- A group of San Francisco Bay Area law firms and legal services providers recently launched the Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative, dedicated to expanding access to legal services in rural and/or isolated communities throughout the Bay Area. This project is the first of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel's (APBCo) IMPACT Projects to launch. The IMPACT Projects are being created in response to a meeting held in Washington, D.C., in 2012 by Vice President Joe Biden, APBCo board members (including me) and senior management of the board members' firms. Several of the New York projects will be launching this fall.
- Several large law firms have filed the first human trafficking suits in federal court as part of a large pro bono effort in conjunction with the Southern Poverty Law Center. These suits are the first in a series of federal lawsuits to prosecute multiple human trafficking and racketeering allegations against a Gulf Coast marine services company and its network of recruiters and labor brokers.
Beginning today, New York lawyers must disclose on their biennial registration forms how many pro bono hours they provided and how much they made in financial donations to pro bono programs during the previous two years
This wonderful news arrived in my email inbox today from the New York Law Journal. What does this mean? While large law firms generally report their pro bono hours through their firms' reporting to the American Lawyer, Vault, the Pro Bono Institute and others, pro bono hours of New York attorneys in small to mid-sized firms, in-house legal departments, and solo practitioners might often be left unreported in any formal way if they are not captured by legal services providers. This new requirement will allow the courts to get a better sense of these hours and formulate meaningful access to justice programs accordingly.