Pittsburgh Corporate Pro Bono Initiative

The Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership celebrated its first anniversary with a breakfast event and a day of pro bono workshops on March 27, 2002. The breakfast was sponsored by Pepper Hamilton L.L.P., the Allegheny County Bar Foundation and the ACBA/ACBF Public Service Committee. Local judges, law firm managing partners, corporate general counsel and pro bono coordinators attended the hour-long program, which was held at the Rivers Club in Oxford Centre. PBA Pro Bono Coordinator David Keller Trevaskis attended the anniversary celebration.

During the breakfast, members of the partnership were recognized, along with several pro bono clients who shared what pro bono legal services have meant to them. Speakers at the breakfast included U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose of the Western District of Pennsylvania; Laura Stein, Heinz general counsel; James Diggs, PPG general counsel; Robert Racunas, executive director of the Neighborhood Legal Services Association; and Barry Trilling, partner at Pepper Hamilton. Esther Lardent, director of the Pro Bono Institute in Washington, D.C., also spoke at the breakfast and later led the workshops.

Following the breakfast, there was a two-hour workshop for law firm and law department pro bono coordinators led by Lardent and Lily Garcia, coordinator of the Pro Bono Institute’s CorporateProBono.org project. During the workshop, coordinators explored new ways to deliver pro bono services, including collaborative projects among Pittsburgh-area law firms and law departments. In the afternoon, Lardent and Garcia led a two-hour workshop for the Allegheny County pro bono provider community that focused on packaging pro bono in a manageable and appealing manner for attorneys and paralegals.

Formed in March 2001, the partnership is a collaboration among Pittsburgh-area law firms and law departments and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. Its purpose is to increase significantly the pro bono legal assistance provided by attorneys and paralegals. Initially sponsored by the law departments of Alcoa, Heinz, PPG, U.S. Steel and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation, the partnership asks law firms or law departments joining the partnership to commit 10 hours of pro bono time annually for each attorney and paralegal. Participation is open to all law firms and law departments with offices in Allegheny County. During the past year, the board of directors of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Corporate Counsel Association voted to become a sponsor of the partnership and urges all if its members to join.

For more information on the partnership, contact Laurie Mansell at (412) 454-5804.