Partnerships at Work: Ford and LAD

Now that you’ve read about the successful pro bono partnership developed by our friends at ExxonMobil and Hunton & Williams LLP*, The PBEye would like to share the story of another important collaboration between Ford Motor Company** and the Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD). Ford first partnered with LAD in March 2010 to pilot a food stamp clinic.  The clinic seeks to assist the growing number of people living in poverty in Detroit, which recently exceeded 30 percent of the population, resulting in an overwhelming number of food stamp benefit cases being referred to government caseworkers. During the clinic,

Read More »

Chicago Firms Tackle Pro Bono Strategically

The PBEye was delighted to see a recent article in Chicago Lawyer Magazine highlighting Chicago-based law firms committed to making pro bono an institutional priority.  The article cites the findings from the 2010 Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge Report, and how these firms have responded to the “ebb and flow” of attorneys’ pro bono participation over time.  The firms quoted in the article include DLA Piper LLP*, Holland & Knight LLP*, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Mayer Brown LLP*, SNR Denton*, and Winston & Strawn LLP*. The article highlights three strategic tactics to increase pro bono participation at large law firms:

Read More »

Russia’s Pro Bono Revolution

Until a few years ago, pro bono was a largely unfamiliar concept in Russia.  According to an article in The Moscow Times, Russia’s recent pro bono revolution comes at an opportune time when Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are in dire need of legal support: The legal environment for NGOs has become more challenging.  New registration requirements and complex tax regulations have  added a heavy burden to NGO operations, and securing access to affordable legal support is now critical to strengthening civil society.  It is here that both international and local firms can have the greatest impact. Over the past few years, pro bono lawyers from Clifford Chance and other Russia-based law firms have

Read More »

ExxonMobil and Hunton & Williams Team Up

With care and planning, partnerships between and among legal departments, law firms, and legal service providers can be a useful way to pool resources, increase capacity, and share ideas to help a greater number of people in need.  The PBEye loves to hear about successful pro bono partnerships, and we are excited to share their stories with you in a series of blogs in the coming months. The northern Virginia office of ExxonMobil Corporation and the McLean, Va., office of Hunton & Williams LLP* formed a partnership in 2009, tapping their combined resources to serve the northern Virginia community.  As its

Read More »

Pro Bono Benchmarking

In our surveys of large law firms, PBI has been delighted to discover that the performance benchmark associated with our Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® – 3 or 5 percent of total billable hours – is the goal now used by the majority of those firms. In other words, the Challenge benchmark is now the gold standard for pro bono performance among that important segment of the legal profession. Recent developments show that the Challenge goals are now increasingly being viewed as the industry standard for the legal profession as a whole.  The goal was recently cited in a New

Read More »

Planning Your In-House Pro Bono Budget

As the U.S. continues to learn, it’s important to think about budgets early and often.  While many of us are still in summer mode, it is never too early to start thinking about your legal department’s 2012 pro bono budget.  Many budgets are due by the end of the third quarter so that they can be discussed and, hopefully, approved by year end.  End of third quarter is less than 40 days away.  Has your department started thinking about it? As The PBEye previously reported, CPBO conducted an in-house pro bono benchmarking survey for 2010.  Survey says! Nearly 46 percent of the legal departments that responded include

Read More »

VIDEO: Helping Lawyers Help Immigrants in Need

It comes as a surprise to many to learn that, in the United States, an immigrant detainee facing deportation who cannot afford to hire an attorney is not appointed one. Without the assistance of pro bono counsel, many immigrants – some of them asylum seekers and victims of violent crimes – are denied the opportunity to identify legal recourse or present their cases to the courts. To learn how pro bono lawyers can help immigrant detainees gain access to justice, we spoke to Maria Odom, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC).  Maria gave us some interesting

Read More »

Challenge Firm Partner: Pro Bono “Meaningful and Fulfilling”

Arnold & Porter LLP*, along with Archer & Greiner, the Brennan Center, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, is leading a pro bono project to challenge a newly enacted zoning law in Bridgewater, N.J., which was designed to block the development of a proposed mosque in the town.  Arnold & Porter Partner Peter J. Zimroth spoke to 200 Muslim supporters of the Al Falah Center, and The New York Law Journal recently published his remarks. Zimroth speaks of an “evident injustice being done” to block the mosque’s construction, when there are 18 houses of worship in the

Read More »

Global Spotlight: Elephant Energy

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”  Light, and pro bono service, we’d like to add.  This week, The PBEye spied a pro bono empowered initiative, Elephant Energy, that quite literally drives out darkness from rural villages across Namibia by distributing sustainable energy technologies. Namibia lacks the resources to meet the energy needs of its rural population.  Daily livelihood activities are rendered unsafe, inefficient, or even impossible without electricity.  For example, between 1.3 and 1.6 million women and children die worldwide each year as a result of air pollution caused by smoke inhalation from cooking

Read More »

SPENT

Poverty in the United States is often seen as a matter of choice and personal responsibility – we work hard, and they don’t. In reality, the difference between “us” and “them” can often be as random as a layoff, divorce, death in the family, medical emergency, or natural disaster. Nevertheless, the belief that “I’ll never be in that position” runs deep and this mindset, along with issues associated with class culture, and diversity, can pose a range of challenges for even the most well-meaning and sensitive law firm pro bono programs and participating lawyers. Poverty simulation exercises are one fantastic

Read More »