To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel :
I recently did my bit of pro bono for the animal kingdom.Not at all expecting to change my life, I took a spur-of-the moment trip to the San Francisco SPCA. When I got there, I was drawn to a four-month-old lab/border collie mix puppy, the last of his abandoned litter. He was napping in front of the TV watching the Michigan-Ohio State football game! The SPCA is a great facility with wonderful staff who love the animals, but it is no real long-term home for a puppy, so I adopted him.
Getting a rescue dog reminded me of Charles Dickens' great novel, Oliver Twist, in which an orphan is taken in by the Monks, a band of pickpockets. As amusing as it was to work scams on the rich Londonfolk, it was no real home for a boy. A gentleman ultimately did his bit of pro bono for the children of London by adopting Oliver (sorry for spoiling the ending, but you've had plenty of time to read it by now). The novel was the inspiration for my puppy's name, if you have not gleaned that by now.
The Chapter, under the leadership of Pro Bono Chair Bruce Ives, and in association with the Silicon Valley Law Foundation and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, recently completed its first major Pro Bono activity. The one day pro-bono clinic was an opportunity for Bay Area in-house attorneys to be trained and provide legal services to clients in need of guardianship assistance and AIDS patient related legal services. Participants reported that their experience was more fulfilling than they expected.
As the new President of this Chapter, my New Year's Resolution for 2007 is to (1) seek the same enrichment that I got (and continue to get) from rescuing Oliver, but to do so by taking part in pro bono activities that help those who are under-served by existing legal resources and (2) identify means to get our members motivated so they too can take this same fulfilling journey with me.
In a memorable scene of the novel (or movie), little Oliver Twist has the audacity to go back for seconds in the gruel line at the orphanage. When it comes to Chapter pro bono, I have the same audacity to ask you, the members for "MORE" (pro bono). Please try to make this year the year that you venture into the pro bono world to do MORE.
I look forward to 2007, which is starting off well with the following events: CLE Spring Training 2007 on March 30 at the Hyatt Regency at the San Francisco Airport, and an April ACC CLE program on April 18 at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco (For details see the Bulletin Board on www.metrocorpcounsel.com).