The Pro Bono Wire is PBI’s online newsletter. If you are a Law Firm, Corporate, or Public Interest partner, you can sign up to receive this valuable resource. Members of the Press are also eligible to receive The Wire. To subscribe to The Wire, click here.
If you would like read The Wire, but are not a Law Firm, Corporate, or Public Interest partner or member of the press, click the links below to read each issue online.
Read archived issues of The Wire here.
PBI 2022 SOCIAL IMPACT SUMMIT
In just four weeks, many of the world’s leaders in ESG will convene at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., along with the legal community’s top pro bono thinkers and doers, at the Pro Bono Institute 2022 Social Impact Summit to explore new paradigms for delivering access to justice.
This high-profile event will feature a select panel of leaders in a “Town Hall”-style discussion on the first day, moderated by David S. Williams, Principal, Deloitte. Participants will include law firm management, corporate general counsel and officers, sought-after lecturers from academia, and expert consultants from the following organizations:
This lively and provocative session will center on the potential for integration of ESG with pro bono legal services as an approach to: (1) increasing access to justice, and (2) cementing businesses’ and law firms’ roles as driving forces for the public good, while increasing these organizations’ economic and societal success. The multi-hour Town Hall segment has been specifically designed to facilitate reaching the heart of access-to-justice challenges and examining how companies and law firms are framing pro bono and access to justice vis-à-vis ESG.
The PBI 2022 Annual Conference featured both in-person and virtual programs filled with sessions to help you enhance or start your pro bono programs. The great news? Sessions offering CLE credit are now online via Thomson Reuters West LegalEdcenter® (WLEC). They will be available until October 31, 2022 to PBI Conference attendees at no cost, a savings of $200 per webinar. For the code to access the sessions for free, contact email@example.com and provide your Annual Conference confirmation code. Those who did not attend the Annual Conference can access the sessions for a fee.
Jonathan P. Harmon
Executive Vice President,
General Counsel &
Join PBI for our annual event that brings 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.
For more information or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please contact:
Danny Reed, Director of Development
firstname.lastname@example.org | 202.729.6691
Each fall Pro Bono Institute® celebrates exceptional pro bono achievements by presenting the John H. Pickering Award and the CPBO® Pro Bono Partner Awards during one of our signature events, the Annual Dinner. This inspiring evening, to be held in person once again at Gotham Hall in New York on November 2, brings together law firms, in-house legal departments, and many more who are dedicated to access to justice.
The 2022 John H. Pickering Award
This award is given in honor of John H. Pickering, a leader in the legal profession who was equally well-known for his extraordinary commitment to pro bono and public interest law. Presented in conjunction with his law firm, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (now WilmerHale), and the Pickering family, this year’s recipient is Debevoise & Plimpton*† .
The firm’s commitment to providing outstanding client service extends beyond its commercial work, to its neighborhoods, communities, and beyond. Pro bono work has been central to Debevoise’s culture since its founding in 1931. For decades, the firm has focused on narrowing the justice gap by helping underserved and vulnerable communities tackle social problems and solve complex legal issues. The firm’s pro bono practice has three main goals: to provide legal representation to people who could not otherwise afford it, to strengthen the communities in which the firm has a footprint, and to protect civil liberties and public rights in the U.S. and around the world.
Debevoise lawyers in all practice groups provide legal representation for clients in hundreds of pro bono matters each year. Debevoise’s pro bono work ranges from significant civil rights and economic equity issues in the United States and around the world to individual representations. The firm’s lawyers represent not-for-profit organizations and low-income small businesses in a full spectrum of legal issues and represent individuals in a range of matters including immigration applications, family law, housing court, and the criminal justice system. READ MORE about the inspiring pro bono work done by Debevoise’s attorneys and staff.
The 2022 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Awards
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a project of Pro Bono Institute, created the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award to recognize innovative pro bono collaborations of in-house legal departments with law firms and public interest organizations. The impact and innovation of the projects supported by the award recipients have been tremendously important both in the projects’ ability to address the legal needs of the communities being served and in the role the partnerships have played in supporting and furthering pro bono work, especially within the in-house community. Through these partnerships, legal departments, law firms, and public interest organizations have devised programs that contribute to the legal profession’s efforts to close the justice gap and that create strong legacies of effective pro bono service.
Chubb** North America Legal and Compliance in partnership with Philadelphia VIP for their innovative client service “workshop” model, built to serve low-income clients in high-need areas in Philadelphia
For more than six years, Chubb North America Legal and Compliance (Chubb) has partnered with Philadelphia VIP (VIP), a legal services provider that leverages pro bono legal services to ensure access to justice for low-income Philadelphians, to provide pro bono legal services in high-need areas. In 2015, Chubb sought a unique pro bono opportunity for its volunteers that would provide clients with meaningful legal services. Knowing that the typical “one-and done” pro bono day clinics are not designed to address clients’ longer-term legal needs, Chubb and VIP worked together to develop a new “workshop” model that moved beyond one-day clinics. This model offered an innovative, replicable approach that included holding several clinic-style events to launch pro bono representations and provide ongoing support at subsequent significant milestones in the representation, as well as additional representation services beyond those meetings as needed.
Chubb and VIP’s partnership serves as a model for in-house legal departments to provide meaningful pro bono service in a way that their volunteers feel comfortable and confident with the legal representation they are providing. Through their unique workshop approach, 42 Chubb volunteers have provided in-depth, extended representation to 42 clients since its creation, serving clients in high-need areas who otherwise would not have received legal assistance and providing an exceptional example for the impact that corporate counsel can have on their community. READ MORE about this exciting partnership.
Dominion Energy in partnership with McGuireWoods*† for creating a medical-legal partnership with VCU Health
In February 2020, Dominion Energy and McGuireWoods launched a pro bono medical-legal partnership (MLP) with VCU Health to help meet the critical legal needs of low-income patients in the Richmond area by providing legal representation for matters that impact their health and well-being.
The MLP model was launched in the 1990s at Boston Medical Center to address legal issues that contribute to poor health and inequity and has expanded around the country. In Richmond, VCU Health identified a need for a system to address patients’ legal needs and established its MLP in 2018. In 2019, VCU Health approached Dominion Energy and McGuireWoods for help in expanding its program to additional patient populations. In response, Dominion Energy and McGuireWoods partnered with VCU Health to expand its services across the VCU Health footprint, more than doubling the number of patient populations served and expanding the scope of legal services to include special education and immigration services. The MLP grew to serve patients in clinics and hospitals who have issues with healthcare eligibility, immigration status, and other basic legal problems that affect their healthcare authorization and disrupt treatment. VCU Health doctors and social workers refer patients to pro bono attorneys and legal professionals at Dominion Energy and McGuireWoods for assistance in five areas of critical legal service that affect access to healthcare and quality of life: 1) educational advocacy for children in treatment at VCU Health; 2) family law, including child custody and domestic violence; 3) immigration issues related to healthcare access; 4) housing law, including environmental issues such as eviction defense, repairs, and substandard housing conditions that impair health; and 5) life-planning documents for patients in need to facilitate patient care, including adult guardianships, wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives.
The MLP has obtained life-altering results for many whose health depended on access to justice. For example, the MLP volunteers worked to gain access to an experimental cancer treatment program for an undocumented incarcerated individual. The patient had an advanced stage of cancer, and the standard treatment protocol was unlikely to increase their chances of survival. Due to their incarceration, they were ineligible for a potentially lifesaving clinical trial. In addition, the patient was undocumented and scheduled to be detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) upon release from incarceration. The MLP team worked with the Department of Corrections, which in turn worked with ICE, to secure an early release so that the patient could receive this life-saving treatment. READ MORE about this admirable pro bono model and the work it has already accomplished.
Many low- and modest-income parties litigate pro se because they cannot afford the price of full-scale representation. Ghostwriting – limited scope representation that allows attorneys to draft or assist in drafting a pleading, motion, or other document filed by a pro se party without entering an appearance or engaging in formal representation – increases their access to justice by allowing them to receive some legal assistance and more effectively advocate their position during litigation.
Ghostwriting can also expand pro bono work by providing meaningful opportunities for attorneys seeking to do pro bono. Ghostwriting is accomplished with less time and resources and is an ideal project for busy attorneys to take on. Attorneys who provide limited assistance by drafting a document or helping to complete a form, can have great impact on a pro se litigant.
Ethics rules in many jurisdictions permit attorneys to engage in ghostwriting. Some jurisdictions require the pro se litigant to disclose that they received assistance from an attorney, while others do not. READ MORE about ghostwriting in our latest blog that includes a guide that reviews its rules and ethics opinions across all 50 states and D.C.
For 14 years, Mexico Appleseed has been growing a network of law firms and corporate counsel engaging in pro bono in Mexico. In this episode, Nihad Mansour, Assistant Director, Law Firm Pro Bono Project® interviews Lisa Dewey, Pro Bono Partner, in DLA Piper’s Washington DC office; Maru Cortazar, Executive Director of Mexico Appleseed; and Gabriela Alaña, Partner, in DLA Piper’s Mexico City Office. Hear how Mexico Appleseed and DLA Piper have been working together to expand access to justice in Mexico. LISTEN HERE.
At the 2022 PBI Annual Conference, financial institutions challenged other industries to have a dedicated day of service inspired by Financial Institution Pro Bono Day—which has been held three times since 2019—and electric and gas companies were the first to step up!
PBI and its Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) project, in partnership with the legal department of Entergy** and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), invite legal departments in the electric and gas industry, to participate in the first EmPOWERing Pro Bono Day on Wednesday, November 16, 2022. This event brings together volunteer attorneys and legal staff from electric and gas companies to provide pro bono legal assistance to address critical legal needs of underserved communities. Participating legal departments will partner with law firms and legal service organizations to plan their pro bono opportunities as part of this event.
This event will magnify the impact of participating departments’ legal pro bono programs by coming together with colleagues and community partners to address critical needs through pro bono legal services.
If you are interested in learning about how your legal department in the electric and gas industry can participate in this event, or if you are interested in being a law firm or legal services partner in this event, please contact email@example.com.
* denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
** denotes a Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® signatory
† denotes a Law Firm Pro Bono Project® member