WASHINGTON, D.C. – Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), the Pro Bono Institute (PBI), and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) are pleased to announce a major milestone in advocacy for corporate pro bono programs with the addition of CPBO’s 100th Challenge Signatory.
“Enrolling our 100th Signatory is a clear demonstration of corporate legal departments’ commitment to corporate social responsibility and legal ethical obligations,” said Esther Lardent, president and CEO of PBI. “In times when the reality is greater demand for legal services and less funding for programs that support that demand, we are seeing major corporations step up to fill in gaps in our legal system.”
The CPBO Challenge℠ is a voluntary commitment to corporate social responsibility through pro bono legal work. The Challenge, as the only national and global measure of in-house pro bono performance, establishes the Signatories as an elite group of corporations that have taken a bold step to promote access to justice.
“We value the commitment made by these departments,” said Fredrick J. Krebs, ACC President. “Their size and diversity provides a tremendous example to the business community of the importance of using in-house skills and resources to help those in need.”
Since 2000, CPBO, a partnership project of PBI and ACC, has worked with corporate legal departments, providing support, guidance, and information to aid in the establishment of in-house pro bono programs. The Challenge is the only national and global measure of in-house pro bono performance.
“As the inaugural Signatory to the Challenge, The Clorox Company’s legal department has been able to use our skills to impact the greater good,” said Laura Stein, general counsel of Clorox and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board. “Corporate social responsibility comprises many duties, and with the help of CPBO, we’ve been able to incorporate pro bono legal work as a major part of those duties.” One example is Clorox’s work with the Family Violence Law Center (FVLC) of Oakland. Through FVLC’s In-Court Attorney Assistance Project, Clorox has provided its attorneys opportunities to learn civil legal responses to family violence and provide day-of-court legal assistance to petitioners seeking civil restraining orders in the Alameda County Superior Court.
“Being a part of the Challenge shows that corporations are moving in the right direction,” said Brad Smith, general counsel of the Microsoft Corporation, and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board. “We are seeing the impact that companies can make and, by using our professional skills, our legal staff have offered pro bono legal aid to immigrants and refugees as they face challenges related to their status.” Attorneys at Microsoft worked on behalf of immigrants, refugees, and newcomers that are detained annually by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement through Volunteer Advocates for Immigrant Justice and with the support of several local law firms.
Walmart became the 100th Challenge Signatory, hiring a dedicated in-house pro bono attorney to help grow their program. As the top company on the Fortune 100, Walmart joins other in-house legal department leaders as the CPBO Challenge grows. The CPBO Challenge has already grown beyond 100, and expects that the Challenge will eventually include all of the Fortune 500 legal departments, securing pro bono’s place as a lynchpin in corporate social responsibility.
A complete list of the 100 Corporate Pro Bono Challenge℠ Signatories may be found here.
About the Association of Corporate Counsel
The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), PBI’s partner in launching and administering CPBO, is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, and other private-sector organizations around the globe. With more than 26,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations in more than 75 countries, ACC connects its members to each other, and to the resources necessary for personal and professional growth.
About Corporate Pro Bono
Corporate Pro Bono, a partnership project of the Pro Bono Institute and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), is designed to substantially increase the amount of pro bono work performed by in-house counsel and to enhance the pro bono culture of in-house legal departments through technical assistance to the in-house community, targeted research and publications, online information and services, and outreach and educational programming. Corporate Pro Bono also works closely with ACC chapters to focus their resources and agendas on pro bono service.
About the Pro Bono Institute
Established in 1996, PBI is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to explore and identify new approaches to the poor and disadvantaged unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. In doing so, PBI identifies and develops innovative programs and undertakes rigorous evaluations to ensure that these new approaches are workable and effective. PBI administers a number of projects designed to enhance access to justice, including: the Law Firm Pro Bono Project®, Corporate Pro Bono, Second Acts®, Global Pro Bono, and Public Interest Pro Bono.