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How Lawyers Did 400 Pro Bono Hours in One Day

Washington DC Legal DC

The Association of Pro Bono Counsel, answering a challenge posed by VP Joe Biden back in 2012, recently brought together 100 lawyers for its second annual Small Business Legal Academy. At the event--hosted by Skadden, Fried Frank, Kaye Scholer, Latham, and Cadwalader--lawyers spent the day at Brooklyn Law School fielding legal queries from around 130 small business owners and nonprofits. Fifty students from Brooklyn and Columbia law schools helped out, too. Above, Cadwalader pro bono manager Annie Mohan, Kaye Scholer pro bono counsel Alison King and Skadden pro bono counsel Brenna DeVaney, who helped organize the event. (Last year, it was held at the Apollo Theater.)


The clinic has been so successful that APBCo members in other parts of the country, including Detroit and Houston, are working to replicate it. Brenna tells us they handled general corporate advice and specialized questions ranging from tax to IP to real estate. If participants had more questions, they were put in touch with legal services organizations that could take them as long-term clients or reach out to a firm about representing them pro bono. 


Attendee Derrick DeFlorimonte founded the Queens South Volunteer Ambulance Corps in August to bring faster emergency services to his community, which has many military veterans with cardiac and respiratory problems. The 25-year-old has been researching the idea since he was 17. He's soon receiving a donated ambulance and is looking to secure funding for insurance, technology and training. Derrick tells us he came to APBCo's clinic to ask about issues such as grants, nonprofit tax laws and legal liability. He's also training as an EMT and attending Hunter College for a master's in public health, and plans to later attend medical school.