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 ChallengeSMis 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.
Attorneys at Microsoft worked on behalf of immigrants, refugees, and newcomers who 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.
A complete list of the 100 Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM Signatories may be found by visiting http://www. probonoinst.org/images/pdfs/2010_challenge_signatory_list.pdf.