The Pro Bono Wire

The Pro Bono Wire is PBI’s online newsletter. We encourage Law Firm, In-House, and Public Interest pro bono leaders as well as other interested stakeholders to sign up to receive this valuable resource. Members of the Press are also encouraged to receive The Wire. To subscribe to The Wire, click here.

Read archived issues of The Wire here.

March 2024

PBI 2024 Annual Conference Wrap

On March 6-8, PBI hosted the 2024 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The Conference was held in-person, with two additional LIVE webinars for Conference registrants presented in February. With over 200 attendees from law firms, in-house departments, and public interest organizations, the 2024 Annual Conference sparked passionate and insightful discussions surrounding many current and evergreen pro bono topics. 

ON-DEMAND PROGRAMS – On-demand sessions recorded at the PBI 2024 Annual Conference will soon be available online via West LegalEdcenter (WLEC). You will find webinars on everything from maternal health to AI and Pro Bono. Paid registrants of the 2024 Annual Conference may access these recordings at no cost through October 31, 2024, using a promotion code PBI will send to you. Others may access the programs for a fee. 

Coming soon!


April 18, 2024, is the fifth annual Financial Institution Pro Bono Day (FIPBD), organized by CPBO in partnership with dozens of legal departments in the financial and insurance industries. Pro bono leaders from legal departments, often in partnership with legal services organizations and law firms, have organized more than 60 pro bono opportunities and trainings as part of FIPBD.

FIPBD spotlights the need to increase access to justice by providing legal services to low-income and marginalized communities, and promotes in-house pro bono engagement and collaboration, in partnership with law firms and legal services organizations. We expect hundreds of in-house attorneys and legal staff to volunteer at FIPBD events in April 2024.


Showcasing Challenge Signatories – When Virtual Still Works: Helping the Housing Crisis

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP*Interview

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson has partnered with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to staff a helpline for tenants in more rural areas of New York facing eviction or related housing crises. Through the helpline, tenants can receive advice about their legal rights and assistance completing pro se forms, such as answers and motions, to file in their cases. To date, over 200 associates have been trained and have participated in the project.

We spoke with Fried Frank Special Counsel, Laura Sinrod, for this PBEye Signatory Showcase blog. Read about how Fried Frank partnered with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to help tenants with housing challenges. READ MORE IN OUR LATEST BLOG.

Strengthening the Connection Between Healthcare and the Law

Medical Legal Partnerships (MLPs) function to allow healthcare workers to provide their patients with effective treatment for their illnesses while attorneys address clients’ legal problems that negatively interfere with their health. By strengthening the connection between healthcare and law, MLPs create a streamlined method for clients and patients experiencing legal barriers in their complex medical treatment or related issues to have on-site attorneys and expert health professionals involved in their care plan. Find out about their impact, some challenges, and more in our latest blog. READ MORE IN OUR BLOG

Data Please

Surveying Law Firm Pro Bono

Everybody knows accurate surveys are a great source of information on the current state of pro bono, a good planning tool, and the best way to assess trends. The good news is that PBI will soon be presenting the results of two surveys it is conducting in 2024!

The first survey is our annual Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Survey that was distributed on January 29. We have had a strong response so far, but in order to provide apples-to-apples comparisons from year-to-year, it is critical that as many of our Challenge signatory firms as possible consistently fill out this survey. So, if you are a Challenge Signatory, your firm has yet to submit its Challenge Survey responses, and you cannot find the January email with your firm’s unique link, please contact PBI’s Project Assistant, Genevieve Timm at or 202.729.6698. It is important for you to complete this on-line survey now, as the deadline was April 1, 2024. 

The second survey is our Law Firm Staffing Survey. The survey, issued by popular request, was the subject of a well-attended and well-received session at our Annual Conference earlier this month. We had 51 firms respond in time to be included in our initial analysis, but to make our analysis as meaningful as possible we need additional firm participation. To that end, both Challenge signatory and Law Firm Pro Bono Project member firms who have not yet completed the on-line survey recently received new links to our on-line Staffing Survey that extends the time to participate. 

If you have not already completed this survey and did not receive an updated link, contact PBI’s Project Assistant, Genevieve Timm at or 202.729.6698.

We are looking forward to, and thank you for, contributing to the legal community’s understanding of law firm efforts to improve pro bono and access to justice.

Surveying Corporate Pro Bono

CPBO Challenge Survey

Responses to the Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) Challenge® survey are due April 5 and responses to the CPBO Benchmarking survey are due May 3. If you need help finding your survey links, please email Project Assistant Genevieve Timm to request that they be resent at

The Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) Challenge® initiative is a simple, voluntary statement of commitment to pro bono service by legal departments, their lawyers and staff. The Challenge sets an aspirational goal that 50 percent of the legal department employees will participate in pro bono annually. Companies are welcome to join the Challenge whether they are striving toward or already meeting that goal. More than 190 companies are signatories to the CPBO Challenge initiative. Each year, we send a simple survey to signatories asking them to report on their pro bono participation in the prior year. These reports help CPBO to follow trends in in-house pro bono participation, and allow signatories to benchmark their participation rates against peers. We keep responses confidential and publish only anonymous, aggregated data in our annual CPBO Challenge Reports. Prior reports can be found here.

CPBO Benchmarking Survey

Additionally, every other year, Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) invites legal departments with pro bono programs – including both CPBO Challenge signatories and others – to participate in a Benchmarking Survey about the structure and substance of in-house pro bono programs. These survey responses help legal departments benchmark their pro bono programs against their peers, and help CPBO analyze and report on the current state of in-house pro bono. We keep responses confidential and publish only anonymous, aggregated data in our biennial Benchmarking Reports. Prior reports can be found here.

Calling All Great Partnerships

Corporate Pro Bono is now accepting nominations for the 2024 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards. The award recognizes innovative collaborative approaches to pro bono involving legal departments partnering with law firms and/or public interest organizations. The CPBO Advisory Board will select two partnerships to honor with this award, which will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner on Wednesday, October 9, in New York City.

Please submit your nomination form by April 19, 2024. Your nominations must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest organization partners. 

PBI Staff News

New Director, Law Firm Pro Bono Project

Erik Swenson, PBI Director, Law Firm Pro Bono Project, is retiring after a long and distinguished career. Erik joined PBI in March 2020, after 35+ years in partner, counsel, and associate roles at four law firms ranging in size from 100 to 4,000 lawyers: Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, Norton Rose Fulbright US, King & Spalding, and Chadbourne & Park.

In his capacity at PBI, Erik was pivotal in many initiatives, including:

  • expanding the analysis and significance of Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® data to better understand law firm pro bono performance and trends;
  • updating the Challenge’s definition of pro bono legal services to reflect the growth and sophistication of law firm pro bono;
  • revamping the Law Firm Pro Bono Project member retreat program to address the needs of law firm pro bono leaders; and,
  • consulting with dozens of Project members to enhance their pro bono programs through review of written pro bono policies, assessment of pro bono programs, benchmarking, assistance with volunteer recruitment, advising on pro bono leadership job descriptions and structures, etc., and many more.

After an exhaustive search for Erik’s replacement, PBI is delighted to announce that Sarah Lahlou-Amine joined PBI as Director, Law Firm Pro Bono Project, on April 1.

Sarah joins PBI from Banker Lopez Gassler in Tampa, FL, where she was a Shareholder and Appellate Practice Group Leader. Sarah led a team of appellate professionals, developed comprehensive litigation plans, counseled clients on emerging legal issues, collaborated with industry stakeholders, and developed risk management strategies for sensitive matters. She also served as the firm representative and Past Chair of the 13th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee’s Law Firm Subcommittee, coordinator of the firm’s Sustaining Law Firm program for Bay Area Legal Services, and leader of the firm’s 2023 tri-county Veterans Legal Clinic in partnership with USAA and Bay Area Legal Services. 

Sarah has represented pro bono clients, supported legal services and nonprofit organizations with volunteer recruitment and programming, served as a leader on multiple nonprofit boards and pro bono committees, and presented and published on pro bono topics, while maintaining a full-time appellate practice.

Sarah also spent a decade at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney | Fowler White Boggs where she co-chaired the firm’s statewide and national pro bono committees and co-founded the Tampa Bay Pro Bono Partners, a pro bono and networking platform partnering law firm attorneys with in-house counsel.

After April 1, Erik will continue to support PBI’s mission and transitions to Special Advisor, Law Firm Pro Bono Project.


New Associate Director, CPBO

Erin Palmer recently joined PBI as the Associate Director of the Corporate Pro Bono project. Previously, Erin served as an ethics lawyer for the federal Judiciary, where she specialized in workplace accountability. She has also worked as a litigation associate at Clifford Chance US LLP, where she focused heavily on pro bono matters including winning asylum for an individual fleeing state violence due to their political beliefs, representing a child with disabilities at a local school to ensure they received needed educational supports, and filing briefs with the United States Supreme Court on the science regarding youth brain development to end the use of life without parole sentences for youth offenders, as well as served as Supervising Attorney of a human rights litigation clinic at American University Washington College of Law and a law clerk at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Erin invests heavily in local community and public service.

She is currently an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, a non-partisan, volunteer neighborhood-level elected official. Erin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where she majored in Politics, Philosophy & Economics and Spanish (with distinction) and from American University Washington College of Law (JD), cum laude, and American University School of International Service (MA), with a specialization in international peace and conflict resolution.

Save the Dates

Wednesday, October 9, 2024
Gotham Hall | New York
February 26-28, 2025 
The Westin Washington, D.C., Downtown

Watch your email for more details–coming soon!

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

Pro Bono Institute®, PBI®, Law Firm Pro Bono Project®and CPBO® are registered trademarks of Pro Bono Institute