TKO for Pro Bono

The PBEye sends special congratulations to Dewey Bozella on winning his first and only professional boxing match on Saturday.  As we’ve reported on this blog previously, Bozella was an amateur boxer when he as wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 26 years in prison.  He was released in 2008 thanks to the hard work of attorneys at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP*, which took his case pro bono. Incidentally, Bozella will be our special guest at the 2011 PBI Annual Dinner in New York.  Bozella’s story is truly inspiring and reminds us of the importance of pro bono in closing

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VIDEO: Broadening the Bench: Involving Non-Attorneys

Law firms and legal departments are made up of a lot of people – many of whom may not be lawyers.  Involving paralegals; librarians; compliance specialists; marketing staff; policy, science, human resources, and information technology experts; and other non-lawyer staff in your pro bono efforts is one way to effectively increase your pro bono practice and serve more clients.  In order for non-lawyers to successfully contribute to your pro bono efforts: (1) the culture of your firm or organization must support non-lawyer participation; (2) non-lawyers must be informed and made aware of relevant pro bono opportunities; (3) you should cater

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Singapore’s Solution to Dead-Beat Dads

In 2009 alone, Singapore moms filed 3,600 claims against fathers who failed to make child support and spousal maintenance payments, some of them repeat defaults.  Custodial parents who depend on regular payments to support their minor children endure an endless stream of time-consuming court procedures in an effort to enforce their kids’ legal right to support.  The PBEye recently learned from The Straits Times that pro bono is about to make justice more accessible to single parents in Singapore. The Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) is tackling this barrier to justice by shifting the burden from the custodial parent

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VIDEO: Thinking Practically About Pro Bono Risk Management

On Tuesday, The PBEye posted a video about risk management at law firms and legal departments in the context of Maples v. Thomas.  In Maples, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether a defendant is prohibited from arguing the unconstitutionality of his death sentence in federal habeas proceedings, because – through no fault of his own – his lawyers missed a filing deadline in the Alabama state court. In Tuesday’s video, our own Reena Glazer, assistant director of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, discussed a few best practices regarding the duty to supervise subordinate lawyers and non-attorneys in pro

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UnitedHealth Group and CLC

Upon establishing a pro bono program in 2008, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated** set out to create formal legal services partnerships.  The Children’s Law Center of Minnesota (CLC) proved to be the perfect fit.  CLC’s mission to give a voice and assist children in foster care, many of whom are children of color or have mental disabilities, matches UnitedHealth Group’s values. Plus, CLC provides a strong program in which UnitedHealth Group volunteers can easily work as a part of a team to dramatically impact a child’s life. In the resulting Child Law Project, each volunteer attorney receives training.  Then, he or she

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VIDEO: Integrating Risk Management into Pro Bono Practice

­The U.S. Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in the case of Maples v. Thomas, which concerns the appeals process for death row inmate Cory Maples (more on the case and oral arguments here).  At issue in the case is whether a mailroom mix-up at the firm that was representing Maples at the time should cost him his critical appeal. The PBEye has been watching the case closely and has some insights on risk management and best practices that pro bono lawyers should consider implementing with regards to supervision of pro bono work and the treatment of pro bono matters

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Troy Davis’ Pro Bono Attorney Reflects on the Case

The American Lawyer recently published an interview with Jason Ewart, an eighth-year associate in the mergers and acquisitions department at Arnold & Porter LLP*†.  Ewart has been in the public eye recently for representing Troy Davis, a Georgia man convicted and sentenced to death for killing an off-duty police officer.  He was executed on Sept. 21.   Davis maintained his innocence for 20 years, especially after seven of the nine eyewitnesses who originally testified against him changed or withdrew their testimony.  Ewart began defending Davis as a first year associate in 2003, with the help of a pro bono legal team

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VIDEO: How Effective is Your Pro Bono?

Pro bono work can make a big impact in the life of an individual or an entire community.  But often, regardless of the scale, it is difficult to gauge effectiveness of the services rendered. And as pro bono work matures, it is becoming increasingly important to be able to measure its effectiveness across multiple fields. David Williams, CEO of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP, talked to The PBEye about several topics including how creating common metrics for pro bono work being done by law firms, legal departments, and public interest groups can take pro bono to the next level. Williams, who

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CPBO Spotlight On: Caterpillar Inc.

Caterpillar established a pro bono program in 2006, under the leadership of Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Jim Buda, who recognized the benefits of developing a pro bono program, both for the legal division and for the communities in which the company operates.  In five short years, the legal division, which consists of more than 300 attorneys and staff in 26 offices worldwide, has provided thousands of hours of pro bono legal services to those in need.  In addition, a Charter Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM, the Caterpillar legal division has met the Challenge’s 50 percent

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Predicting the Future by Shaping It

At a time when so there is so much uncertainty about the economy and the future, it may seem counterintuitive that PBI is seeing a growing trend in requests for assistance in undertaking strategic planning focused on pro bono from law firms and legal departments.  Upon reflection, however, the growth in this part of PBI’s consultative services practice is not surprising. Given the profound shifts in law firm and legal department overall policies and practices, taking a long hard look at the firm or department’s pro bono program to ensure that it is complementary to and fully aligned with the

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