Honorees Established U.S. LGBT Tax Resource
Submitted by Pro Bono Institute
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) announced today that it has selected BNY Mellon, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar Association (LGBT Bar) to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award in the Large Law category. The awardees were selected for their collaborative development of the Online LGBT Tax Resource, an innovative tool that leverages technology to provide pro bono legal assistance to same-sex married couples in the United States. CPBO, the global partnership project of Pro Bono Institute (PBI) and the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), will present the award at the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner on November 5 in New York.
“This impactful work highlights the power of pro bono partnerships,” said Laura Stein, executive vice president and general counsel of The Clorox Company and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board. “The work of these attorneys will positively support the LGBT community for years to come.”
Launched in April 2014 with a full update in September 2014 and again in March 2015, the Online LGBT Tax Resource has provided a comprehensive, state-by-state list of reporting regulations and guidance for LGBT couples, to be used as a starting point for preparing tax returns. Designed to help navigate disconnects that existed between Federal and State filing requirements for same-sex couples in many jurisdictions, the Online LGBT Tax Resource has provided a unique tool to help LGBT families. With clear summaries and explanations of the tax law in each jurisdiction, and direct links to relevant law, forms, and instructions, it has given tax payers and preparers the most complete state-by-state information available for LGBT families. Prior to the work of these pro bono teams, same-sex couples and their tax advisors had to search the internet for the laws in a specific state. These searches often yielded limited information, which was spread across many sources and sites and did not resolve all the relevant tax-related questions.
The Online LGBT Tax Resource is an excellent example of high-impact pro bono that targets a specific, substantial need and leverages both legal insight and technology to reach more people who require assistance, allowing for highly efficient and effective pro bono service. Collaborative projects like this one present a feasible workload for in-house legal departments and law firms to undertake but can benefit thousands of people with their reach.
“The collaborative efforts of BNY Mellon, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar built an innovative platform that will help thousands of Americans each year,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “The Online LGBT Tax Resource brings clarity to a previously complicated process, making the law more accessible to married same-sex couples – an especially important achievement following this year’s historic Supreme Court decision.”
During the partnership’s first year, 34 attorneys, including 14 from BNY Mellon, invested more than 500 hours in the project to research, draft, launch, promote, and update the first-of-its-kind online resource tool. Lawyers from BNY Mellon and White & Case thoroughly researched state codes, administrative guidance, and case law to provide state-specific information to help same-sex married couples understand their filing status in their jurisdiction.
With the rapidly evolving laws surrounding same-sex couples, BNY Mellon and White & Case attorneys have updated the resource twice a year since the site was launched. The pro bono firms who worked on the project intend to update the resource again to reflect guidance issued by various states in the wake of the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there were more than 130,000 same-sex married couples in the US as of 2010, a number which is likely to have increased substantially since that time.
“BNY Mellon’s pro bono imperative has been to provide both the leadership and the tools to enable our in-house lawyers to positively impact our communities and our society,” said Kevin McCarthy, Chief Legal Counsel, BNY Mellon. “By collaborating with our industry colleagues and the National LGBT Bar, we established a critical tax-law resource for the further inclusion of LGBT people.”
For more information about this and other awardees, please visit the 2015 PBI Annual Dinner webpage.
Additionally, see our press release web page for information about the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law category winner.
About the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award
The CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award recognizes innovative team approaches to pro bono work involving in-house legal departments. Winners, selected by the CPBO Advisory Board, are chosen based on the following criteria: demonstrated impact; substantial involvement by in-house lawyers; steps towards sustaining the partnership; innovative approaches used; and projects that address a critical legal need and/or a particularly vulnerable group.
The award is given to two different categories of nominees based on the size of their legal department. In-house legal departments of 50 or more lawyers are evaluated in the Large Law category. In-house legal departments of 49 or fewer lawyers are evaluated in the Small Law category. BNY Mellon, White & Case, and the National LGBT Bar are recognized for their efforts with the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Large Law.
About BNY Mellon
BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. As of June 30, 2015, BNY Mellon had $28.6 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.7 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com. Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at www.bnymellon.com/newsroom for the latest company news.
About White & Case
White & Case LLP is a leading global law firm with lawyers in 39 offices across 26 countries. Among the first US-based law firms to establish a truly global presence, we provide counsel and representation in virtually every area of law that affects cross-border business. Our clients value both the breadth of our global network and the depth of our US, English and local law capabilities in each of our regions and rely on us for their complex cross-border transactions, as well as their representation in arbitration and litigation proceedings.
In both established and emerging markets, our lawyers are integral, long-standing members of the community, giving our clients insights into the local business environment alongside our experience in multiple jurisdictions. We work with some of the world's most respected and well-established banks and businesses, as well as start-up visionaries, governments and state-owned entities.
About the National LGBT Bar Association
The National LGBT Bar Association is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students, activists and affiliated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal organizations. The LGBT Bar promotes justice in and through the legal profession for the LGBT community in all its diversity.
About Corporate Pro Bono
Corporate Pro Bono, the global partnership project of PBI and ACC, is designed to substantially increase the amount of pro bono work performed by in-house counsel and to enhance the pro bono culture of in-house legal departments through consultative services to the in-house community, targeted research and publications, online information and services, and outreach and educational programming. CPBO also works closely with ACC chapters to focus their resources and agendas on pro bono service. For more information, visit www.cpbo.org.
About Pro Bono Institute
Founded in 1996, Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources, and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, legal departments, the courts, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. For more information, visit www.probonoinst.org.
About the Association of Corporate Counsel
ACC is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations, and other private-sector organizations through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy initiatives. With 40,000 members in 90 countries, employed by over 10,000 organizations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter http://twitter.com/ACCinhouse.
Founded in 1996, the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. With an unparalleled depth of knowledge, resources and expertise, PBI is the respected resource for all things pro bono. Through our work with law firms, in-house corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations, PBI is the global thought leader in exploring, identifying, evaluating, catalyzing, and taking to scale new approaches to and resources for the provision of legal services to the poor, disadvantaged, and other individuals or groups unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. Our rigorous empirical research and analysis; white papers and reports; and advice and support allow us to reach a wide variety of audiences and transform the concept and practice of pro bono. By providing expert consultations and technical assistance, educational programming, and local, national and global pro bono convenings, our goal is to constantly improve and enrich pro bono service. We count among our members, supporters, and partners the most respected law firms and in-house corporate legal departments in the world, as well as the most effective and cutting-edge public interest organizations.
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