Social Impact

PBI 2022 Social Impact Summit

Hosted September 29-30, the PBI Social Impact Summit convened senior management and other leaders from law firms, companies, and other key stakeholders to analyze the “S” in Environmental, Social, and Governance standards and to determine how access to justice and pro bono can play a critical role in amplifying an organization’s commitment to measurable social impact.

The Summit featured a half-day Town Hall forum on Thursday, September 29, followed by a Networking Reception that evening. The Town Hall presented an engaging, moderated discussion among thought leaders from law firms, companies, and academia. In the audience were other law firm and company leaders as well as ESG and pro bono professionals.

Workshops on Friday, September 30 continued the conversation and invited attendees to expand on the Town Hall discussion and brainstorm specific strategies to promote social impact goals.

Themes that were identified at the 2022 Summit included:

  • Access to justice and pro bono legal services should play a critical role in the “S” in ESG.
  • The legal profession’s focus on pro bono as its primary lever of action limits progress toward access to justice.
  • Law firms and companies should do more and different things to have more of an impact on access to justice.
  • Law firms and companies are in the early stages of understanding and advancing the “S” in ESG.
  • Currently, ESG and pro bono operate in separate silos but they don’t have to.


PBI 2023 Social Impact Pre-Conference

Hosted February 22, 2023, the PBI Social Impact Pre-Conference advanced the conversation started at PBI’s Social Impact Summit, focusing specifically on the unique aspects of ESG and pro bono practice at law firms, whose primary purposes embrace the delivery of quality legal services.

The Pre-Conference convened pro bono, ESG, and other law firm leaders to examine the development of ESG in law firms in the U.S. and around the globe and determine strategies to support, advance, and enhance law firm pro bono, access to justice, and social impact goals.

It featured a full day of programming that addressed several questions, including what is ESG and what is driving it, how ESG intersects and aligns with pro bono and access to justice, and may ESG leverage pro bono and access to justice.

Themes that were identified at the 2023 Pre-Conference included:

  • ESG is neither the flavor of the month nor a rebranding of Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Key drivers of ESG include profits per partner or shareholders, but other stakeholders – clients and employees – also hold sway.
  • ESG can provide opportunities to leverage your firm’s impact beyond the work of its lawyers.
  • ESG provides an opportunity to call out existing deficiencies in the legal system and push for change.


For more information about PBI’s Social Impact programming, contact PBI staff.