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Pro Bono Institute Honors Outstanding Public Service With Two Awards

Monday, December 14, 2009

  • Organization: Pro Bono Institute
  • Source: Pennsylvania

The Pro Bono Institute (PBI) presented two awards at its Annual Dinner in New York in November. Hunton & Williams LLP was honored with the John H. Pickering Award for its outstanding commitment to pro bono service.

Aetna, Inc.; Lawyers for Children America (LFCA); Bet Tzedek Legal Services (Bet Tzedek); and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP received the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award for their innovative partnership program.

Hunton & Williams, a long-time supporter of pro bono, was singled out for the firm’s exceptional pro bono culture, which includes a firm partner dedicated to full-time pro bono efforts; the firm’s commitment to donating at least three percent of its annual billable hours to pro bono service; and nearly 100 percent of the firm’s attorneys participating in pro bono activities in the last fiscal year, donating more than 72,000 hours of service.

“To see a firm that has not only answered the Challenge, but also gone beyond the call of duty, is exciting and inspiring,” said Esther Lardent, President and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute. “The robust pro bono program at the firm is impressive, especially in troubled economic times when it would be easy to lighten the commitment to pro bono work. Instead, Hunton & Williams has chosen to lead by example by raising the bar in their commitment to pro bono service.”

Aetna’s legal department, with a 29-year history in pro bono work, was selected for its proactive willingness to partner on pro bono, resulting in an innovative program representing abused and neglected children with LFCA, and also for providing legal support for Holocaust survivors eligible for reparations under a German government program in coordination with Bet Tzedek and Manatt. It is this commitment that has led to Aetna providing office space for LCFA and organizing and leading a series of reparations clinics in conjunction with Bet Tzedek in Connecticut.

“With strong partnerships like this, spearheaded by Aetna’s leadership, we realize the magnitude of what can be accomplished by partnered pro bono work,” Lardent said. “By identifying areas of need and serving those needs, Aetna and its partners have shown their ongoing dedication to community service, social responsibility and social justice.”

Given annually since 1995 by PBI and the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, the first award honors the memory of John H. Pickering, a WilmerHale founding partner and distinguished appellate lawyer known for his extraordinary commitment to pro bono and public interest law.

The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award, presented by Corporate Pro Bono, itself a national partnership project of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Pro Bono Institute, recognizes the unique role partnerships between and among in-house corporate legal departments, law firms, and public interest groups play in the provision of legal services.

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