Corporate Legal Departments Step Up Pro Bono Efforts

A recent article in The Dallas Morning News notes the growing trend of corporate legal departments requiring both their in-house attorneys and outside law firms to provide pro bono legal work for deserving individuals and causes.

The push for pro bono has increased as more and more companies and law firms have stepped up to the plate based on a variety of factors, including public perception and a sense of social responsibility. Fort Worth-based American Airlines is credited with helping lead the corporate push on a national level after the company implemented a pro bono program in 2005 for all in-house lawyers. That commitment has continued to grow, with the airline currently requiring at least 10 hours of pro bono work from each in-house attorney.

Many of the country’s largest corporations, including Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp., are doling out billable work based on their observations of private attorneys in shared pro bono projects. Exxon Senior Counsel Susan Sanchez told the newspaper: “Law firms need to know that there’s a lot of good work that can come from this relationship.”

While the demand for pro bono legal services will likely always outpace the number of deserving individuals and causes, the many Texas lawyers who work very hard for relatively low pay to provide legal services for the poor no doubt welcome the efforts of these corporate legal departments and the private firms that represent them.


Posted: 3/1/2012 9:59:51 AM by Editor | with 0 comments

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Thanks for stopping by On the Merits, the first blog from the Texas Center for Legal Ethics. On the Merits will take a close look at significant legal stories with an eye toward addressing the legal myths and misconceptions that turn up in news stories, movies, TV programs, websites, anonymous emails and other forms of mass communications. Our goal at On the Merits is to provide readers with a thoughtful examination of what the media and others are saying about the legal profession and to apply the frequently-absent context of how the legal system actually works.

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