Signatory Showcase

Each year, the signatories to the PBI Law Firm Pro Bono 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.

March 27, 2024

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP*
When Virtual Still Works: Helping the Housing Crisis in More Rural Areas

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has partnered with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to staff a helpline for tenants facing eviction or related housing crises. Through the helpline, tenants can receive advice about their legal rights and assistance with completing pro se forms, such as answers and motions, to file in their cases. In 2023, over 500 clients were provided assistance through the helpline.

Laura Sinrod is Special Counsel and Resident Pro Bono Counsel in the New York office. As pro bono counsel, Laura is responsible for directing Fried Frank’s overall pro bono program and supervising individual pro bono projects handled by other attorneys at the firm. 

Laura was previously Corporate Engagement Counsel at Lawyers Alliance for New York, which provides transactional legal services to nonprofits serving under-resourced neighborhoods and communities. Prior to that, she was a Senior Staff Attorney at Her Justice, a longtime Fried Frank pro bono partner that supplies critical free legal services to women living in poverty in New York City. She was also formerly a litigation associate at Fried Frank.

Laura received her JD, cum laude and with pro bono honors, from American University Washington College of Law, where she was a Marshall-Brennan Fellow, and her BA, magna cum laude, from Tufts University. 

READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT

February 22, 2024

GSK**
Empowering New Beginnings: Pro Bono Efforts to Secure Identity and Support for the Homeless

Since 2015, GSK has partnered with Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP), an organization that provides free legal services to individuals and families who experience or face homelessness in Philadelphia. GSK lawyers and legal professionals assist with securing birth certificates for clients, which enables the clients to apply for housing. GSK also participates in HAP’s SOAR (SSI, Outreach, Access, and Recovery) project to obtain expedited rulings on Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance cases to help provide income to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. In 2023, 148 members of GSK’s Legal and Compliance Department global pro bono program served 160 clients, providing over 1200 hours of service. 

We spoke with GSK Assistant General Counsel, Andy Boczkowski, for this special edition of the Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast. Listen to how GSK got involved with HAP.

Since joining GSK in 2004, Andy Boczkowski has managed product liability litigation, internal and government investigations, and a variety of commercial litigation. He also serves as Chair of GSK Legal’s in house pro bono program and also serves on the Philadelphia Bar Foundation Board of Trustees. Prior to joining GSK, Boczkowski was a Litigation Associate at Stradley Ronon and prior to that he clerked for The Honorable Louis C. Bechtle of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

LISTEN NOW


February 22, 2024

DLA Piper*
Rebuilding Hope: Pro Bono for Ukraine’s Small Businesses

The war in Ukraine has dramatically impacted the country’s small businesses. DLA Piper’s nonprofit affiliate, New Perimeter, a global pro bono initiative, is working with the Uzhorod National University Faculty of Law, a law school in Western Ukraine, to help establish and support a legal clinic that will enable Law School faculty and students to provide pro bono assistance to address the critical legal needs of Ukrainian small businesses. DLA Piper has collaborated with the law school in several ways including supporting the creation of the clinic, delivering interactive, virtual trainings on pro bono and access to justice lawyering for Uzhorod Law students, and helping foster a pro bono culture in Ukraine. The firm has provided online trainings to approximately 80 Uzhorod law students.

We spoke with Sara Andrews, the DLA Piper Senior International Pro Bono Counsel and Co-Director of New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s nonprofit affiliate that provides long-term pro bono legal assistance in under-served regions around the world to support access to justice, social and economic development, sound legal institutions, and women’s advancement. Andrews leads New Perimeter’s strategy and operations. She develops and manages global pro bono projects engaging lawyers from across DLA Piper’s offices and in partnership with civil society organizations, governments, and academic and multilateral institutions. She has led and contributed to projects focusing on legal education, law reform, access to justice, women’s rights and economic development in multiple jurisdictions. Her work includes supporting post-conflict law reform in Kosovo, developing capacity-building programs for law students and government lawyers in East Africa, and examining the impact of the pandemic on gender-based violence around the world. She currently serves on the board of Women Win, an international organization using sport as a strategy to advance women’s rights in developing countries.

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December 12, 2023

Goulston & Storrs PC*

Abortion Legal Hotline

Immediately following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, non-profit organization Reproductive Equity Now began receiving legal questions from three constituencies: patients, providers, and helpers. The Massachusetts Abortion Legal Hotline, launched in January 2023, is a direct result of the expressed need. Goulston & Storrs provided research and writing support and counsel on a variety of legal and strategic issues. They also assisted in building the coalition needed to undertake such a cutting-edge effort, including the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, Foley Hoag LLP*, Ropes & Gray LLP*, Goodwin Procter LLP*, Mintz, Levin Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, P.C.*, and the Women’s Bar Foundation. The Hotline has already helped more than 80 patients, providers, and helpers access the legal advice they need, without cost barriers. They have also trained 150 pro bono lawyers to provide legal consultation. 

This photo was taken at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office when the Massachusetts Abortion Legal Hotline was officially launched.  Pictured (from left to right) are a few members of the G&S team: Emily Berlin, Rebecca Tunney, Rebecca Hart Holder (Executive Director of Reproductive Equity Now), Karen O’Malley, Kiman Kaur and Leah Segal.  Not pictured are over 35 of our other G&S colleagues who have supported our reproductive rights work, including Kaleigh Callender, Brenna Cass, Peter Corbett, Derek Domian, Sarah Eberspacher, Andy Ferren, Kristen Ferris, Martha J. Nahill Frahm, Leonard Freiman, Patrick Gallagher, Elizabeth Levine, Amelie Mailloux, Victoria Mariconti, Nora McMurphy, Carla Reeves, Alan Reisch, Karin Rivard, Gary Ronan, Adrienne Rosenblatt, Kerry Spindler, Sonia Steele, Tiffany Tsang, John White and Sara Wilbraham.

READ THE FULL BLOG POST

November 16, 2023

Intel Corporation**
Intel’s Pro Bono Expungement Clinics

In 2021, Intel Corporation partnered with legal service organizations across the country to provide pro bono assistance through expungement clinics in support of their commitment to racial justice.

With unique volunteer opportunities available for all staff Intel was able to bring in a much larger group of volunteers beyond attorneys. Their teams quickly saw an overwhelmingly positive impact within communities both socially and financially. Since 2022, Intel has worked with well over 150 clients across the U.S. who have been successful in getting their dismissal petitions granted.

For our latest Signatory Showcase series podcast episode we spoke with Eva Almirantearena, Intel Vice President and Associate General Counsel in Antitrust and Commercial Litigation Group about Intel’s incredible pro bono work expunging criminal records.

Eva Almirantearena has been with Intel since 2004, mainly in the Litigation Group, handling a wide variety of matters, including antitrust litigation and investigations, commercial litigation and misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets. Almirantearena is Intel Legal’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Leader and a member of Intel Legal’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Steering Committee. She is also co-chair of Intel Legal’s Pro Bono Committee. Prior to joining Intel, Almirantearena was an antitrust partner at Howrey in Northern California and, before that, was a trial attorney at the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

LISTEN TO THE INTEL SHOWCASE PODCAST


October 26, 2023

Pfizer**
Pfizer Refugee Leadership Initiative 

In late 2021, Pfizer launched the Pfizer Refugee Leadership Initiative, with a commitment to hire 100 refugees in 2022. In 2023, the goal was expanded to hiring 500 refugees over the next three years. To provide support, the Legal Division launched an initiative to aid their colleagues’ asylum applications. This effort included working with outside law firms (PLA firms) to provide mutually rewarding pro bono services that empowered Pfizer’s colleagues by informing them of their rights, providing them with the tools to advocate for themselves, and helping them ultimately to secure a legal status in their new country. Pfizer’s Legal Division, specifically the Pro Bono Steering Committee, also worked with PLA firms to set up the screening process for their Afghan colleagues, and many Legal Division colleagues volunteered to conduct intake interviews.

To jumpstart their work, Pfizer joined the Tent Coalition for Afghan Refugees and later expanded the program to refugees from Ukraine and other refugees in need.

For our latest Signatory Showcase we spoke with Shehzad Siddiqui, Senior Corporate Counsel in the Pfizer Legal Division’s Corporate Governance group who shared his experience with the Pfizer Refugee Leadership Initiative. 

Shehzad Siddiqui is a Senior Corporate Counsel in the Legal Division’s Corporate Governance group. Siddiqui specializes in securities law and regulation, public company disclosure, corporate governance, corporate finance matters, liability and capital management transactions, business development transactions, and corporate policies and procedures. Shehzad also regularly advises and partners with Pfizer business leaders, business development organization, communications, investor relations and legal divisions.

Siddiqui joined Pfizer in 2014.  Prior to joining Pfizer, he worked as an Associate in the Corporate practice of Paul Hastings and based in the firm’s New York office. He holds a J.D. from Albany Law School and an undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis. 

READ THE PFIZER BLOG POST


September 22, 2023

Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) Company** 
and
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. 

LISTEN TO THE ADM – SKADDEN SHOWCASE PODCAST


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.  

READ THE ZURICH BLOG POST


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.

LISTEN TO THE MILBANK SHOWCASE PODCAST


June 22, 2023

Advance**
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. 

 

READ THE ADVANCE BLOG POST


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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