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November/December 2017

Power Up Your February

Networking break between conference sessions.

PBI’s 2018 Annual Conference is just a couple of months away! This year’s substantive sessions address emerging geopolitical realities, persistent challenges faced by pro bono programs, and novel and cutting-edge issues. With an unparalleled mix of law firm, in-house, and public interest leaders – and numerous opportunities for formal and informal networking – the PBI Annual Conference also offers a compelling introduction to emerging areas of public interest law and potential projects.

New to the Conference this year is a bonus day of programming for public interest attendees. On Wednesday, February 21, public interest leaders can attend offsite programming in the morning and innovative sessions in the afternoon at the Capitol Hilton specifically tailored to them.

In addition to inspiring and informative programming, we provide you with a variety of settings to meet with pro bono thought leaders and to get to know colleagues from other regions and practice settings to help expand your knowledge and your network. During our Regional Joint Networking Exchanges (Wednesday, February 21), law firm and in-house pro bono attendees can spend dedicated time with pro bono leaders from their geographic region, global home base, or those with a mutual area of interest to share experiences, explore legal needs and opportunities for collaboration, and discuss issues of particular interest to their specific communities.

Networking during the Pro Bono EXPO.

See photos from the 2017 Annual Conference

Looking for additional networking opportunities? Stop by the Pro Bono EXPO and Happy Hour on Thursday (February 22) afternoon! Prominent public interest 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 delighted to provide you with additional opportunities to expand your pro bono connections and knowledge. Click here to learn more about the Annual Conference and register today.

Justice Ginsburg to Accept Hall of Fame Award

PBI is honored to present the Inaugural Esther F. Lardent Hall of Fame for Excellence in Pro Bono Award to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court of the United States, at PBI’s Reception on February 22, 2018 at the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

Justice Ginsburg has tenaciously pursued equal justice for all throughout her career. Her own experiences of gender discrimination during law school and as a young lawyer strengthened her resolve to break down barriers for women through the legal system. The Justice has also been a tireless advocate for increasing pro bono participation and bolstering support for legal aid services.

While addressing the pro bono community, she once said, “Without Government prodding, you have taken the initiative to serve those without the wherewithal to pay for legal assistance. Your compensation is not monetary, but the large satisfaction one gains from helping to repair tears in society, making people’s lot a little better because of one’s aid.” Justice Ginsburg is a deeply deserving recipient of the award for her continued work to improve access to justice and pave the way for equal treatment for all people under the law.

The Esther F. Lardent Hall of Fame for Excellence in Pro Bono was established in 2016, in memory of PBI’s founding president, to recognize individuals and organizations that have shown an extraordinary commitment to pro bono and have made a profound impact on advancing the aspirational goal of access to justice for all. Lardent’s 45-year legal career was dedicated to fighting for civil rights and equal protection under the law, during which she pioneered creative approaches to tackling access to justice issues. Highlights include launching the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative which has since become the gold standard for law firm pro bono among large firms.

Those recognized with the Hall of Fame Award have demonstrated a significant commitment to pro bono over a substantial period of time, demonstrated exemplary leadership promoting access to justice, or served as a thought leader and inspiration to the legal profession. Justice Ginsburg’s dedication to increasing access to justice and fighting gender discrimination is legendary and spans decades — from her early years in academia as one of very few female professors to her time at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) where she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project, to her influence in the passing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and beyond.

For more information about the Esther F. Lardent Hall of Fame Award click here.

DACA Special Edition Podcast Episodes

The September 2017 rescission of the DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – program increased the volume and severity of need for pro bono legal services on immigration matters. We convened a panel of four experts to highlight the history of the DACA program, how the rescission is impacting DACA recipients, and how pro bono lawyers can help going forward. Brad Phillips of Munger, Tolles & Olson moderates the discussion with Jesse Gabriel of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Judy London of Public Counsel; and Christina Yang of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

Want to learn more about the impact of the rescission of DACA? Listen to personal reflections and reactions from three pro bono leaders who have worked with DACA recipients for many years.

Five Reasons to Attend CPBO's "Getting Started Series"

New to in-house pro bono? Thinking about formalizing your department’s pro bono efforts, but don’t know where to start? CPBO has the answers! Join us for an exciting new program that covers all you need to know: the “Getting Started Series: How to Launch an In-House Pro Bono Program” running from March – June 2018.

Here’s why you should participate:

1. Learn the Fundamentals of Building a Successful Program

We’ll cover a wide variety of topics every department should know when starting a pro bono program, including: leadership, insurance, project selection and partnerships, multijurisdictional practice, marketing, and communications.

2. Gain Valuable Insight from Seasoned In-House Pro Bono Leaders and Experts

Exceptional guest speakers, including leaders of mature in-house pro bono programs and relevant subject matter experts, will provide guidance and share best practices based on decades of experience.

3. Sessions Are Designed to Meet the Time Demands of an In-House Pro Bono Leader

We know you’re building a pro bono program in addition to your corporate client commitments. Sessions will be held twice-monthly by phone, so you have time to process the information, take follow-up actions, and be ready to launch by the end of the series. Sessions will be recorded in case you can’t make a call.

• 8 Sessions
• 12 Hours of Training
• March – June 2018

4. Build Relationships with Other In-House Pro Bono Leaders

Registration will be limited, so you’ll receive personal attention and have a chance to build supportive relationships with peers that last long after the series is over.

5. The Price is Right – $875 for All Attendees from the Same Department.

A department pays one fee for any member of the department to join the sessions. Plus, attend the PBI 2018 Annual Conference and receive a $150 discount on the “Getting Started Series”!

For more information about the “Getting Started Series” or to register, please call CPBO Director Tammy Sun at 202.729.6980 or email

Juvenile Life Without Parole Webinar

“Kids do not deserve the most egregious punishment.”
– Whitney Untiedt, Akerman†

Join us for PBI’s upcoming webinar, Pro Bono in Practice: Juvenile Life Without Parole; on Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00 PM EST. An expansion of the popular session from PBI’s 2017 Annual Conference, this webinar will explore current events and how pro bono lawyers can be of assistance.

In January 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its 2012 decision banning mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles must be applied retroactively, granting a new chance at release for hundreds of inmates serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for crimes they committed in their youth. The opinion indicated that life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders should be exceedingly rare and gave states two options: resentencing the affected prisoners or making them eligible for parole. At the time of the decision, there were more than 2,500 people (concentrated in California, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania) serving sentences of life without parole for crimes they committed when they were not yet 18. Many of them automatically received those sentences for murders, without individualized consideration of their youth and other factors. Our expert speakers will discuss legal developments and how pro bono lawyers can get involved:

• Heather Renwick, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
• Whitney Untiedt, Akerman†

To learn more about juvenile life without parole from Whitney, tune in to our podcast, the Pro Bono Happy Hour. Looking for more inspiration? Check out our episode with Hayes Hunt of Cozen O’Connor*† and listen to him share his meaningful story about his representation of Tyrone Jones, who was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a crime when he was a minor.

CLE credit is available in many jurisdictions. The program is available for free for Law Firm Pro Bono Project Member Law Firms. Please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Elysse DeRita or Corporate Pro Bono Project Assistant Virginia Lyon for assistance accessing the program.

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

Schedule a Clinic in a Box® Program in 2018

The CPBO Clinic in a Box® program has come a long way since its inception as a pro bono opportunity at the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting (AM). While it continues to be an annual pro bono event for ACC AM attendees and local chapter members, the program has grown in popularity and the options have expanded. As a result, CPBO has instituted a scheduling process to manage requests for clinics. To schedule a clinic in 2018, please submit this form by December 21, 2017.

The Clinic in a Box® program utilizes the strengths of four co-hosts to engage in-house counsel for the half-day event during which volunteers receive training and work in teams to provide free legal services to clients in need. For its first 13 years, volunteers conducted a legal audit of their nonprofit or small business client, reviewing a detailed checklist covering the areas of governance, employment, intellectual property, tax, and real estate to proactively discover gaps in the organization’s legal health and avoid pitfalls.

Select Topic
In 2014, CPBO implemented a new version of the Clinic in a Box® program with co-hosts – the Northeast ACC Chapter, the Lawyers Clearinghouse, and Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo*†. This new version utilized the same format, but focused on a particular topic and produced a deliverable by the end of the clinic. The team developed new materials and it was a great success. The select topic program has exploded in popularity with six clinics held in 2016 and eight clinics held in 2017. Topics addressed include:

Clinic in a Box® Program at the ACC Annual Meeting.

• Bylaws
• Conflicts of Interest Policies
• Equal Employment Opportunity Policies
• Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies
• Performance Improvement Plans
• Separation Agreements
• Social Media Policies and Online Compliance
• Vacation/Leave Policies
• Wage and Hour Policies

2017 – Another great year of programs!
This year, CPBO has worked with returning co-hosts (ACC Chicago – 8th annual clinic; ACC Northeast – 8th annual clinic coming up; and Verizon Communications Inc.**– 13th, 14th and 15th clinics) and new co-hosts (ACC National Capital Region and Leidos, Inc.**) to host clinics that so far have engaged 2,270 in-house counsel and their colleagues to assist more than 650 nonprofits and 60 small businesses.

See pictures from a recent clinic

To the Future and Beyond!
Interested in co-hosting a Clinic in a Box® program? Please contact CPBO Director; Tammy Sun at 202.729.6980. Already know you want to get on CPBO’s clinic calendar? Submit this form by December 21, 2017, and CPBO will get back to you in the new year to finalize a date and discuss next steps.

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

Looking Good, St. Louis!

Panelists at Law Firm Roundtable luncheon, John Koneck at center.

In November, the Law Firm Pro Bono Project traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to participate in a groundbreaking and innovative luncheon with managing partners, pro bono committee chairs, pro bono leaders, and other law firm leaders from the city’s largest law firms. We discussed the business case for law firm pro bono and heard from a special guest. John Koneck, president of Fredrickson & Byron*†, traveled from Minneapolis to share his law firm’s experiences.

John extolled the virtues of pro bono work and its many benefits for firms. In his experience, pro bono “builds relationships at a law firm, including relationships across generations and offices.” John noted that pro bono “helps law firms build positive reputations in the community” and “creates leaders.” Pro bono also boosts attorney retention at Fredrickson & Byron, according to John: “It tells them that the firm cares about them and that we are a business with a purpose.” John emphasized the impact of exposing new lawyers to pro bono – remarking that when they participate early, “they’ll be involved for the rest of their careers.”

Pro bono leaders in St. Louis gather for dinner with Law Firm Pro Bono Project Staff Tammy Taylor and Reena Glazer.

During our four days in St. Louis, we also met individually with nine notable firms in the city. The formats of the confidential meetings were tailored to address the specific needs of each firm and focused on issues of particular interest and concern to them.

Thanks to Husch Blackwell*† for generously hosting the Law Firm Roundtable luncheon and Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® signatories and member firms Bryan Cave*†, Lathrop Gage†, Polsinelli†, Stinson Leonard Street*†, and Thompson Coburn*† for participating, among others. The commitment made by busy law firm leaders, who took time away from the end-of-year press of business for these meetings, was impressive. We look forward to amazing developments in pro bono and access to justice in St. Louis in 2018 and beyond.

If you are interested in scheduling a community-wide event or house call, please contact Elysse DeRita, Law Firm Project Assistant. In addition to traditional, in-person visits, we can meet with you by Skype from our office or by video conference from your firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Should your travels bring you to Washington, D.C., let us know – we would be delighted to meet with you at your convenience. The details and meeting agenda are customized to meet your needs and will focus on issues of concern and interest to you, your firm, and your committee.

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

PBI Welcomes New Director of Development

Danny Reed, PBI’s new Director of Development

We’re excited to welcome our new Director of Development; Danny Reed! Danny will play an integral role in advancing the mission of PBI by developing donor strategies and increasing partnership opportunities with stakeholders.

Reed comes to PBI with 20 years of impressive fundraising and nonprofit management experience. Reed will be working in development towards partnership opportunities at PBI for the 2018 Annual Conference, the 2018 Annual Dinner, and the Esther F. Lardent Leadership in Pro Bono Series, which is a series of forums and networking events designed to bring together the legal community to promote a dialogue on legal practice and access to justice.