Financial institutions from across the U.S. and the U.K. are working together to organize a day of virtual volunteering to provide a diverse range of pro bono legal services to vulnerable communities. Organized by Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO), a Pro Bono Institute (PBI) project, Financial Institution Pro Bono Day, on January 14, 2021, will be virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This day serves to spotlight the severe gap in legal services for underserved individuals and promote in-house pro bono engagement and collaboration with law firms and legal services organizations.
This is the second Financial Institution Pro Bono Day. The event, first held in May 2019, was conceived as a unique opportunity for attorneys and legal staff at companies in the financial sector that might not otherwise work together to join resources to help their individual communities. Financial Institution Pro Bono Day fosters partnerships, expands engagement in pro bono by legal department staff, and—most importantly—provides essential, quality legal assistance to those in need.
The second Financial Institution Pro Bono Day, originally scheduled for April 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the summer and fall of 2020, many pro bono leaders revamped their programs to create remote pro bono opportunities. The event was rescheduled for January 14, four days before the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
“This difficult year not only increased the demand for legal services among those who cannot afford an attorney, but also led many companies to commit to addressing the racial and economic inequities in our society,” said Corporate Pro Bono Director, Alyssa Saunders. “These financial institution legal departments have shown up in a significant way, proving that pro bono champions can meet adversity head on, by working to advance access to justice and racial justice.”
Hundreds of volunteers will participate in more than two dozen events taking place virtually in the U.K. and across the U.S. in key metropolitan locations including Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Richmond, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington, D.C./Northern Virginia. Companies organizing events include American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Bloomberg, BNY Mellon, Capital One, Citigroup, Citizens Bank, Credit Suisse, Discover Financial Services, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, PNC Financial Services Group, U.S. Bank, Vanguard and Wells Fargo. Other participating companies include Apple Bank, BMO Financial Group, DC Green Bank, and TD Bank. Dozens of firms and legal services organizations have partnered with the financial institution legal departments to make these events possible.
Financial Institution Pro Bono Day will offer extensive opportunities in legal pro bono to serve survivors of domestic violence, the elderly, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, veterans, victims of identity theft, those wrongfully accused of crimes, nonprofits and small businesses, among others.
“PBI’s mission is to help in-house legal departments and law firms build a strong culture of pro bono,” said Eve Runyon, PBI President and CEO. “This year has been trying, but I am thrilled that the 2021 Financial Institution Pro Bono Day is able to join participants from across the financial services industry with their law firm and legal services organization partners to change lives for the better.”
About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through PBI’s work with law firms, in-house legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.
About Corporate Pro Bono
Founded in 2000, Corporate Pro Bono is a project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI). CPBO’s mission is to explore and identify new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. CPBO does so by supporting, enhancing, and transforming the pro bono efforts of in-house legal departments in the U.S. and around the world. Since its inception, CPBO has worked with hundreds of legal departments.