Spark for Change: Eisai’s Legal Department Prepares End of Life Documents for Cancer Patients

A sign at Eisai

“Human health care” (hhc) is an integral part of the corporate philosophy of Eisai Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese pharmaceutical company. Employees are encouraged to “give [their] first thoughts to patients and their families and helping to increase the benefits health care provides.”  This mission drives Eisai’s commercial as well as community service efforts; and as of 2015, its legal department’s pro bono efforts as well.

On November 8, the Eisai legal department joined with co-hosts CPBO, Drescher & Cheslow, McCarter & English*†, and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice to host its third Clinic in a Box® program, two of which have been dedicated to preparing end-of-life documents for clients.

Eisai attorneys and colleagues drafting documents.

Like previous Eisai Clinic in a Box® programs, the clinic took place during the department’s all-hands meeting, bringing staff from Andover, Massachusetts and Mexico City, Mexico to Eisai’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.  Twenty-two Eisai volunteers received in-depth training from Josh Cheslow of Drescher & Cheslow and Laura Kelly of McCarter & English on preparing wills, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies.

Extremely grateful as a cancer patient for this most generous opportunity which relieved stress in a most comforting setting being so well cared for. Thanks for the unexpected delicious lunch and especially the much-needed transportation.

– Clinic Client

Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung (center) witnessing client documents.

Post-training, volunteers broke into teams to meet with seven clients, cancer patients or survivors, to discuss the information and decisions needed to prepare the documents. Following the client meeting, volunteers drafted the documents while clients ate lunch and spoke with Eisai CEO Ivan Cheung and General Counsel Vince Andrews. Once the documents were ready, clients met with their respective volunteers again to review and finalize the documents and then sign them in the presence of a notary and witnesses.

It was an emotional but rewarding day for many of the clients who appreciated the volunteers’ assistance.

I am so grateful for this experience and accomplishing something long on my mind. Everyone was so kind and knowledgeable – thank you so much.

– Clinic Client

ACC chapters and legal departments interested in hosting a similar clinic, can find more information here and read about previous clinics here. To discuss in-house pro bono, please contact CPBO.

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