Signatory Showcase

Each year, the signatories to the PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Project Challenge® and Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiatives provide important pro bono services to underserved, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure the legal assistance needed to address critical problems. This Showcase spotlights some of the amazing work signatories have done to serve those in need.

The Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge initiative is a unique standard developed by law firm leaders and corporate general counsel that articulates an aspirational goal for one key segment of the legal profession – the world’s largest law firms. Major law firms that become signatories to the Challenge acknowledge their institutional, firm-wide commitment to provide pro bono legal services to low-income and disadvantaged individuals and families and nonprofit groups by committing to provide either three percent or five percent of their total billable hours to pro bono. The Challenge definition of pro bono has become an industry standard, utilized not only by major law firms but by the legal media in reporting the pro bono contributions of large firms. More than 130 law firms have joined the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge initiative.

The Corporate Pro Bono Challenge initiative is an aspirational standard developed in 2006, at the urging of chief legal officers, to enable another segment of the legal profession – in-house legal departments – to identify, benchmark, and communicate their support for pro bono legal service. The CPBO Challenge initiative is a simple, voluntary statement of commitment to pro bono service by legal departments, their lawyers and staff. Signatories to the CPBO Challenge have committed to encourage at least 50 percent of their legal staff to participate in pro bono. More than 190 in-house legal departments have joined the CPBO Challenge initiative.

September 22, 2023

Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) Company** 
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP*
Pro Bono Immigration Clinics 

ADM and Skadden formed a partnership in 2019 to create a series of pro bono days of service that would engage their lawyers and legal staff in meaningful pro bono work. Since then, they have provided pro bono legal assistance to an array of clients – and over the years the partnership has averaged in assisting 12 to 40 individuals during each clinic. ADM and Skadden have worked most recently with the National Immigrant Justice Center to assist immigrants who had obtained asylee or refugee status in filing their green card applications. 

For our latest Signatory Showcase podcast we spoke with Cindy Ervin, Associate General Counsel for Real Estate and M&A at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, and Gretchen Wolf, Litigation Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, who shared their experiences and the structure of their pro bono days of service.

Cynthia Ervin is Associate General Counsel for Corporate Services and M&A and the Global Director of Real Estate at Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM), a global human and animal nutrition company with its North American Headquarters in Decatur, Illinois. Prior to joining ADM in 2006, Ervin served in a number of legal positions in Illinois State government, including as General Counsel for Illinois Department of Agriculture, Attorney to the chairman for the Illinois Pollution Control Board, Assistant Attorney General, and law clerk to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Benjamin K. Miller. Ervin also was appointed to the Executive Ethics Committee in 2019 and currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Commission.

Gretchen Wolf is Litigation Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and represents a wide variety of clients in complex regulatory investigations, enforcement matters and civil litigation. She has extensive experience managing multijurisdiction and cross-border matters with investigation and litigation components and regularly assists clients in navigating related discovery issues. 

Wolf has represented corporations and individuals in many regulatory and government enforcement investigation matters, including enforcement matters before the DOJ, SEC, CFTC and state attorneys general. She has assisted boards and audit committees in conducting internal investigations of potential accounting irregularities, improper business practices and corporate governance issues. She also has experience advising on cross-border investigations, and has counseled clients on transaction due diligence, compliance matters and employee training, particularly related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Additionally, she advises clients on a variety of ESG-related issues. 

Wolf has represented companies and their officers and directors in a variety of litigation, including cases involving issues of complex accounting, antitrust, securities, consumer fraud, corporate transactions, product liability and other commercial matters. 

Wolf is the co-chair of the firm’s Global Women’s Initiatives Committee and serves on the advisory selection committee for the Skadden Fellowship program. She also currently serves on the firm’s Electronic Discovery Committee and has assisted in developing manuals and training presentations regarding electronic discovery best practices. Additionally, she participates in the firm’s annual training program for new associates. 

Wolf has represented pro bono clients in a variety of immigration matters. She also serves on the board of directors for the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Chicago Foundation for Women and the Iowa Law School Foundation. 


August 22, 2023

Zurich North America**
Afghan Refugee Initiative

Zurich North America’s Legal Services Department focuses on supporting its businesses by providing representation and legal services for the company, but each year more than 50 percent of the company’s in-house lawyers also help those less fortunate through volunteering their time and expertise to provide pro bono advice on immigration, estate planning, criminal records relief, and other legal issues.

We spoke with Kathy Malamis, Division Counsel and Chair of the Pro Bono Committee at Zurich North America, who shared a recent experience co-hosting an asylum clinic for Afghan refugees.

Kathy Malamis is Vice President, Division Counsel at Zurich North America, supporting the Life, Accident & Health business unit. She also chairs Zurich’s Pro Bono Committee and leads its efforts to provide free legal services to individuals of limited means. Prior to joining Zurich, Malamis served in a variety of legal roles at the Trustmark Companies and was a partner at the national law firm Tressler LLP. Malamis was recognized by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin as one of the Top 50 Women in Law in 2021.  


July 19, 2023

Milbank LLP*
Religious Discrimination

In a pro bono case Milbank represented All Muslim Association of America (AMAA), a non-profit that provides low-cost burial and funeral services to Muslims in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, against a county in Virginia that created an ordinance that specifically made it impossible for AMAA to put a cemetery on their property. Milbank prevailed, resulting in the county rolling back that provision and awarding the client a large settlement in damages.

We spoke with Milbank LLP Special Counsel, Melanie Westover Yanez, for this special edition of the Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast.

Melanie Westover Yanez is special counsel in the Washington, D.C. office and a member of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration Group. She represents clients in federal and state courts in complex commercial litigation and financial restructuring litigation. Yanez has experience defending clients in individual and class action cases involving antitrust, securities, and commodities issues. She also has experience representing creditors’ committees, litigation trustees, equity holders, and other entities in financial restructuring matters, particularly regarding fraudulent and preferential transfer claims and breach of fiduciary cases.


June 22, 2023

Transactional Legal Services
In 2022, Advance partnered with the nonprofit Start Small Think Big (SSTB) to provide transactional legal services to small business owners in the e-commerce field. Advance pro bono attorneys and legal staff served six clients, Black and women-owned businesses making less than $50,000 a year. The volunteers applied their commercial lawyering expertise on a variety of issues, ranging from privacy to terms of use for doing business online to intellectual property. SSTB provided support to the volunteers, including template documents that the attorneys could review and customize before they met with the clients.

CPBO chatted with Jake Lipman and Dora Ramos from Advance about what made this experience a successful and replicable in-house pro bono project.

Jake Lipman is the Director of Administrative Services for the Legal Department of Advance, where she supports Chief Legal Officer Michael D. Fricklas. Prior to Advance, she was a vice president at D. E. Shaw, a hedge fund, where she worked for 14 years. BA, Smith College; MFA, Actors Studio.

Dora Ramos is the Director of Legal Operations for the Legal Department of Advance.  Prior to joining Advance, Dora served for many years as the Director of Technology for Sabin, Bermant & Gould LLP, the law firm which represented Advance and its operating companies. 


May 25, 2023

Crowell & Moring LLP*
Racial Justice
On June 28, 2021, in a victory for racial justice, a settlement was announced on behalf of four residents of Baltimore’s Harlem Park, a predominately Black neighborhood, who filed a federal court lawsuit against the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) and former Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. The residents’ lawsuit charged that their state and federal constitutional rights were violated during a six-day, multi-block lockdown of their neighborhood following the shooting death of Detective Sean Suiter. Crowell and co-counsel ACLU of Maryland successfully represented the residents in reaching a settlement and obtaining significant policing policy reforms, an official apology from the the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore Police Department, and monetary compensation. The settlement provides the plaintiffs with the ability to monitor and enforce BPD’s adherence to the policy reforms to ensure they are enforced, and paid damages of $24,000 to each plaintiff.

We spoke with Crowell & Moring Partner, Daniel Wolff, for this special edition of the Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast.

Dan Wolff is a litigator and regulatory problem solver. He is a partner in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office and chairs the firm’s Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice. Dan counsels clients and litigates on their behalf in federal district and appellate courts around the country in matters arising under the Administrative Procedure Act, other federal statutes, and the U.S. Constitution. He also litigates commercial cases in both federal and state venues.

The National Law Journal named Dan as one of its 2020 Political Activism and First Amendment Rights Trailblazers.

In addition to being a skilled litigator, Dan advises clients in responding to government investigations of workplace accidents, fatalities, supervisor liability, whistleblower complaints, and requests for company records. He also speaks and writes frequently on administrative law litigation, and all aspects of workplace safety and health compliance and enforcement defense. LISTEN TO THE CROWELL & MORING SHOWCASE PODCAST

March 28, 2023

Robins Kaplan*
Pro Bono and Indigenous People
In a pro bono case that has drawn national attention, Robins Kaplan sued the federal government on behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services closed the only emergency room on the Rosebud Reservation. The closure required tribal members to travel to emergency rooms 50 miles away to receive life-saving emergency treatments, placing them in serious danger. On behalf of the Tribe, Robins Kaplan attorneys argued that the closure of the emergency room violated the federal government’s treaty duty to provide the Tribe with adequate health care services. Following the firm’s victory in the District Court, the government appealed to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. The 8th Circuit affirmed the firm’s victory in the lower court, proclaiming that “the Government must do better,” and declaring that the federal government’s treaty with the Tribe requires it to provide competent physician-led healthcare to the Tribe’s members.

Tim Billion, Partner, Robins Kaplan practices in Robins Kaplan’s Business Litigation Group and has represented clients in a wide variety of cases, including trust and fiduciary litigation, contract and fraud claims, earn-out disputes, class action lawsuits, personal injury claims, constitutional litigation, internal investigations, and criminal proceedings. He also advises tribes across the country.

Billion has garnered numerous recognitions for his practice. Chambers USA named him as one of two nationwide “Leading Lawyers in Native American Law: Associates to Watch” in 2021 and 2022. Super Lawyers named him a “Rising Star” in 2019, 2020, and 2021, a distinction given to the top 2.5% of lawyers. The Best Lawyers in America included Billion on its “Ones to Watch” list in 2021 and 2022 for Commercial Litigation and Trusts and Estates Litigation. He has also been named a North Star Lawyer in recognition of his commitment to providing pro bono legal services. LISTEN TO THE ROBINS KAPLAN SHOWCASE PODCAST

March 28, 2023

The Williams Companies, Inc.**
Housing Justice
As part of the Challenge Signatory Showcase, Corporate Pro Bono is excited to highlight The Williams Companies, and their housing justice pro bono project in Tulsa. The Williams Legal Department collaborates with the Tulsa County Bar Association’s Forcible Entry and Detainer (FED) Pro Bono Program, which involves the Court Assistance Project (CAP). We chatted with Williams’ Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Lane Wilson, about the project and the impact that it has on tenants who are unable to afford legal representation when faced with eviction. Wilson also discussed with us the importance of having a general counsel who is involved in the department’s pro bono program.

T. Lane Wilson, Senior Vice President & General Counsel of The Williams Companies**, was named Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Williams in April 2017. He had previously been appointed to the federal bench as a Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Oklahoma, presiding over both civil and criminal matters, including substantial civil mediation responsibilities. He served on the Tenth Circuit Judicial Council and was the Northern District’s designated judge on electronic discovery issues in criminal cases. In 2016, he was appointed to the Judicial Conference Committee on Criminal Law by Chief Justice John Roberts.

Prior to his judicial service, Wilson was a partner and member of the Board of Directors for Hall, Estill in Tulsa. His practice focused on complex commercial litigation, including both trial and appellate work. The team of litigation attorneys and paralegals Wilson managed represented energy, telecommunications, technology, and construction companies. Prior to attending law school, Wilson worked for Exxon (now Exxon/Mobil). READ THE WILLIAMS COMPANIES SHOWCASE INTERVIEW

* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member

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