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February/March 2019 - Special 2019 Annual Conference Preview Edition

Celebrating Freddie Mac

Ricardo A. Anzaldúa

The Pro Bono Program at Freddie Mac** began in 1991 when a group of Legal Division employees organized to obtain leadership endorsement of pro bono legal services and to partner with Legal Services of Northern Virginia (LSNV). At the time, LSNV offered important elements for the Legal Division’s fledgling pro bono efforts, including substantive training, malpractice coverage, administrative and screening services, and direct services to individual clients. The partnership has continued for nearly three decades as a cornerstone of the Legal Division’s Pro Bono Program.PBI will present Ricardo A. Anzaldúa, Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, and Freddie Mac’s Legal Division** with the 2019 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award at a special luncheon on Thursday, March 28, during PBI’s 2019 Annual Conference. PBI created the Zelon Award to honor those who, like Justice Zelon, demonstrate leadership and extraordinary contributions to enhancing justice for all. Freddie Mac’s Pro Bono Program is featured in the latest installment of Corporate Pro Bono’s In-House Pro Bono in Practice Profiles (commonly referred to as Best Practice Profiles).

Over the years, Freddie Mac’s Pro Bono Program has thrived with unwavering support from division leadership, including a general counsel who strongly supports the program, regularly participates in the Legal Division’s Pro Bono Working Group meetings, and has an extensive personal history of participation in pro bono. “We have a duty as officers of the justice system to provide no-cost legal services to our neighbors who cannot afford to pay even discounted legal fees,” said Anzaldúa.

In 2011, Freddie Mac reinvigorated its Pro Bono Program, began expanding its program offerings, and became a signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative, setting a goal of more than 50 percent participation in the Pro Bono Program, which the Legal Division has exceeded for all division employees—attorneys, legal analysts, administrative staff and other legal professionals. Anzaldúa is proud that “the policy of Freddie Mac’s Legal Division is inclusive in encouraging all Legal Division employees, not only lawyers, to spend up to 50 hours of Freddie Mac work time per year delivering pro bono legal services.”

Today, Freddie Mac’s Pro Bono Program hosts a variety of diverse pro bono opportunities to engage legal staff and meet the needs of the local community. Freddie Mac legal teams have done extensive pro bono work in immigration cases. Since 2015, Freddie Mac has worked with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition to obtain court orders for individuals and families granting asylum and/or special visas in immigration and related proceedings. As of February 1, 2019, Freddie Mac has successfully represented adult and juvenile immigrants in more than 12 cases. In each of these cases, the immigrant faced the substantial risk of serious harm or death had they been returned to their home country. Each case involves litigation over several months and is staffed with at least two attorneys and two division employees who are not attorneys, often with additional assistance from other Legal Division volunteers.

Annually, Freddie Mac hosts seven clinics at its headquarters—covering consumer law, uncontested divorce, wills, and asylum rights. In addition, it participates in offsite clinics focused on name and gender change and works with other in-house legal departments to support the development of in-house pro bono within its community.  Division employees who are not attorneys assist with client interviews, translation during client meetings, research and factual investigation, and other administrative support.

Additionally, the program provides legal services to a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Fairfax Court Appointed Special Advocates, which advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children, and District Alliance for Safe Housing, the largest safe housing program for survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Washington, D.C.

Being part of a mission-oriented company with a strong commitment to community service has also been important to the success of Freddie Mac’s Pro Bono Program. Recognizing this, the Legal Division recently created a social responsibility plan to formally integrate its Pro Bono Program, Diversity and Inclusion Program, and Community Service Program in order to further embed these initiatives in the Legal Division culture.

At PBI’s Annual Conference, Anzaldúa will join other general counsel on a panel to discuss the role of chief legal officers in supporting in-house pro bono within legal departments, companies, and the communities where their employees live and work. Attendees will learn what these developments mean for pro bono supporters at law firms, legal departments, and public interest organizations. To learn more about Freddie Mac’s Pro Bono Program, check out Corporate Pro Bono’s Best Practice Profile of Freddie Mac.

Overcoming Poverty with Justice

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice.” – Nelson Mandela

Those experiencing poverty comprise a disproportionate number of people in our courts, jails, and prisons. Legal professionals, lawyers, and court administrators are frustrated as they continue to see the same people and the same misunderstandings and inefficiencies. Simply put, the justice system is not working for them. Overcoming Poverty with Justice, the closing session of PBI’s 2019 Annual Conference, is dedicated to poverty and challenging our assumptions and current views.

Overcoming Poverty with Justice will be led by Dr. Donna Beegle, of Communication Across Barriers. Born into a migrant labor family and married at 15, Dr. Beegle is the only member of her family who has not been incarcerated. By age 26, she earned her GED and then, within 10 years, received her doctorate in Educational Leadership. She is an authentic voice from poverty who speaks, writes and trains across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty for others. Dr. Beegle’s personal and professional experience along with her engaging and interactive presentation will generate poignant, meaningful, and actionable insights for attendees. To provide meaningful pathways for people to move beyond poverty, it is vital we enhance our understanding of the impact of poverty for people caught in the justice system.

This session will explore myths and realities of poverty and how you can better connect and communicate with the pro bono clients we serve. It will increase awareness of poverty and its profound impacts on the people you serve, enable you to strengthen communication with your pro bono clients, and equip you with tools to break down socioeconomic barriers between you and your clients.

Register for PBI’s 2019 Annual Conference before March 7 to lock in the regular registration rate for substantial savings.

“There is a Person Sitting in a Cell Today Whose Life Will be Changed by Someone Sitting in This Room”

Brian Ferguson served more than 10 years behind bars of a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. Hear his powerful and motivational story when he hosts a plenary session on Thursday morning, March 28.

Brian spoke at PBI’s Annual Dinner in October 2018; here is a sneak preview of what to expect:

Get Ready, Get Set…

Welcome to the Pro Bono Happy Hour, special PBI Annual Conference Preview Edition! In this episode, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project Director Reena Glazer and Corporate Pro Bono Project Director Tammy Sun take listeners behind the curtain of PBI’s 2019 Annual Conference.

Some of the highlights discussed include: Reena and Tammy’s first conference experiences, what’s new and what to expect at this year’s Conference, tips and tricks for newcomers, how even radical introverts can make the most out of the Conference, and shout outs galore!

Check out this week’s Pro Bono Happy Hour!

Annual Conference, Neat!

If you enjoy PBI’s Pro Bono Happy Hour, then we think you’ll enjoy twice the fun! Check out the Pro Bono EXPO and, yes, Happy Hour from 4:15 to 5:30 in the Cherry Blossom Ballroom on Thursday.

Table hosts will share emerging issues, strategies, and innovations; answer questions; and provide information about cutting-edge pro bono opportunities available to your law firm or legal department. This is a unique time to mingle, forge productive relationships and partnerships with public interest organizations from across the U.S. and around the world, and develop new pro bono initiatives. We are excited to conclude our preview with these hosts:

Alameda County Bar AssociationD.C. Bar Pro Bono CenterSan Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program, Inc.
American Bar Association Death Penalty Representation ProjectImmigration Justice CampaignSwords to Plowshares
Animal Legal Defense FundKids In Need of Defense, Inc. (KIND)The Arc
AppleseedNational Law Center on Homelessness and PovertyThe Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Bay Area Legal AidNational Veterans Legal Services ProgramThe Florida Bar Foundation
Bet Tzedek Legal ServicesNorth Carolina Pro Bono Resource CenterThe Human Trafficking Legal Center
City Bar Justice CenterPro Bono PartnershipThe Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund

as of 3/5/2019

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