and hours of service. West elaborates, saying, “At PepsiCo, we believe companies must do three things exceedingly well: deliver strong performance; deliver it in a way that is sustainable over time; and deliver it in a way that is responsible and responsive to the needs of society. PepsiCo embraces volunteerism, providing a range of volunteer opportunities for our employees and celebrates the meaningful difference PepsiCo employees make in the diverse communities we all share.”

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of the company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. These pro bono initiatives enable PepsiCo to do well by doing good.

  • Help Centers in Flint, Michigan
    Through PepsiCo’s PepsiCorps program – a skills-based volunteer program where PepsiCo employees apply their business know-how to address societal needs or challenges – a team of logistics experts sought to find ways to best satisfy the individual and collective needs of those impacted by the Flint water crisis. In this instance, PepsiCo employees used their supply chain expertise to plan the creation and operation of Help Centers that provide food, water, mental health services and nutrition education for the Flint community. The PepsiCo Foundation granted more than $1 million to fund the Help Centers, provide nutritious meals for Flint school children, and fund recycling education initiatives and support within Flint schools. Watch the inspiring video on PepsiCo’s work in Flint.
  • Assistance for Victims of Abuse and Domestic Violence
    PepsiCo’s Corporate Governance team worked with the Pace Law School Women’s Justice Center to conduct intake interviews of clients (survivors of elder abuse and domestic violence) to assist in preparation of wills, living wills, healthcare proxies, and powers of attorney.
  • Immigration Clinic
    Members of the PepsiCo law department assisted a law firm in operating an immigration clinic that trained and helped clients with completing their citizenship applications.

David A. Zapolsky
Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary

Amazon.com, Inc.

David Zapolsky is Amazon’s Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary. Before becoming Amazon’s General Counsel in 2012, Zapolsky served 13 years as Associate General Counsel, leading Amazon’s Litigation and Regulatory group and advising on a wide variety of litigation, privacy, consumer protection, competition law, securities regulation, intellectual property, and labor and employment matters.

Zapolsky founded the Amazon Legal Department’s pro bono program, known as the Amazon Justice League, in 2014 and signed onto the CPBO Challenge® initiative in 2016. The legal department partners with law firms and nonprofits around the world to address a wide range of issues such as representing refugees in immigration matters to drafting wills for first responders and their families. “Providing legal services to those unable to pay is not just an ethical obligation for attorneys – it gives the entire Amazon global legal team an opportunity to serve and learn about our community, and by extension our customers, in new and meaningful ways,” said Zapolsky about Amazon’s pro bono program. Examples of just a few of Amazon’s current projects include:

  • Adoptions
    The Amazon Studios Legal team partnered with Public Counsel, a pro bono law firm in Los Angeles, to serve families who could otherwise not afford to make their adoptions official. “We helped our families prepare lots of court paperwork and made sure they were receiving the correct compensation,” explained Harmoni Cruz, Amazon Studios Corporate Counsel. Amazon and its Amazon Studios, Movies and TV in-house corporate legal team was selected for the 2017 Association of Corporate Counsel of Southern California (ACC-SoCal) Pro Bono Corporate Counsel of the Year Award for the team’s tireless support of the adoptions program.
  • Seattle-Area Artists
    On the third Wednesday of every month volunteers from Amazon’s legal team provide free one-on-one legal consultations to local artists. The regular clinics are held at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters in conjunction with Washington Lawyers for the Arts, a nonprofit that provides legal resources to local artists and arts organizations. Artists who attend the clinic find help on a number of issues including fair use, work-for-hire contracts, royalties, and copyright laws. “This program gives artists some of the tools and resources we need to be the art-makers we know we are supposed to be,” said one client.
  • Wills for First Responders
    Amazon partners with the Washington First Responders Wills Clinic to prepare estate planning documents for first responders, including police officers, sherrif’s deputies, firefighters, and paramedics. At a recent clinic, more than 50 Amazon legal professionals assisted 110 first responders, a record in the clinic’s history.
  • Working Globally
    Amazon legal teams from around the world dedicate time and effort to supporting their local community. For example, the legal team in China partnered with the nonprofit Beijing New Citizens Living Center to educate 60 fourth grade students at Xiangyang Elementary School about the law. The session was designed to help the children of migrant workers who recently moved from rural parts of China. Volunteers put on a four-act play that demonstrate why it is important to abide by laws and how to use the laws to protect themselves. Each act was followed by a lesson on the legal consequences of the characters’ actions as well as the rights of the victim.