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APRIL 2023


Yesterday was the fourth Financial Institution Pro Bono Day! Comprised of 75+ events held by financial institutions, insurance companies, and their partners from across the U.S. and around the globe that provide a diverse range of pro bono legal services to vulnerable communities, Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO®), a Pro Bono Institute® (PBI®) project, organized Financial Institution Pro Bono Day (FIPBD) to spotlight the severe gap in legal services for underserved individuals and promote in-house pro bono engagement and collaboration with law firms and legal services organizations.

Hundreds of volunteers will participate in dozens of events taking place in the U.K., Germany, Asia-Pacific, and in key metropolitan locations across the U.S., including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Many pro bono events will be held virtually. Dozens of firms and legal services organizations have partnered with the participating companies’ legal departments to make these events possible. FIPBD fosters partnerships, expands engagement in pro bono by legal department staff, and—most importantly—provides essential, quality legal assistance to those in need.

And, for the second year in a row, our partners at Troutman Pepper*† hosted a CLE program in conjunction with #FIPBD2023, “Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation.” Troutman Pepper’s Sara Richman (Partner, Chair of Pro Bono) and Jessica Kozlov Davis (ICS Director & Ethics Counsel), along with Jennifer Godyn at Capital One Financial Corporation (Director, Assistant General Counsel, Commercial Bank) reviewed typical issues that arise when representing pro bono clients, including limited scope representation, conflicts of interest, representing clients with diminished capacity, and competency to handle pro bono matters.

Many thanks to all participating financial institutions, partnering law firms and legal services organizations, and Troutman Pepper! We will publish highlights of all the events soon, but if you’d like to see what was done in 2022, learn more.

For more information, contact CPBO.

15 PBI 2023 Conference Sessions Now On Demand

On-demand sessions recorded at the PBI 2023 Annual Conference are now available online via West LegalEdcenter (WLEC). You must have or create a free WLEC profile to access this on-demand content.

Thirteen of the 15 programs offer CLE credit in many jurisdictions. Paid registrants of the 2023 Annual Conference may access these recordings at no cost through October 31, 2023, using a promotion code previously emailed to them. Others may access the programs for a fee.

The 15 recordings available are:

  • A Blueprint for Addressing Legal Deserts
  • Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Deepening the Impact of In-House Pro Bono Programs
  • Excessive Sentencing in the Deep South: How Pro Bono Attorneys Can Make a Difference
  • Executive Presence: What Matters & What Gets in the Way [not available for CLE credit]
  • Increasing Access to Justice Through Regulatory Reform
  • Innovations in Access to Justice
  • Innovative Ways to Support the Justice-Involved Community
  • Opportunities in Pro Bono – Eviction Record Sealing
  • Post-Roe: Reproductive Rights & Pro Bono
  • Pro Bono Ethics – Aesop’s Fables Edition
  • Remote and Bite-Size Immigration Pro Bono
  • Supreme Court – Reflections on the Current Term
  • Those Were the Best Days of My Summer – Ramping Up for Summer Pro Bono Programs: Time for a Refresh [not available for CLE credit]
  • Transactional Pro Bono

You may access additional on-demand programs from PBI via WLEC. For more information, contact PBI at

Spring into Justice and Support PBI

Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is well-known for having pioneered innovative strategies that have exponentially increased pro bono civil legal services to low-income and other marginalized people and communities. PBI’s Annual Spring Campaign commemorates the hallmark of our late founder Esther F. Lardent, namely, innovative approaches to expand pro bono and access to justice.

Please consider making a personal donation to help PBI explore and advance new innovations to address the continuing crisis of unmet legal needs.

The ability to access justice, regardless of income, is unattainable for billions of people around the globe. In the U.S., low-income individuals cannot get the legal help they need for 92 percent of their substantial civil legal problems, which typically involve securing and protecting basic needs. While great strides have been made to provide services to those most in need, including an annual contribution of millions of hours of pro bono by many of the largest law firms and increasingly more in-house legal departments, the justice gap is nevertheless growing.

PBI’s expertise and resources remain vital tools to expand pro bono legal services. In September 2022, PBI began to engage stakeholders to further advance pro bono and tackle barriers to access to justice more broadly by convening law firm, corporate, and other thought leaders at our Social Impact Summit. The Summit explored current discussions on sustainable business practices at companies and law firms to try to determine whether access to justice and pro bono can play a critical role in amplifying an organization’s commitment to society. In February 2023, PBI convened pro bono leaders from law firms to continue this important conversation and to identify strategies to enhance pro bono, access to justice, and social impact goals.

Your personal donation will help PBI to expand pro bono legal services and engage the legal profession in the challenges and opportunities to make the justice system better for everyone. Please visit the PBI website today to donate. PBI accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover cards and PayPal for online donations, but if you prefer, you can mail a check to:

Pro Bono Institute
1032 15th Street NW, #407
Washington, DC  20005-1502

Please contact PBI Development Director Danny Reed at 202.729.6691 or with questions or to donate by electronic funds transfer (ACH or wire), to donate securities, or to include PBI in your estate plans.

Intellectual Property Rights

The United States prides itself on being a center for innovation, with much of that innovation coming from smaller enterprises. Small businesses produce over 14 times more patents than large businesses and universities, and employ nearly 40 percent of America’s scientists and engineers. And, of course, even the largest well known innovation firms were once small businesses.

Unfortunately, without protection of their intellectual property, small businesses can find it difficult to attract capital because potential investors know more established businesses could copy the ideas, methods and practices of smaller businesses, and use their greater resources to market more effectively, undercutting the value of innovation to the original innovator. A European study has shown small enterprises are 21 percent more likely to experience a growth period after filing for an international property right. Moreover, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)around 41 percent of the United States domestic gross product stems from industries that intensively rely on intellectual property protection, and the large majority of companies that apply for patents are small and medium-sized enterprises. READ about how pro bono programs are helping small enterprises protect their innovations and how you can help small businesses grow in our latest blog. 

Showcasing the Work of Challenge Signatories

Each year, the signatories to the Pro Bono Institute 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. The PBI Signatory Showcase spotlights some of the amazing work signatories have done to serve those in need.

In the debut double installment of the Signatory Showcase, we interviewed Robins Kaplan*† Partner, Tim Billion, in a special edition of the Pro Bono Happy Hour Podcast. Listen to how Robins Kaplan got involved, and how they won a pro bono case for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe that drew national attention. LISTEN NOW

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) also spoke with The Williams Companies’** Senior Vice President and General Counsel, T. Lane Wilson, about their housing justice pro bono project in Tulsa and the impact that it has on tenants who are unable to afford legal representation when faced with eviction. Wilson also discussed the importance of having a general counsel who is involved in the department’s pro bono program. READ MORE

Look for another edition of the PBI Signatory Showcase coming in May!

Save The Dates

NEW DATE: Monday, October 16, 2023
Gotham Hall | New York

March 7 – 8, 2024 | Renaissance Hotel | Washington, D.C.

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