An Asylum Victory for Hunton & Williams

Here at The PBEye, we love to hear stories of lawyers doing good, so we were happy to see this story  from the Dallas Business Journal come across our desks earlier this week.  It seems that Steve Leshin of Hunton & Williams LLP* recently represented a client from the Democratic Republic of Congo in an asylum case — and won. Leshin’s client was accused by Congolese government agents of being politically aligned with people from a province in the Congo who are hostile to the government of Kabila. The client was targeted because he hired people from this opposition province as

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Thank Up

We received a suggestion from one of our 2011 Seminar/Forum attendees on how legal services providers can better publicize their appreciation for pro bono assistance within a law firm or corporation with which they partnered: “Make sure that, in addition to thanking the individual attorneys, legal service providers also ‘thank up’ the chain to show value, then the thank yous will funnel down.” Making leadership aware of the efforts of their pro bono lawyers can spread institution-wide awareness and may inspire more lawyers to participate in future projects and partnerships And while we’re talking about thanks, we’d like to thank

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CPBO Spotlight On: AT&T Inc.

When the legal department at AT&T formed its pro bono program in 2009, it sought to provide opportunities for its attorneys throughout the United States.  In 2010, the department restructured its program and developed regional pro bono committees to better support its attorneys in different areas around the nation. To ensure a unified program, the department also formed an executive committee to oversee the regional programs efforts.  With support from Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel Wayne Watts, the program has undertaken many pro bono projects across the country. In 2010, nearly 100 AT&T lawyers were involved in more

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VIDEO: Judge Robert Katzmann- Pro Bono Visionary

In 1995, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Robert A. Katzmann, then in his role at the Brookings Institution, published The Law Firm and the Public Good, a collection of essay compiled to examine pro bono in large law firms.  The book, a must read for the aspiring pro bono champion, looked to make both the moral and business cases for doing pro bono.  More than 15 years later, Judge Katzmann’s book is as relevant as ever as law firms think more strategically about their maturing pro bono programs. Judge Katzmann’s work and commitment to pro bono

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VIDEO: Why LSC Budget Cuts Will Hurt Pro Bono

The PBEye was troubled by a proposal in mid-February in the U.S. House to severely cut the budget of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).  We were then dismayed to learn of House approval of a $70 million cut on Feb. 19, which would be certain to hurt legal services throughout the country. PBI’s President and CEO Esther F. Lardent wrote a column for the March edition of The National Law Journal, explaining how the cuts would have a cascading negative impact on access to justice.  The 136 local legal services programs that receive grants from LSC will have their funding

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VIDEO: Law Firms and Pro Bono Post-Recession

PBI is privileged to have such a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer as Jim Jones as chair of its Board of Directors.   Jones, who is senior vice president of Thomson Reuters and Chairman of the Hildebrandt Institute, has been a critical thinker in matters of pro bono and strong advocate in the fight to close the justice gap. Naturally, when Jones stopped by the PBI office for a visit, The PBEye had plenty of questions for him.  But in the interest of being timely (and keeping up with fast-paced online media) we asked him to talk a bit about the direction

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CPBO Spotlight On: Qwest Communications International Inc.

In 2002, Qwest Communications International Inc. launched its “Spirit of Service” campaign to emphasize its dedication to customer satisfaction. That same year brought the leadership of Rich Baer as Executive Vice President and General Counsel to Qwest’s legal department. Embracing the new motto, Baer encouraged the department to develop a pro bono program that would allow it to serve the needs of those in the communities in which Qwest employees live and work. In 2003, under Baer’s direction, an enthusiastic group of attorneys formed a Pro Bono Committee led by Associate General Counsel Christie Searls. As first steps, the Committee

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VIDEO: Using Pro Bono to Help Farmworkers

The PBEye recently had a chance to speak with Bruce Goldstein, executive director of the nonprofit Farmworker Justice, to learn about what the organization does and, of course, how pro bono attorneys can help. We learned some interesting information about the state of many farmworkers and what Farmworker Justice is doing to promote their interests. Among other things, the organization works to influence immigration policy to help undocumented workers attain legal immigration status, improve working wages and conditions, and build coalitions among pro farmworker organizations. And of course, Bruce mentions several ways in which pro bono attorneys assist. YouTube Link

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Involving Smaller Legal Departments and Remote Offices

For small legal departments, or larger departments that also have smaller remote or regional offices, finding pro bono opportunities can be a challenge.  Each year at the Forum on In-House Pro Bono, Corporate Pro Bono, and the conference’s in-house attendees create a list of best practices that address this and a host of similar issues.  So, how do you involve smaller, regional, or more remote offices in pro bono? Why not take advantage of these suggestions: Identify desktop pro bono opportunities. For offices in an area without many opportunities, virtual pro bono presents a viable alternative. These opportunities may include:    

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VIDEO: Pro Bono, the Recession, and Public Interest

The PBEye recently had the privilege of meeting with Appleseed Executive Director Betsy Cavendish who has guided the organization through a number of social justice programs, particularly in the areas of financial access, education, and immigrant rights — and has a unique perspective on the issues. The PBEye snagged Cavendish for a few minutes to talk about trends in pro bono through the recession from the perspective of a public interest organization that works with law firms and legal departments to help close the justice gap on daily basis. We’ve shared her thoughts on the growth of pro bono work through the recession,

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