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In-house Access Insight & Commentary for In-House Counsel Worldwide

Calling All Good Global Citizens

Posted in Pro Bono

Guest Blogger: Julia Alanen is project coordinator, global pro bono at the Pro Bono Institute

A growing number of legal departments are enhancing their pro bono and corporate social responsibility schemes by adding a global element. Some legal departments use global pro bono to engage their attorneys in offices abroad by offering them coveted pro bono opportunities similar to those available to stateside staff. Others use it as a vehicle to promote cross-border teambuilding by engaging multiple offices in collaborative pro bono projects. Global pro bono is also used to engender trust, build reputation, and positively impact the countries and communities where companies maintain a physical presence or do business. Whatever the impetus, in-house legal professionals are clamoring for opportunities to do global pro bono.

On Feb. 7, 2012, Bruce Ives, vice president and deputy general counsel at Hewlett-Packard Company,* Esteban Mazzucco, legal director for Latin America South at Syngenta and ACC Argentina Chapter President, and Michael Sposato, deputy general counsel at Caterpillar Inc.,* will continue the conversation on this topic, which they started at ACC’s Annual Meeting last October, through a webinar hosted by CPBO, in partnership with Global Pro Bono Project of the Pro Bono Institute (PBI). CPBO is ACC’s joint venture with PBI. The panelists will share diverse examples of successful global pro bono initiatives, including:

  • direct legal services and litigation;
  • commercial and transactional work;
  • international human rights and humanitarian work;
  • democracy building and rule of law initiatives;
  • disaster relief;
  • legal research and policy advocacy; and
  • legal and clinical education.

During the October 2011 session on in-house global pro bono, Ives, Mazzucco and Sposato shared their experiences and perspectives on doing global pro bono work. The trio tackled topics that included:

  • identifying quality global pro bono partners and projects;
  • structuring and managing a global pro bono component;
  • leveraging in-house resources by partnering with law firms and NGOs;
  • identifying and overcoming obstacles in jurisdictions with no history or tradition of pro bono;
  • teambuilding and engaging remote offices through collaborative global pro bono projects;
  • involving non-lawyer staff in global pro bono;
  • enhancing employee recruitment, retention and advancement through global pro bono; and
  • boosting business and building reputation in emerging markets by advancing democracy and the rule of law through pro bono.

Four key takeaways were:

  1. Pro bono opportunities exist for any lawyer, anywhere, with any skill set;
  2. In today’s global economy, doing good globally is globally good for business;
  3. Often, the challenge is figuring out how to effectively and meaningfully match the growing interest in providing assistance to identified needs; and
  4. Legal departments, law firms and NGOs continue to work together to address obstacles and identify opportunities for lawyers interested in providing pro bono services.

So, if you missed CPBO’s session on in-house global pro bono, click here for more information about the Feb. 7 webinar.

To learn about global pro bono opportunities for your in-house legal department, contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.

*denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM