Verizon and DLA Piper have been honored with the 2011 Pro Bono Partner Award from Corporate Pro Bono, a joint venture of the Pro Bono Institute and the Association of Corporate Counsel.
The award, presented Thursday evening (Nov. 3) at the institute’s annual dinner in New York City, recognizes Verizon’s collaboration with global law firm DLA Piper in developing an integrated program to work together on pro bono projects in numerous areas of the law.
“The innovative partnership that Verizon and DLA Piper developed represents a new model of collaboration between corporate legal departments and law firms,” said Esther Lardent, president and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute. “By working together, Verizon and DLA Piper have succeeded in developing an extremely strong and broad pro bono program at Verizon that has already helped a large number of clients in need. Their work together is truly admirable and very worthy of this honor.”
Since November 2009, Verizon and DLA Piper have teamed on significant projects undertaken as part of Verizon’s pro bono program, including co-counseling on dozens of pro bono representations. The pro bono work has focused on support for returning veterans; issues involving domestic violence and education; and assisting nonprofit organizations. To help their attorneys volunteer and get involved in pro bono work, Verizon and DLA Piper have also hosted training sessions, many of which have been broadcast to their offices across the country.
“Since we started our pro bono program, the majority of Verizon’s attorneys have participated and used their skills to provide services to those in need,” said Randal Milch, executive vice president and general counsel for Verizon. “Our partnership with DLA Piper is a cornerstone of our program. By working together with DLA Piper, we have been able to tackle many projects neither of us could have done alone. We are honored to receive this award.”
Elizabeth Dewey, U.S. pro bono partner for DLA Piper, said,“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award alongside our colleagues at Verizon. We are extremely proud of the accomplishments from our pro bono partnership with Verizon thus far and look forward to continuing to collaborate with our clients and nonprofit organizations to help those less fortunate throughout the world.”
Examples of projects jointly undertaken by Verizon and DLA Piper include:
• Working with the National Veterans Legal Services Program to assist veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Under the program, 50 members of Verizon’s legal department are helping veterans apply for Combat Related Special Compensation, a special benefit for veterans who were injured during hazardous duty. Verizon and DLA Piper organized the program, set up training sessions, and now have large groups of volunteers who collaborate and share information to ensure the best outcome for clients.
• Partnering with CPBO to host Clinics-in-a-Box in New Jersey and Virginia. Through these clinics, which have been staffed by attorneys from Verizon and DLA Piper, dozens of nonprofits received legal checkups and ongoing assistance to resolve significant legal issues.
• Working with My Sister’s Place to help immigrant victims of domestic violence apply for and obtain “U” Visas so they can remain in the United States without having to depend on their partner. Verizon and DLA Piper have trained more than 20 attorneys to handle “U” Visa cases.
• Jointly sponsoring Equal Justice Works Fellow Leeja Patel. The program allows Patel to work for Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach in San Francisco and focuses on combating domestic violence in the South Asian community.
• Working with the assistance of CPBO to change multijurisdictional practice rules that placed burdensome restrictions on corporate attorneys looking to do pro bono work in Virginia. As a result, the restrictions were removed in April. Verizon and DLA Piper marked the change by staffing a Wills-on-Wheels Clinic with the Fairfax County Bar Association in May. Under the program, attorneys prepared end-of-life documents for needy seniors.
Award recipients are selected by a subcommittee of the CPBO Advisory Board, with assistance from the CPBO staff. At the annual dinner, the Pro Bono Institute also celebrated its 15th anniversary.
About the Corporate Pro Bono Organization
CPBO (cpbo.org) is a global pro bono partnership project of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Pro Bono Institute. Through on-line services (cpbo.org), technical assistance to the in-house community, and educational outreach, CPBO seeks to encourage and support the participation of in-house counsel in pro bono legal services.
About DLA Piper
DLA Piper (dlapiper.com) has 4,200 lawyers in 30 countries and 76 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered attorney advertising.
Verizon Communications, Inc. (verizon.com), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, with more than 107 million total connections nationwide. Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $106.6 billion in 2010 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 195,000.
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