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February 2021

Celebrating the life of Dr. King

PBI® 2021 Annual Conference

Tuesday, March 23 – Friday, March 26, 2021
An Informative and Inspiring Virtual Event That Enhances Your Pro Bono Program

The PBI 2021 Annual Conference is just a few short weeks away. This is the legal profession’s premier pro bono event and the only conference specifically tailored to the interests, needs, resources, and issues faced by pro bono leaders at law firms, in-house departments, and public interest and legal services organizations. Due to the global pandemic, PBI is once again providing virtual sessions, networking opportunities, and more, this time in the span of four days and through a new user-friendly, integrated online platform. If you miss a “live” presentation, registrants can access many recorded sessions on demand during and after the conference. Plus, many sessions offer CLE credit.

In recognition of the current climate, PBI has kept the early-bird discounted registration rate open until March 5.This should also allow firms and organizations to have multiple people attend and take advantage of all the Annual Conference has to offer, including varied learning experiences for seasoned pro bono professionals as well as newcomers to the field. The PBI Annual Conference offers substantive sessions, recognition of pro bono excellence, unique networking opportunities, and more. 

New This Year: Justice Talks
You will be energized and educated through this series of TED-style talks on important access to justice issues.

  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Perspectives from the Bench: The Importance of Local Pro Bono
  • Poverty and Access to Justice
  • Race, Privilege, and Legal Services

New This Year: Regional and Topic-Specific Networking Opportunities
A virtual opportunity to spend time with law firm, in-house, and public interest pro bono leaders from your geographic region, global home base, or an area about which you’d like to learn more. Share experiences, explore legal needs and opportunities for collaboration, and discuss issues of particular interest to your specific communities.

New This Year: The Virtual Exhibition
The always popular PBI Annual Conference Pro Bono Expo has gone virtual. Registered public interest organizations have the opportunity to create a virtual booth, where they can provide information about their pro bono program and connect with conference participants. This is a great opportunity for public interest organizations to get the word out about their pro bono opportunities, and, a great opportunity for law firms and corporate teams to expand their pro bono programs through partnerships.

Celebrating 2020 and 2021 Awardees
This year we are taking time to celebrate those pro bono champions from 2020 and 2021. We will shine the light on these awardees, their careers, and their pro bono programs.

John J. Conroy, Jr.
Baker & McKenzie LLP*†
American International Group, Inc.
Lucy Fato
Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Global Head of Communications and Government Affairs
Judge Jonathan Lippman
(Ret.) Chief Judge of New York
Of Counsel
Latham & Watkins*†
Discover Financial Services Legal Organization
Wanji Walcott
Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer
and General Counsel


The Return of FIPBD: The Sequel is a Success

The second Financial Institution Pro Bono Day, January 14, 2021, overcame obstacles posed by COVID-19 to virtually provide crucial pro bono services to underserved individuals. Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO)®, a project of Pro Bono Institute®, organized Financial Institution Pro Bono Day in partnership with pro bono leaders from 18 financial institutions, alongside partner law firms and legal services organizations. A prelude to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, more than 630 volunteers from 37 financial institutions participated. Pro bono volunteers showcased their commitment to increasing access to justice in over 50 events in cities across the United States and the United Kingdom. The events varied greatly in subject and scope, including topics such as driver’s license restoration, citizenship, uncontested divorces, transgender name changes, financial literacy, advising nonprofits, and many more. In total, nearly 1200 individuals received or benefited from pro bono services as a result of Financial Institution Pro Bono Day. The clinics and trainings on the day provided crucial legal assistance to those in need and showcased how the legal staff of prominent financial institutions can leverage their skills, in partnership with law firms and legal services organizations, to enhance access to justice. Learn more about 2021 FIPBD here.

In 2019, PBI organized the first FIPBD, as a day when legal departments of financial institutions come together to use their unique skills to serve their communities through pro bono legal services. The 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Learn more about 2019 FIPBD here.

Empowering Communities of Color Through Fair Redistricting Plans

On February 12, PBI partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL) to present a program on Empowering Communities of Color Through Fair Redistricting Plans to several dozen pro bono leaders from law firms and legal departments across the U.S. Panelists from LCCRUL discussed pro bono opportunities to support fair, non-partisan, redistricting and ensure that minority voices are heard in upcoming election cycles. The LCCRUL speakers also outlined redistricting principles and legal issues to consider when assessing redistricting maps in 2021; including a plan to combat unfair redistricting, emphasizing community involvement and advocacy to ensure clients feel supported throughout this process.

Advocates need to engage with the public and promote education surrounding redistricting in order to recognize and challenge unfair redistricting maps. After evaluating redistricting maps, advocates must challenge unfair maps and promote alternative maps that better represent and empower communities of color. When necessary, lawyers can pursue litigation, particularly if maps are implemented that attempt to silence minority groups in their local, state, and federal maps. LEARN MORE, READ OUR BLOG

If you or your firm or legal department is interested in learning more about how to engage in the LCCRUL’s redistricting work, please contact Nancy Anderson, Director of Pro Bono, at If you missed the recent program and would like to view a recording, please contact

CPBO Looking for Great Partnerships

Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) is now accepting nominations for the 2021 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award. The award recognizes innovative collaborative approaches to pro bono involving legal departments partnering with law firms and/or public interest organizations. The award(s) will be presented at the Pro Bono Institute Annual Dinner on October 14, 2021 in New York City, or at a virtual event if an in-person event is not feasible.

Your nominations must include at least one legal department and one or more law firms and/or public interest organization partners.

The criteria for selection are:

  • A legal pro bono project that has a demonstrated impact on its community/target group;
  • Substantial involvement by in-house lawyers;
  • Tangible steps toward making the partnership sustainable;
  • Innovative substantive and/or structural (e.g., delivery model) approaches to the effort; and,
  • Addresses a critical legal need and/or particularly vulnerable community/target group.

Do you have a great partnership? Submit your nominee today!

'Tis the Season

Reminder – It is Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® survey season.  Challenge signatories are asked to submit their survey responses by March 19th. If you are a Challenge signatory and did not get a link or are having any technical issues completing the survey, please e-mail us at

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