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October 2022

Time is Running Out for Free CLE

2022 PBI® ANNUAL CONFERENCE ATTENDEES– Sessions offering CLE credit from the PBI 2022 Annual Conference are available online via Thomson Reuters West LegalEdcenter® (WLEC) through the end of October. Free to Annual Conference attendees! Available for a fee to all others.

Annual Dinner Co-Chairs

Jonathan P. Harmon

Laura Stein
Executive Vice President,
Corporate & Legal Affairs
and General Counsel
Mondelēz International**

Joel Unruch
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

A CELEBRATION OF PRO BONO – Join us to celebrate exceptional pro bono achievements at the PBI 2022 Annual Dinner! Find out more about this year’s awardees and co-chairs … READ MORE

PBI 2022 Social Impact Summit

PBI held its 2022 Social Impact Summit September 29-30, in Washington, D.C.

Leaders in ESG from law firms, companies, public interest organizations, and academia convened at the Capital Hilton, along with top pro bono thinkers and doers from the legal community, to analyze and explore new paradigms for delivering access to justice and pro bono.

The event featured an interactive “Town Hall”-style discussion on the first day, skillfully moderated by David S. Williams, Principal, Deloitte, that generated ideas that attendees further explored in workshops on the second day. 

It was a unique gathering that served as an important foundational discussion to advance our collective commitment to pro bono and access to justice. Two days of great energy and thought leadership that served as an inspiring and informative starting point for this important conversation.

Welcome to PBI and CPBO

Pro Bono Institute would like to welcome our new Law Firm Pro Bono project members, Gunster and Norton Rose Fulbright Canada. And CPBO welcomes CommVault Systems, Inc. as the newest CPBO Challenge® signatory.

A National Celebration of Pro Bono

It’s Pro Bono Week! Now is an excellent time to solidify longstanding partnerships and make new connections that can inspire pro bono throughout the year! During this week the legal community comes together to participate in the American Bar Association (ABA) National Celebration of Pro Bono. The programs and events planned present a great way to get involved in the community, meet new colleagues, and give back through pro bono service. 

What Happens in Las Vegas Stays in Las Vegas?

Nope. We’ve been working hard at the Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting. Lily Constine, PBI Project Coordinator, and Alyssa Saunders, Director, Corporate Pro Bono, (shown below, L to R) and Eve Runyon, PBI President & CEO, met with colleagues in the exhibit hall, handing out advice and #ProBonoProud buttons!

And, on October 25, 2022, during the ACC Annual Meeting, the Corporate Pro Bono project (CPBO) of PBI presented a fireside chat entitled “CLO’s Point of View: In-house Pro Bono, DEI, and Social Impact”.

Eve Runyon, President & CEO of PBI, moderated the discussion with, pictured above (L to R) Jim Office, Vice President & General Counsel, Victory Wholesale Group**, David Zapolsky, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary,, Inc.**, and Dev Stahlkopf, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Cisco Systems, Inc.**. 

Dozens of attendees listened to an engaging conversation about the growth of in-house pro bono, the role of CLOs in empowering their legal departments to engage in this work, how pro bono ties in with corporate DEI and social impact priorities, and the importance of corporate leadership in access to justice initiatives.

Several themes emerged from the discussion:

  • Personal passion fuels pro bono. Each panelist shared their “pro bono journey,” discussing why pro bono was meaningful to them personally, and how that inspired their work to establish and grow pro bono programs for their law departments. Relatedly, departments should strive to allow attorneys and legal staff the opportunity to pursue their own pro bono passions.
  • CLOs have to “walk the walk.” Where a leader goes, others will follow. The panelists shared the impact that their leadership has had in encouraging colleagues in their department to do pro bono, and in setting an example for more junior attorneys.
  • Pro bono is possible in departments of all sizes. The collective experience of the panelists covered both small and large law departments. While Jim Office does pro bono as a solo GC, and through his ACC chapter, Cisco and Amazon have organized formal pro bono programs across their large, multi-office departments.
  • Pro bono can elevate law departments’ diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI), corporate social responsibility (CSR), and social impact initiatives. Legal departments can pick projects that enhance the work and values of their company. CLOs are talking to their investors about the pro bono work that their departments are doing.
  • Advocate for systemic changes to increase pro bono in your jurisdiction, such as: 1) permitting non-locally licensed, registered in-house counsel to do pro bono; 2) mandating training on pro bono for new lawyers; and 3) allowing pro bono hours to count toward continuing legal education (CLE) credits.

Common Perceived Barriers that Can Be Overcome

Both the panelists and audience members discussed potential obstacles that are specific to in-house pro bono, and guidance to manage those concerns, including:

  • Lack of time. Start small; everyone from busy solo GCs to legal department employees with little bandwidth can carve out a couple hours for a bite-sized pro bono project with a concrete time commitment, and limited scope. For example, some pro bono projects may involve filling out forms, which are not time-consuming yet are still impactful. Moreover, once you gain experience in a pro bono practice area, it often takes less time on your second and subsequent pro bono matters. Additionally, more than ever, attorneys and staff can do pro bono virtually from their desks.
  • Lack of expertise. Lawyers can use their existing skills for pro bono. For example, transactional skills like contract review, incorporation, bylaws, and intellectual property can be put to good use serving small nonprofits that help the underserved in our communities. Or, attorneys and legal staff can get trained by a legal service organization or law firm partner on a new area of law, often in a clinic setting, before serving the client.
  • Lack of malpractice insurance. This is easily addressed by partnering with a legal service organization that will extend coverage to its volunteers. Additionally, it is becoming more common that departments have coverage for pro bono in their Employed Lawyers’ policies.
  • Lack of infrastructure. Certain types of matters, particularly in the litigation field, require infrastructure that in-house counsel may not have available. Partnering up with a law firm on these matters is a great solution. 

At the end of the session, the panelists challenged the attendees to all participate in pro bono. CPBO is here to help you meet that goal! Visit, or email


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