Pro bono work not only enriches our communities by providing much-needed legal services to disadvantaged populations, but also enriches a law firm's own culture and growth. A strong pro bono program at a law firm aids in recruiting talented law school graduates; it allows associates to augment skills outside their practice area and develop mentoring relationships with partners; and it cultivates pride and job satisfaction, all of which enhances a firm's reputation.
Although pro bono work is a crucial tool that pays dividends in a variety of areas, even the smallest amount of time spent organizing pro bono activities can be costly to a firm. Maintaining a pro bono program that matches the right attorneys with the right volunteer opportunities at the right point in their careers can require hundreds of administrative hours a year. In addition to being tasked with bringing cases to the firm, a pro bono administrator is typically responsible for pulling data from a variety of sources for reporting and tracking purposes, as well as fielding email correspondence with attorneys, reporting hours and assignments.
In 2008 Pro Bono Net launched Pro Bono Manager™, a customized, hosted web application that allows a firm to better manage and promote its pro bono program. By automating an otherwise labor-intensive process, Pro Bono Manager saves law firms hundreds of administrative hours per year and helps them build their pro bono programs.
In turn, revenue generated from licensing the Pro Bono Manager™ program funds core programs of Pro Bono Net, reducing dependence on grants and other restricted funding. Pro Bono Manager is currently being used by twelve leading international firms and, through them, by more than 7,000 lawyers within those firms.