Media Release

February 22, 2023

PBI to Honor Capital One Financial Corporation with the 2023 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award

Pro Bono Institute is pleased to honor Capital One Financial Corporation with the 2023 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award. PBI will present the award at a reception on Thursday, February 23, during the PBI Annual Conference. This annual award recognizes an individual’s or organization’s exceptional commitment to pro bono as demonstrated by exemplary engagement in pro bono legal services.

“The Capital One Legal Department has built a strong and sustainable pro bono program that serves communities in a variety of ways,” said Eve Runyon, President and CEO of Pro Bono Institute. “The department has a robust pro bono practice that ranges from clinics to appellate work. Their program stands out for its breadth and depth, and for the range of services it provides to the community. PBI applauds Capital One’s true commitment to access to justice.”

“At Capital One, we are dedicated to helping foster a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper. Our pro bono work is an extension of those values, and allows

our attorneys and legal professionals to give back to our communities and help us build a brighter future. It is an honor to be recognized by Pro Bono Institute, an organization that supports in-house legal departments and law firms alike so that together, we can continue to make justice equally accessible to all,” said Matt Cooper, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, and Head of ESG at Capital One.

Capital One’s Legal Department joined PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative in 2012. Since its pro bono committee was formed in 2011, Capital One’s roughly 375 legal professionals have donated more than 25,000 hours of pro bono service in local communities from offices in the Washington, D.C., Richmond, New York, and Dallas metropolitan areas, in addition to a growing virtual pro bono presence. Capital One provides diverse services that advance justice, including legal pro bono, in-kind support, and skills-based volunteerism by lawyers, technicians, and other professionals, including:

Pro Bono Clinics

Capital One attorneys and legal professionals regularly donate their time to staff a number of pro bono clinics throughout the company’s footprint, including clinics to:

  • provide estate documents for the terminally ill (Virginia) and for veterans and first responders (Washington, D.C., area; Virginia; and New York);
  • facilitate uncontested divorces (Washington, D.C., area; and Virginia);
  • assist immigrants with renewals of visas and DACA applications (Washington, D.C., area; Virginia; and New York);
  • advise the homeless regarding their legal rights and social services (New York and Virginia);
  • triage clients for local legal aid offices (Dallas; Virginia; and Washington, D.C., area);
  • advise artists and nonprofit organizations with routine legal issues (Virginia, Dallas, and New York); and
  • advise students on the risks of identity theft and how to prevent it (Washington, D.C., area).

Capital One’s Legal Department has also partnered with PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono team to hold four Clinic in a Box® programs, most recently in May 2019.

Pro Bono Appellate Work

Over the past several years, members of Capital One’s Legal Department in McLean and Richmond have drafted briefs and argued pro bono cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of prisoners contesting conditions of confinement and undocumented immigrants contesting transfers to out-of-state detention centers, in partnership with the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) and, more recently, McGuireWoods.

Asylum & Immigration Work

Capital One attorneys and specialists partner with KIND (Kids In Need of Defense), a national non-profit organization that partners with pro bono attorneys to serve immigrant children who face the possibility of deportation from the United States. Capital One volunteers represent and assist refugee or immigrant children who may be eligible for relief from deportation so that they do not face immigration court alone.

Capital One Legal also partners on asylum work with both Vecina and Georgia Asylum & Immigration Network (in partnership with King & Spalding), in preparing applications for humanitarian parole for Afghan refugees seeking asylum. The grant of humanitarian parole allows applicants to enter the United States and begin the asylum process, and is one of the few avenues to safety left for these individuals. Attorneys provide virtual representation to asylum seekers, including asylum application drafting, affidavit preparation, country conditions research, evidence gathering, and orientation on the asylum interview process.

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

Capital One attorneys read and consider files from prisoners convicted in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia who are seeking assistance from MAIP to determine whether they merit deeper investigation, especially through the use of new evidence, to prove the prisoner is innocent. Because of the virtual nature of the program, Capital One’s participation with MAIP soared during the pandemic and continues to thrive.

Legal Volunteerism to Help Shape the Future of the Legal Profession

Capital One works on several diversity pipeline programs to educate, equip, and inspire students about careers in the legal profession and judiciary, including: the Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Program of the nonprofit organization Street Law; Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization; and the Richmond Forum’s Richmond Region Speech & Debate Initiative.

JusticeServer and JusticeServer 2.0

Capital One lawyers and technologists worked with lawyers from the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation (GRBF), Central Virginia Legal Aid Society (CVLAS), and the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) to develop JusticeServer, a cloud-based Salesforce application. JusticeServer has been used as a case management system for more than 35,000 legal aid cases benefiting more than 81,000 pro bono clients, and a volunteer portal for providing pro bono on more than 9,000 legal aid cases benefitting more than 24,000 pro bono clients. JusticeServer® 2.0, launched in 2019, expanding its use throughout Virginia, New York, and other jurisdictions.

Read the full Capital One profile here.

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 corporate 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.