Dear Colleagues:
As the new year begins, we continue to evolve into new, and sometimes better, versions of ourselves in order to promote access to justice. COVID-19 has taught us that we are more resilient and agile than we ever thought possible.
Our commitment to access to justice has indeed intensified, faced with medical crises, economic uncertainty, political conflict, and systemic racism. And we are addressing our goals in new and exciting ways.
In this PBI 2021 Year in Review, we present a compilation of resources, to help you strengthen your pro bono efforts. As we collectively look to the future, we invite you to join us as strive to make even greater progress in our fight for access to justice for all. Do good. Do pro bono. Do justice.
Eve Runyon
President & CEO
Pro Bono Institute

Financial Institution Pro Bono Day 2021

January 14, 2021 marked the second (and first-ever virtual) Financial Institution Pro Bono Day (FIPBD), organized by Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a project of PBI, in partnership with 18 financial institutions in cities across the U.S. and the U.K. Pro bono leaders from the legal departments of these financial institutions, often in partnership with legal services organizations and law firms, organized more than 50 pro bono trainings and opportunities. More than 600 volunteers from the financial institutions participated in pro bono events and they served more than 1000 clients nationwide and in the U.K. Read more about 2021 FIPBD.

Planning is underway for FIPBD 2022: April 28, 2022! If your legal department in the financial or insurance industry would like to participate and you have not already let us know, please contact CPBO Director Alyssa Saunders at If your law firm or legal services organization would like to participate and you have not been contacted by a financial institution, please notify PBI President & CEO Eve Runyon at

A Virtual Second: The PBI 2021 Annual Conference

PBI held a second Virtual Conference to provide the important content and resources of our Annual Conference during a time when convening in person was not possible. You can access select programs from the 2021 Annual Conference through WestLegalEd Center, and you can read a few take-aways in our blog

What’s Ahead for 2022?

PBI is committed to providing robust programming with the flexibility to meet our Conference attendees’ needs and interests. The pandemic continues to impact communities in different ways, and some may not be able to attend the PBI 2022 Annual Conference in person. So, PBI will present two experiences for the 2022 Annual Conference: In-Person and Virtual! Register today!

PBI 2021 Annual Awards Gala

A Virtual Celebration of Pro Bono Achievements

The PBI Annual Awards Gala brought together law firms, in-house legal departments, and others dedicated to advancing justice to recognize exceptional pro bono achievements and inspire innovations in the delivery of pro bono legal services.

Awards Gala

On October 14, PBI presented the 2021 John H. Pickering Award and 2021 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards during the premiere of its Awards Gala.

2021 John H. Pickering Award

PBI proudly presented the 2021 John H. Pickering Award to O’Melveny & Myers LLP* in recognition of the firm’s outstanding institutional commitment to pro bono and the inspiring pro bono performance of its lawyers and staff. O’Melveny shared a video of a past pro bono client, which serves as an excellent reminder of why we do pro bono.

2021 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards

The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes innovative pro bono collaborations of in-house legal departments with law firms and public interest organizations.

Since December 2015, McDonald’s Corporation** has partnered with Jenner & Block*, Goldberg Kohn, and the National Immigration Justice Center (NIJC) to represent asylum seekers escaping persecution and violence in their countries.

Pfizer Inc.** and DLA Piper* have built a dedicated pro bono partnership over the past 15 years. Together they have worked to create long-term, sustainable projects to expand access to justice.

PBI 2021 Convocation

Impacting Communities Through Partnerships
During the Convocation, we heard from the 2021 Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) Pro Bono Partner Award recipients about the value of pro bono partnerships and how they impact communities. They offered practical advice on how to start, grow, and sustain pro bono partnerships among law firms, legal departments, and legal aid organizations. Watch now…

2021 Law Firm Challenge Report: Breaking Records in Extraordinary Times

The 2021 PBI Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Report unveiled an unprecedented year for pro bono programs with regard to both issues and results. The 2021 Challenge Report examines the pro bono performance of firms during the 2020 calendar year – a year that saw an enormous demand for legal services to address needs stemming from a heightened interest in racial justice, COVID-19, and many more obstacles to access to justice. 

2021 CPBO Challenge Report: In-House Pro Bono in a Challenging Year

PBI’s CPBO project released its 2021 report on the 2020 Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® data. While 2020 produced banner results for signatories of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge initiative, signatories to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge initiative faced challenges to pro bono engagement by lawyers and legal staff.


The Movement to Secure Right to Counsel in Housing

Around the country, a movement to secure the right to counsel in eviction cases seeks to redress the imbalance of power between tenants and landlords in housing court. Having the assistance of a lawyer can mean the difference between staying in one’s home or losing it. Find out more in this paper.

The Impact of Crime-Free Housing and Nuisance Ordinances, and What Pro Bono Lawyers Can Do

An interaction with the criminal justice system – even one that does not result in conviction of a crime – can result in reduced access to housing. Recently, some jurisdictions have attempted to remove these barriers to housing access. Read this special paper to find out ways you can help.

2021 PBEye Blogs

Empowering Communities of Color Through Fair Redistricting Plans

There are many ways for law firms and corporate legal departments to support and focus their pro bono efforts on fair redistricting, including research efforts, assisting community groups, and litigation if necessary.

Global Pro Bono: Resources, Projects, and Partnerships

A few great resources and program examples to help you get started.

Providing Pro Bono Out-of-State During the Pandemic

Working from home in a state where you are not licensed? Learn how you can do pro bono from where you are.

A Holistic Approach to Second Chances: Minnesota Reentry Court

Everyone shares fundamental desires and struggles. Those with a criminal record face the same issues, but for them, the stakes are higher.

COVID-19 and Housing Insecurity

There is a critical need for pro bono lawyers to step up and provide access to affordable legal services for low-income renters facing evictions.

The Chief Legal Officer’s Point of View: Sustainability, Racial Justice, and In-House Pro Bono

Chief legal officers are speaking up about the need for law departments to strengthen their ESG practices and commitment to racial justice, including through delivery of pro bono legal services.

COVID-19’s Lasting Impact on Small Businesses

The widespread economic damage that the global pandemic caused, and the related need for legal services, is likely to outlast the pandemic and all of the variants. 

The Homeless Court Movement

With homelessness anticipated to skyrocket, it is imperative that pro bono volunteers choose a path to address homelessness in their communities.

Assisting Refugees with Resettlement in the U.S.

The resettlement process in the U.S. presents a wide array of unique challenges for stateless individuals who have made their way to a port of entry.

Crime-Free Housing Ordinances

Find out about how crime-free housing and nuisance ordinances impact vulnerable communities and how you can help.

Lifted Eviction Moratorium Will Lead to Thousands of Renters Facing Eviction Without Representation

Without a right to counsel in housing cases, millions of renters face eviction without legal assistance. Pro bono attorneys can make the process more equitable.

Shifting Gears: Navigating Pro Bono During COVID-19

Several volunteer in-house pro bono leaders share advice for running successful virtual legal clinics.

Have You Heard? 2021 Pro Bono Happy Hour Podasts

PBI Challenge

As we wind down 2021 and gear up for 2022, PBI takes a look back at 2020, which was an extraordinary year for legal pro bono, despite the many challenges. LISTEN

DOJ’s Office for Access to Justice

In this episode, PBI interviews access to justice leaders, Tony West, Karen Lash, and Maha Jweied who all played an integral part in leading the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) first office for Access to Justice. LISTEN

The Challenge of COVID-19: Legal Community in Action

“We have to challenge the status quo and model the way.” In this episode, PBI interviews Jo-Ann Wallace, then President and CEO of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA), to learn more about NLADA’s continued efforts to assist civil legal aid, public defenders, and client and community advocates through the pandemic. LISTEN