Official White House Photo by David Lienemann
Palo Alto – July 8, 2014 – Cooley LLP announced today that United States Vice President Joe Biden recently met with the Board of Directors of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel (APBCo) and senior management leaders from board members' law firms. In attendance from Cooley were Pro Bono partner Maureen Alger and Administrative and Legal Practice Partner Mark Pitchford. The meeting, which was held on June 5, 2014, was the second occasion on which the Vice President met with APBCo to focus on access to justice issues, and the significant role that law firms, and pro bono counsel at law firms, play in the delivery of legal services to the poor.
The meeting included a review of the IMPACT projects (Involving More Pro bono Attorneys in our Communities Together) that APBCo has launched in eight major cities around the country -- all of which arose from the previous meeting with the Vice President, held in September 2012. The Vice President was briefed about the IMPACT pro bono initiatives, each addressing unique and specifically identified needs in the home communities of the APBCo firms, and each having been launched in close cooperation with partnering legal aid agencies.
In early 2013, Cooley and OneJustice, in collaboration with other Bay Area law firms, corporations, and legal services providers, founded the Bay Area Rural Justice Collaborative, which was the first APBCo IMPACT project to launch. Rural access to justice is one of the most pressing issues facing California's legal services delivery system. The mission of the Collaborative is to expand access to legal services in rural and isolated communities throughout Northern California by utilizing trained pro bono attorney volunteers from participating law firms. These volunteers staff clinics on various legal issues in underserved communities, with supervision by experienced legal services staff attorneys. The Collaborative is staffed by an attorney from OneJustice. Cooley provided initial funding and administrative support for the project.
Since the launch of the Collaborative just over a year ago, more than 70 attorneys have volunteered at 37 clinics in six isolated communities within Contra Costa, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Marin and El Dorado counties. The clinics have served more than 250 low-income individuals. Vice President Biden was pleased to learn about the legal assistance provided to so many clients in need through the Collaborative and other APBCo IMPACT projects around the country. He reiterated his enthusiasm for APBCo's mission and recognized the critical role of law firm pro bono programs in bringing much needed services to the poor.
The following law firms and corporations have participated in the Collaborative: Baker & McKenzie LLP; Bingham McCutchen LLP; Cooley LLP; Covington & Burling LLP; DLA Piper; Fenwick & West LLP; Hewlett-Packard Company; Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP; Latham & Watkins LLP; LinkedIn; Morgan Lewis & Bockius; Morrison & Foerster LLP; Nixon Peabody LLP; O'Melveny & Myers LLP; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Perkins Coie; and Prudential Financial, Inc.
The following legal services organizations have also contributed to the Collaborative: AIDS Legal Referral Panel; Asian Law Alliance; Bay Area Legal Aid; Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County; Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto; International Institute of the Bay Area; Law Foundation of Silicon Valley; Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area; Legal Aid of Marin; Legal Aid of Napa Valley; and Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.
Established in 2006 to support the professional development of full-time pro bono counsel at commercial law firms, APBCo has over 140 members from more than 95 U.S. law firms. The organization works to develop best practices in the field of pro bono practice management and to promote social justice and access to justice in the legal profession. For more information, please visit www.apbco.org.
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