Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative

Program Aids Pro Bono Efforts Across Tennessee

The Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative was launched as a joint effort by the TBA Access to Justice Committee, the TBA Corporate Counsel Section and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) to help foster a coordinated approach to pro bono work and support for the access to justice community by corporate counsel in Tennessee.

First organized in 2006, plans are now underway for the Ninth Annual Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Gala, which will be held Saturday, March 7, 2015 in Nashville.

Tennessee law firms and corporations are invited to support the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative by becoming recognized sponsors. Over the last eight years, the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative has raised over $425,000. This money has funded corporate counsel pro bono project grants across the state. The funded projects offer in-house and corporate lawyers specific pro bono opportunities tailored to their situations, skills and interests and facilitate partnerships among corporate legal departments, law firms, access to justice and other community service organizations to help meet local legal service gaps. Other projects include outreach events held around the state that offer in-house and law firm corporate counsel information about how they can become involved in pro bono work locally and provide networking opportunities for them to meet representatives from their local access to justice organizations as well as other law firm and corporate counsel as potential partners in pro bono projects.

For more information, please see the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Annual Report.

Grants available for pro bono projects

The TBA is now accepting applications for Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Grants. The awards are funded by money raised through the Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative and go to local access to justice organizations and partnerships with corporate legal departments and law firms to defer the costs of developing pro bono opportunities/projects specifically designed for corporate counsel.

Why is this important?

More than one million Tennesseans have incomes below 125 percent of the federal poverty level, and a recent legal needs study reveals that these poorest Tennessee families are experiencing between one and three civil legal problem a year. Legal aid programs around the state are unable to meet this overwhelming need with limited staffs, and pro bono programs trying to fill the gap simply do not have enough resources or volunteer lawyers.

Tennessee's corporations and corporate counsel can help make a significant difference by sponsoring and attending the CCPBI Gala to learn about special pro bono opportunities for corporate counsel and to help raise money to facilitate the development of new and exciting pro bono projects for in-house corporate counsel and their outside counsel around the state.