BUILDING LAW FIRM
PRO BONO PROGRAMS
IN A COST EFFECTIVE WAY
In July 2019, Stacey Slater, Founder and President of Pro Bono Strategies LLC consulting business in NYC and New Jersey, concluded a rewarding 14-year experience as the Pro Bono Partner for Nixon Peabody LLP, an Am Law 100 law firm with 13 offices across the U.S., where she developed the firm’s pro bono policies and infrastructure, maintained relationships with a large network of legal service providers, and organized many successful pro bono projects and clinics, increasing the firm's pro bono participation rate from 48% to 91%.
For law firms that are not in the position to hire a full time pro bono professional, Pro Bono Strategies can use its experience and network to help develop their pro bono programs in a cost-effective way. We also help law firms to leverage their pro bono programs to support their other business objectives.
Under Stacey's leadership:
Attorney pro bono participation almost doubled.
Number of lawyers who did over 20 hours per year more than tripled.
Firm’s ranking on the American Lawyer’s Pro Bono Scorecard rose from 141 in 2005 to 47 in 2018.
Firm won many pro bono awards and garnered much media attention on pro bono successes.
1. Pro bono provides excellent training and hands-on experience for law firm associates.
2. Pro bono work can provide great publicity for a law firm, through press, rankings and awards, enhancing its reputation in its communities.
3. Clients care about pro bono and often ask about it at pitches and in RFPs. Law firms can also partner with a client on a pro bono project, strengthening the client relationship. These companies have their own pro bono programs and have signed a pro bono pledge: http://www.cpbo.org/cpbo-challenge/list-of-challenge-signatories/.
4. Pro bono improves attorney satisfaction and retention.
5. Recruits often ask about a firm’s commitment to pro bono, as it tells them something about the firm’s culture.
6. Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct “strongly encourages” attorneys to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services annually. In NY, 50 hours of pro bono service is required for admission to the New York Bar and lawyers must report their pro bono hours in their biennial registration. In NJ, attorneys who certify that they have performed at least 25 hours of voluntary qualifying pro bono service in NJ are exempt from being appointed to take a Madden v. Delran pro bono case for the following year.
7. Lawyers have unique skills and can make a real difference in the lives of others and help create equal access to justice.