Legal Department Leaders Unite to Support Funding for Civil Justice

For the eighth year running, legal department leaders have once again rallied to support the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the largest funder of civil legal aid in the United States. Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and its global in-house project, Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), along with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), put out a call to action to General Counsel and Chief Legal Officers, inviting them to sign a letter of support for increasing LSC’s Fiscal Year 2025 funding. The GCs and CLOs from 147 corporations signed the letter, calling on Congress to strengthen its investment in equal justice by increasing funding

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Mandatory Pro Bono Continues to Face Challenges

In an effort to address unmet legal needs, some jurisdictions have tried their hand at mandatory pro bono service and reporting, but these systems continue to face challenges. Whether it is New Jersey’s longstanding requirement that lawyers represent indigent defendants or a new proposal in California that would ask lawyers to tell the state bar the number of pro bono service hours they complete each year, the debate among lawyers, state bar associations, and others continues. Background: Pro bono service has historically been encouraged, but not mandated. First adopted in 1983, the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct

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Pledging to Do More In-House Pro Bono

Challenge, accepted! Pledge, taken! Target, aimed! Legal department leaders around the globe have more opportunities than ever before to publicly commit to engaging their legal teams in pro bono. In April 2024, the UK In House Pro Bono Pledge joined the global Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative and the Australian National Pro Bono Target as a way for GCs and CLOs to demonstrate their commitment to pro bono.  These initiatives share a common purpose of motivating in-house pro bono participation. The Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) launched the Corporate Pro Bono Challenge initiative, in 2006

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When Virtual Still Works: Helping the Housing Crisis in More Rural Areas

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP Interview Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has partnered with Legal Services of the Hudson Valley to staff a helpline for tenants facing eviction or related housing crises. Through the helpline, tenants can receive advice about their legal rights and assistance with completing pro se forms, such as answers and motions, to file in their cases. In 2023, over 500 clients were provided assistance through the helpline. We spoke with Laura Sinrod, Special Counsel and Resident Pro Bono Counsel in the New York office. As pro bono counsel, Laura is responsible for

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Medical-Legal Partnerships

By Hena Mehta, Sheehan Scholar Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) are collaborations of attorneys and healthcare professionals to provide patients and clients with results that address their social needs. The premise behind an MLP is simple: healthcare workers provide their patients with effective treatment for their medical illnesses while attorneys address clients’ legal problems that negatively interfere with their health. By strengthening the connection between healthcare and law, MLPs create a streamlined method for clients and patients experiencing legal barriers in their complex medical treatment or related independent issues to have on-site attorneys and expert health professionals involved in their care plan.

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The Need for Pro Bono in Children’s Rights

By Daniela Ramirez-Ledesma, PBI Intern As provided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, every child in this world has the right to be protected from neglect, abuse, exploitation, and mistreatment and should grow up in a nurturing home with food, health care, and education. Sadly, this does not always happen, and over 600,000 children every year are abused in the United States. Children’s rights are fundamental in advancing human rights for all, but without the help of pro bono attorneys, children often are forced to live under unlivable circumstances and experience physical, emotional, and mental abuse

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DLA Piper Rebuilding Hope: Pro Bono for Ukraine’s Small Businesses

The war in Ukraine has dramatically impacted the country’s small businesses, which face challenges that include the disruption of supply chains, destroyed infrastructure, labor shortages due to migration, and difficulty in accessing capital.  New Perimeter, DLA Piper’s global pro bono initiative, is working with the Uzhorod National University Faculty of Law, a law school in Western Ukraine, to help establish and support a legal clinic that will enable Law School faculty and students to provide pro bono assistance to address the critical legal needs of Ukrainian small businesses. DLA Piper has collaborated with the law school in several ways including

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Rights in a Warming World: The Intersection of Climate Migration, Climate Change, and Human Rights

By Margo Kenyon, PBI Intern As climate change continues to leave lasting impacts on people all over the world, an increasing number of people are being displaced both internally and internationally from their homes, often referred to as “climate refugees”. In the year 2022 alone, 33 million people were displaced by natural disaster-related events. Many of the people most vulnerable to displacement live in countries in the global south and small island developing states (SIDS), which have historically contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) but have increasingly been the most impacted. Communities may be impacted by either

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Safeguarding Voting Rights: Learn More at the PBI Annual Conference

In 2021, both Texas and Georgia enacted laws that restricted voting access for marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, the Latino community, and people of color. Statistics featured in this 2023 PBEye blog highlight the many barriers to voting for marginalized communities, and the new laws heightened concerns about altering elections and suppressing voter turnout. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia tried to make voting easier by allowing voters to drop their ballots off in a secure drop box or vote via mail. After the 2020 presidential election, Georgia’s legislature passed a law limiting many of the options that

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Keeping Up Volunteer Motivation: PBI Annual Conference Preview

By Lindsay Haaker Raising pro bono participation can help lessen the barrier to access to justice for many unrepresented individuals. This makes finding the right approach to increase pro bono engagement critical. According to PBI’s 2023 Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® Report, participation rates in 2022 were down for both partners and associates at Challenge signatory law firms, marking the second straight year of declines after a string of years with small upticks. In 2022, 63.1 percent of partners and 83.4 percent of associates participated in pro bono, compared to 66.7 percent and 86.8 percent, respectively, in 2021. Similarly, the

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