I just came from my current boss's office, where I spied on her desk an updated version of a book that I'd given to my former boss w-a-y back in 2006. In fact, he and I used that book to write an acceptance speech for an award that we (my prior law firm) received from my current employer in early 2009.
Check out this blog post and go into your weekend with inspiration for the work that you, and we all, do:
Check out this informative panel conversation at Cardozo School of Law on LLM applicants and New York’s 50 hour law-related pro bono service bar admission requirement. Panelists – David Udell, National Center for Access to Justice; Mark O’Brien and Adam Friedl, ProBono.Net, Sharon Katz, Advisory Committee on New York State Pro Bono Bar Admission Requirements; and, John McAlary, Executive Director of the Board of Law Examiners of the State of New York, with moderator Amy Sugin, Assistant Dean for Graduate and International Programs, Cardozo School of Law — discussed the origin and purpose of the 50 hour rule, responsibilities of LLM candidates under the rule, new technology initiatives pertinent to the rule, and particular requirements for admission to the New York Bar.
October 20-26, 2013 is Celebrate Pro Bono Week! We will be highlighting some exciting new pro bono initiatives across the country launching this week.
Today’s post- by Public Counsel of Los Angeles – is a great example of how to use Pro Bono week to recruit new volunteers!
October is when the Major League Baseball World Series kicks off, and may be a chance for L.A.’s Dodgers to return to glory. But it’s also time for National Pro Bono Week, October 21-26. In celebration of National Pro Bono Week, Public Counsel in Los Angeles is launching its first Pro Bono Pitch campaign to encourage attorneys to take on a pro bono matter before the end of the year. This is a chance to highlight the attorney, their firm or company, and build energy around Pro Bono Week.
The rules of the game: during the Pro Bono Pitch sign on period (September 1 – through December 15), attorneys who sign up to volunteers with one of Public Counsel’s projects will be included on the Pro Bono Pitch roster. The roster will be displayed on Public Counsel’s Pro Bono Pitch Wall of Fame, to be located in the organization’s office. In addition to having their names emblazoned on the Wall of Fame, volunteers who have made the roster will be eligible to win two choice baseball tickets to a 2014 season Dodger Baseball Game through a blind-draw raffle. The raffle drawing will occur at the conclusion of the Pro Bono Pitch sign on period, and the volunteers will be notified by e-mail if they have won.
The Pro Bono Pitch website will list a number of discrete pro bono matters that Public Counsel is advertising as part of the campaign, making it easy for volunteers to get a sense of the opportunities available to them.
Public Counsel staff will be joining in the campaign too – staff is asked to encourage volunteer attorneys they interact with during the Pro Bono Pitch sign on period to take a case. They will also be blogging on Public Counsel’s Go Public site, both during and after the Pro Bono Pitch period, to highlight all the great work volunteers are doing for the organization and their clients.
Public Counsel is the largest pro bono law firm in the nation. Public Counsel’s staff of 61 attorneys and 52 support staff – including five social workers – along with over 5,000 volunteer lawyers, law students and legal professionals assists over 30,000 children, youth, families, and community organizations every year. Founded in 1970, Public Counsel is the public interest law firm of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations as well as the Southern California affiliate of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
October 20-26, 2013 is Celebrate Pro Bono Week! We will be highlighting some exciting new pro bono initiatives across the country launching this week.
Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) kicked off Pro Bono Week with the launch of a new system on IllinoisProBono.org for finding volunteer opportunities and applying for internships and fellowships. A joint venture with The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF), the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) and pro bono stakeholders, this new system will make finding and doing pro bono easier than ever.
IllinoisProBono.org has been helping lawyers and legal professionals find volunteer opportunities and obtain the training and support they need to do pro bono work since 2001. According to Bob Glaves, Executive Director of the CBF, “the new system will make it easier for attorneys and students to connect with meaningful pro bono opportunities and will help more people in need of legal assistance throughout the state to resolve their legal problems.”
The new Volunteer Search and Internship Application system will play a key role in navigating public interest opportunities statewide and includes two core components. Registered lawyers, law students and other legal professionals can search for volunteer opportunities by practice area, geographic location, organization or type of opportunity. Once registered users find an opportunity that interests them, they can then connect immediately with one simple click, sign up for online trainings, and access resource manuals to support the volunteer opportunity.
“The new system will make it easier for our attorneys to find the pro bono opportunities that fit their needs, interests and busy schedules,” says Greg McConnell, Pro Bono Counsel at Winston & Strawn LLP. The new system allows pro bono managers at law firms and corporations, like McConnell, to direct their associates and partners to volunteer listings that match their skill sets and areas of interest. The new system creates a user-friendly experience for all those who choose to give back.
The new system also allows interested law students to search for internships and fellowships through a new online tool specifically designed for them and the legal aid and public interest organizations that host these opportunities. According to Alisa Rosales, Associate Director of Public Service Law at DePaul University, “The new volunteer system on IllinoisProBono.org will help law students find opportunities that complement their classroom skills while serving the community. The experience is invaluable for building practical skills while deepening the base of knowledge of the legal profession and practice.” As with the pro bono search, students can search for internships and fellowships by organization, geographic location, or type of opportunity.
With the launch of this new system, ILAO is offering training sessions to law firms, corporations, public interest organizations, law schools, and potential volunteers who are interested in learning how to use the new system.
Illinois Legal Aid Online is a groundbreaking, nationally-recognized nonprofit that uses technology to put the law within reach for millions of lower-income, disabled and vulnerable Illinois residents who can’t afford a lawyer. Four websites and two mobile apps link people in need of legal services to the law, volunteers to pro bono support resources, and members of the legal aid community to each other. If you would like to schedule a training session, please contact Kevin Zickterman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of us involved in conceptualizing the event, it’s hard to believe that this is the fifth National Celebration of Pro Bono. Although national in breadth, the Celebration was established as an opportunity for law-related groups in communities all across the country to take the next step in their efforts to provide high quality legal services to those living on the social margins. This approach allows for flexibility and the development of locally appropriate and effective approaches to expanding pro bono services.
The Pro Bono Committee developed the following goals to provide a framework for Celebration event planners:
- recruit more pro bono volunteers and increase legal services to poor and vulnerable populations,
- mobilize community support for pro bono among a broad coalition of groups and individuals,
- foster collaborative relationships, and
- recognize the pro bono efforts of lawyers.
As the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service was developing the Celebration the most commonly expressed concern was, “If we build it, will they come?” Apparently we didn’t have to worry. In the Celebration’s first year we were able to identify 525 events; this year we have close to 900 events listed on the website (www.celebrateprobono.org). Other quantifiable measures provide further evidence that the Celebration has developed a life of its own: we have tracked 459 different event sponsors, the amount of swag purchased from the Celebration store is at an all-time high, the number of unique website visits continues to grow, and much more.
More than anything, success can be measured by reviewing the events taking place against the goals the Pro Bono Committee established back at the beginning of the Celebration. While there are certainly many important and appropriate recognition events happening this year it is tremendously exciting to note that these are far outweighed by the number of events focused on recruiting new volunteers and serving more clients. And, notably, new collaborations are being fostered all over the country as law-related groups increasingly reach out to other providers in their communities to maximize the services provided to those who need it the most.
None of these successes could have happened without the invaluable donation of web hosting and support provided by Pro Bono Net, the excellent consulting services of Sharon Browning, the outstanding work of the ABA Center for Pro Bono staff and, most of all, the cadre of event planners who bring creativity and vision as they craft the appropriate events for their local community’s needs. Thank you, one and all, for your commitment to expanding pro bono legal services for those in need nationwide.
After five years of planning and implementation, it is evident that the National Celebration of Pro Bono provides an invaluable strategic tool for bar associations, pro bono and legal services programs, law firms, judiciaries, law schools and others interested in promoting and expanding pro bono opportunities for lawyers, paraprofessionals and law students. As importantly, the Celebration is a critical and effective tool for the ABA’s Pro Bono Committee in serving the needs of our constituents. Our contacts with Celebration event planners invariably result in our staff providing technical assistance, resources and guidance on other aspects of growing and enhancing pro bono program initiatives.
Though the National Celebration of Pro Bono is an annual event, making pro bono a critical component of your day-to-day planning and programming is essential. The ABA Center for Pro Bono stands ready to help. For assistance, send an email to email@example.com – our staff will get right back to you to help you figure out how you can make celebrating pro bono an ongoing part of your organization’s mission.
Thank you for celebrating pro bono with the ABA and your colleagues around the country. Do Good. Do Justice. Do Pro Bono.
Steven Scudder is Counsel to the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Mr. Scudder had been doing consulting for the ABA Center for Pro Bono since 1986 and in 1994 was hired as the Center’s director. In 1996 he became Counsel to the ABA’s Pro Bono Committee. During the past 16+ years he has led many successful national pro bono initiatives, has spoken and written extensively about pro bono, and has provided extensive consultation to programs across the country. Mr. Scudder recently received the 2013 Bruce E. Friedman Pro Bono Award from the New Hampshire Bar Association and the University of New Hampshire Law Rudman Center.
New York is once again in the forefront of narrowing the civil justice gap with a bold new initiative to promote pro bono work. Last year, New York became the first jurisdiction in the United States to require pro bono service as a condition for bar applicants to become licensed for law practice. Beginning in January 2015, applicants seeking admission to the New York State Bar must complete at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service. The Committee’s White Paper, New York’s 50-hour Preadmission Pro Bono Rule: Weighing the Potential Pros and Cons, explores the new rule’s contours, inventories potential benefits and drawbacks, and reports on activity in other states that are pondering whether to follow New York’s lead. Mandatory pro bono for bar admission is or has been discussed in a number other states, including California, New Jersey, Montana, and Connecticut. California is perhaps furthest along and has been exploring broad-based changes to the legal education model that would emphasize experiential learning, including through pro bono work.
As described in the White Paper, the Committee has some concern with the New York rule’s broad definition of “pro bono service,” which includes not only pro bono activities which come within the definition used in ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and New York’s own professional conduct standard on pro bono, but also activities better described as “law-related public service.” In New York, the broad definition was considered necessary as a practical matter both to provide the requisite service opportunities for the thousands of applicants who seek admission to the New York bar and also to respond to pressing needs of various government agencies which reported problems attracting new graduates, who feel they can no longer afford to work in the public sector. To avoid diluting or confusing the meaning of pro bono work, the Committee would urge other jurisdictions considering the New York approach to consider using both “pro bono” and “law-related public service” to describe the qualifying service if they follow a similar approach. But whatever you call it, there can be no doubt that the rule will provide valuable benefits to the people of New York state and elsewhere, at the same time it educates tomorrow’s lawyers on the value of pro bono and other forms of law-related public service. We applaud Chief Judge Lippman and so many others in New York who seek new means to meet the legal needs of the poor and put the spotlight on the importance of pro bono work by all members of the legal community – law students, pre-admission law graduates and practicing lawyers – towards that end. The Committee will continue to monitor and revise our report as further developments occur across the country.
Mary K. Ryan is a partner at the law firm of Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP and Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono & Public Service.
Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2013 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. This is the last of our five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.
Jeffrey Trachtman is a partner at Kramer Levin in New York. His commitment to pro bono services spans a quarter-century and is exemplified by his work at the firm, where he headed the Kramer Levin’s Pro Bono Committee from 1994 to 2011. In his role, Trachtman dedicated 200 to 400 hours a year to administering the program and 100 to 500 hours a year to substantive pro bono work. And although he has stepped down as chairman, he still devoted more than 500 hours last year to pro bono activities, which includes significant work on matters related to Social Security disability and LGBT rights.
Click here to watch and listen as Trachtman shares his insights about receiving the award and his years of service.
Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2013 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. This is the fourth of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.
Leonard, Street and Deinard has demonstrated enduring dedication to pro bono through its Legal Clinic at the Community-University Health Care Center in south Minneapolis, where its attorneys provide free legal representation in an effort to help improve the health and welfare of the patients. Since the opening of the Legal Clinic in 1993, Leonard, Street and Deinard attorneys have aided about 1,900 clients and dedicated about 83,600 hours to pro bono cases.
Learn more about the firm and their commitment to pro bono, here.
On behalf of the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and The National Legal Aid & Defender Association, the 2014 EJC Law School Pre-conference planning team invites you to submit program recommendations for this year’s pre-conference.
The pre-conference will be held on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Towers. (The main conference runs from May 1-3, 2014*).
If you have questions, please contact Nura Maznavi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Main conference requests for proposals will be solicited this week.
Each year, the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Pro Bono Publico Awards honor individuals or organizations in the legal community that enhance the human dignity of others by improving or delivering volunteer legal services to the poor or disadvantaged. 2013 recipients were honored at a luncheon during the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco. This is the third of a five-part series recognizing this year’s award winners.
Patricia Lee, a Partner at Hutchison & Steffen in Las Vegas, is remarkably dedicated to pro bono efforts, both on a personal level and as a leader at her firm. In 2012, she performed more than 250 hours of pro bono service and led a pro bono initiative Hutchison & Steffen, leading it to donate more than 900 hours. Lee is a member of the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s Pro Bono Advisory Council, which works to encourage lawyers to take on pro bono cases, as well as a volunteer for the Child Advocacy Program in Nevada, where she represents abused and neglected children.
Click here to watch and listen as Lee shares her insights about receiving the award and her pro bono service.