Virtual Pro Bono: Highlights from the 2021 Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable

On March 10th, representatives from Illinois in-house corporate legal departments met online for PILI’s Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable. This year, the group discussed promoting pro bono in a virtual world.

Exploring New or Successful Virtual Pro Bono Opportunities

Kenneth Johnson of AT&T led a discussion about corporation’s new and successful virtual pro bono opportunities. Some shared about holding virtual clinics including with Illinois Free Legal Answers while one held a monthly drop in fair where attorneys could log in to learn more about available pro bono opportunities. The group encouraged each other to use the Corporate Pro Bono Listserv to continue to share ideas and opportunities to collaborate. If you are not already a member of the listserv or have questions about it, email PILI Senior Managing Attorney Brent Page.

Challenges & Successes in Encouraging Pro Bono in a Remote World

Brian Budzicz of Zurich North America led the group in talking about what worked and what was hard about virtual pro bono. The group discussed the concern that virtual pro bono opportunities could be seen as less of a commitment. This made it easier for attorneys to participate, but also easier to back out of the opportunity. The group discussed how to encourage pro bono outside of typical in-person recruitment efforts.

Corporate Pro Bono to Advance Racial Justice & Systemic Change

Julie Rosales of John Deere led this discussion about how corporate pro bono could help advance racial justice. The group discussed how many corporations could prioritize anti-racism work and different pro bono opportunities in that area. There was an acknowledgement that in one sense, all pro bono and legal aid efforts assisting those who cannot afford an attorney helps advance racial justice and systemic change. The group discussed the importance of this work.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the  Corporate Pro Bono Roundtable. Check back soon to register for the Illinois Forum on Pro Bono, which brings together corporate pro bono leaders as well as law firm, agency and law school pro bono leaders.

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Posted in 2021 Roundtables.