WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pro Bono Institute (PBI) has selected the legal department of Exelon Corporation as the recipient of its 2017 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award for its pro bono efforts and leadership within the legal community to increase pro bono legal services and improve access to justice. The award will be presented at PBI’s Annual Conference Reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., on March 9.
Exelon, a charter signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, began its formal pro bono efforts 15 years ago when it adopted a policy encouraging pro bono engagement by legal department staff. At the time, pro bono was still a relatively new endeavor for in-house departments. Since then, the program has grown under the support and example of each of former general counsel Randall Mehrberg, William Von Hoene, Andrea Zopp and Darryl Bradford, as well as current Senior Vice President and General Counsel Thomas O’Neill. As a result, Exelon has developed programs that involve almost all of its more than 100 attorneys and nearly as many legal department staff in pro bono.
“At Exelon, we recognize the importance of supporting the communities we serve, beyond delivering clean, affordable and reliable energy. Many families don’t have access to legal services, and this is one way we can help address a critical, unmet need in our communities,” O’Neill said. “It is an honor to be recognized by Pro Bono Institute, an organization that provides so much support to in-house legal departments and law firms alike in building, enhancing and transforming their pro bono programs.”
Led by dedicated local pro bono leaders, members of the Exelon legal department are engaged in matters ranging from drafting estate planning documents for first responders to retirement preparation for low-income seniors. Pro bono has become an integral part of the culture and is included in the Exelon legal department’s annual all-hands meetings, held in each office and staffed by the general counsel.
Exelon’s influence has had an impact well beyond its volunteers and the clients they assist. Exelon not only leads by example, but its pro bono team has worked to expand in-house counsel engagement in pro bono by mentoring in-house pro bono leaders and inviting other legal departments to join their pro bono efforts. In addition, Exelon recognizes its position of influence and has incorporated pro bono into its evaluation of outside counsel, who are frequent partners in the effort to increase access to justice.
“The legal department at Exelon exemplifies the best of pro bono, promoting broad participation within their department and also inviting partners outside their organization to join them in providing pro bono,” PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon said. “Their proactive and collaborative approach to improving access to justice is admirable.”
About PBI’s Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award
The award is given each year to an individual or organization that has provided exemplary pro bono service. It honors the leadership of Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal Laurie D. Zelon, who was one of the originators of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge® initiative. Past recipients include Aetna, Inc., BNY Mellon, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Intel Corporation, General Electric Company, Merck & Co., Inc., and Microsoft Corporation among others.
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 our 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 probonoinst.org and www.cpbo.org.
About Exelon Corporation
Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) is a Fortune 100 energy company with the largest number of utility customers in the U.S. Exelon does business in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada and had 2016 revenue of $31.4 billion. Exelon’s six utilities deliver electricity and natural gas to approximately 10 million customers in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through its Atlantic City Electric, BGE, ComEd, Delmarva Power, PECO and Pepco subsidiaries. Exelon is one of the largest competitive U.S. power generators, with more than 32,700 megawatts of nuclear, gas, wind, solar and hydroelectric generating capacity comprising one of the nation’s cleanest and lowest-cost power generation fleets. The company’s Constellation business unit provides energy products and services to approximately 2.5 million residential, public sector and business customers, including more than two-thirds of the Fortune 100. Follow Exelon on Twitter @Exelon.