Financial institutions and their partners from across the U.S. and around the globe are working together to organize a day of volunteering to provide a diverse range of pro bono legal services to vulnerable communities. Organized by Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO®), a Pro Bono Institute® (PBI) project, Financial Institution Pro Bono Day (FIPBD) will be held on April 28, 2022. This day serves to spotlight the severe gap in legal services for underserved individuals and promote in-house pro bono engagement and collaboration with law firms and legal services organizations.
During the third Financial Institution Pro Bono Day, hundreds of volunteers will participate in more than two dozen events taking place in the U.K., Canada, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and in key metropolitan locations across the U.S. including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Many pro bono events will be held virtually. The event was expanded this year to include not only legal departments at financial institutions but also law departments in the insurance industry and at companies that support the financial sector.
Companies organizing events include Accenture, American International Group (AIG), American Express, Ally Bank, Apple Bank, Bank of America, Barclays, Barings Bank, Bloomberg, BMO Financial Group, BNY Mellon, Capital One, Citigroup, Inc., Citizens, Credit Suisse, Discover Financial Services, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Nasdaq, PNC Financial Services Group, Raymond James, U.S. Bank, Vanguard, Wells Fargo, Zurich North America. Dozens of firms and legal services organizations have partnered with the participating companies’ legal departments to make these events possible.
The event, first held in May 2019, was conceived as a unique opportunity for attorneys and legal staff at companies in the financial sector that might not otherwise work together to join resources to help their individual communities. Financial Institution Pro Bono Day fosters partnerships, expands engagement in pro bono by legal department staff, and—most importantly—provides essential, quality legal assistance to those in need.
The second Financial Institution Pro Bono Day, originally scheduled for April 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the summer and fall of 2020, many pro bono leaders revamped their programs to create remote pro bono opportunities. The event was rescheduled for January 14, 2021, and more than 630 pro bono volunteers from 37 financial institutions contributed to the day’s events.
“Over the past few years, we have seen increased demand for legal services among those who cannot afford an attorney, and in-house pro bono attorneys are helping to fill that gap,” said Corporate Pro Bono Director Alyssa Saunders. “These legal departments at financial institutions and their partners consistently show up in a significant way working to advance access to justice and racial justice.”
Pro bono events in the past have addressed issues ranging from homelessness to transgender name changes, to life planning for veterans, to green card assistance for domestic violence survivors, to advancing racial justice and serving communities of color, and many more.
“PBI’s mission is to help in-house legal departments and law firms build a strong culture of pro bono service,” said Eve Runyon, PBI President and CEO. “This event highlights that even in a pandemic, participants from across the financial services industry along with their law firm and legal services organization partners can work together to change lives for the better.”