Submitted by Pro Bono Institute
Corporate Pro Bono (CPBO) announced today that it has selected Best Buy, a signatory to the CPBO Challenge® initiative, and Volunteer Lawyers Network (VLN) to receive the 2015 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award - Small Law category for their more than decade-long collaboration with VLN. 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.
Since 2004, nearly one-third of Best Buy’s attorneys have partnered with VLN, assisting in the organization’s Housing Court Project and Conciliation Court Clinic. The Housing Court Project is a walk-in clinic that provides legal advice to low-income tenants by preparing them to present their defenses and explain their situation in housing court. The Conciliation Court Clinic provides legal advice to low-income persons on conciliation court matters.
“We are impressed and encouraged to see this longstanding partnership providing a vital service to communities in need of this kind of legal assistance,” Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft Corporation and co-chair of the CPBO Advisory Board said.
Through this partnership, the twelve Best Buy attorneys participating in this pro bono project dedicate hundreds of hours annually to assisting VLN on these two efforts. This consistent, long-term dedication and substantial time commitment by Best Buy lawyers has helped VLN generate extraordinary results and has allowed the organization to rely on Best Buy lawyers’ growing expertise in these areas.
With the aid of Best Buy attorneys, VLN’s Housing Court Project assists more than one hundred households avoid homelessness each year. However, Best Buy’s long-term partnership with VLN not only means the organization can provide free legal advice to more people, it also helps VLN provide higher quality legal advice to those who need it most. Because Best Buy attorneys have developed significant expertise through the years of working on the Housing Court Project and Conciliation Court Clinic, VLN routinely refers the most difficult cases, as well as those with language or disability barriers, to the clinics where Best Buy lawyers will be present.
“The partnership between Best Buy and VLN represents an exemplary corporate pro bono relationship,” said Veta T. Richardson, president and CEO of ACC. “Their long-term affiliation offers Best Buy’s lawyers many fulfilling opportunities to provide needed legal services, gives pro bono clients access to the most experienced lawyers, and can help yield the best case results.”
Best Buy and VLN’s decade-long commitment to work together demonstrates the critical impact generated by sustained partnerships. Together, these projects are aiding hundreds who cannot afford legal assistance each year with high-caliber level of assistance that is the result of the continued relationship and tradition of service between Best Buy and VLN.
“We are very honored to receive this award. I am proud of the long-standing relationship our department has had with the Volunteer Lawyers Network and grateful for the group of lawyers from our team who have been pioneers in demonstrating how corporate legal departments can be leaders in pro bono service,” Best Buy Co. Inc. General Counsel Keith Nelsen said. “The dedication of our team over a period of many years has been quite inspiring and we look forward to continuing to make a difference for those in need of our services.”
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 – Large 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. Best Buy and VLN are recognized for their efforts with the CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award – Small Law.
About Best Buy
Best Buy is a leading provider of technology products, services and solutions. The company offers expert service at an unbeatable price more than 1.5 billion times a year to the consumers, small business owners and educators who visit its stores, engage with Geek Squad Agents or use BestBuy.com or the Best Buy app. The company has operations in the U.S. where more than 70 percent of the population lives within 15 minutes of a Best Buy store, as well as in Canada and Mexico, where Best Buy has a physical and online presence.
About Volunteer Lawyers Network
Established in 1966, Volunteer Lawyers Network, Ltd. (VLN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit which provides civil legal services to low-income people through volunteer attorneys. VLN’s mission is to protect and promote the basic human needs of people in poverty through the power of legal volunteers.
VLN seeks to provide as many low-income persons as possible with a positive outcome to their legal matter. Positive outcomes include: preventing homelessness; preventing illegal garnishment; preventing domestic violence; obtaining wages for hours worked; and obtaining custody orders.
For more information, visit www.vlnmn.org.
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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