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Posted on June 20, 2012
ACC May Lunch-PBP Check (L-R:Rachel Spears (PBPA),
Scott Burton (Sutherland), Michael Fong (Recommind),
Brett Lockwood (Smith Gambrell & Russell) and
Geoff Frost (Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore)

The 2012 Association of Corporate Counsel-Georgia Chapter (ACC-GA) Value Challenge event raised $31,000 for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBPA). Sutherland, Bondurant, Mixson & Elmore, Smith, Gambrell & Russell and Recommind sponsored the Value Challenge, which was presented on March 29, 2012 with over 100 attorneys in attendance.

The funds raised at the Value Challenge event represent almost 10% of PBPA’s 2012 budget. ACC-GA has raised almost $250,000 for PBPA in the last six years through annual fundraising events.

The ACC-GA Value Challenge event combined CLE presentations and breakout sessions that encouraged in-house counsel to discuss best practices for connecting the value and the cost of legal services. The Value Challenge saw participation from a wide array of in-house attorneys from metro-Atlanta based corporations, including UPS and GE Energy.

Faith Knight Myers, Lead Privacy Counsel at McKesson, participated in the event and commented, “it very well done. Substantively, all of the presenters discussed topics that were relevant to me. It was well worth my time.”

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta thanks ACC-GA and its president Martha McMillin for their continued support, financial and otherwise, of our mission to maximize the impact of pro bono engagement of in-house attorneys.

Posted on June 20, 2012

The Coca-Cola Company – ABA Business Law Section’s 2012 National Public Service Award
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP – State Bar of Georgia ABC Pro Bono Business Law Award
Timothy B. Phillips –Atlanta Business Chronicle Corporate Counsel Award for Community Champion

Henry Walker and Debbie Segal of
Kilpatrick Townsend accept pro bono award

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would like to congratulate The Coca-Cola Company, Kilpatrick Townsend, and Timothy Phillips on their 2012 pro bono awards.

Each year, the ABA Business Law Section’s National Public Service Award recognizes an individual business lawyer, a law firm, and/or a corporate law department for demonstrating significant pro bono services. Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears nominated The Coca-Cola Company for the award based on its sustained commitment to proving pro bono legal services to the poor through a variety of programs, including Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta (PBP-Atl). The Coca-Cola Company played a pivotal role in founding PBP-Atl in 2005 and since that time, 55 Coca-Cola attorneys and paralegals have advised clients of PBP-ATL on almost 150 legal matters. In 2011 alone, Coca-Cola attorneys worked on 25 different pro bono projects for nonprofits. Coca-Cola’s attorneys and paralegals have provided free legal advice to nonprofits such as the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta, Fugees Family (an organization that teaches life skills to refugee children through soccer), and Voice Today (a nonprofit that works to protect and heal women from sexual abuse).

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would also like to recognize Kilpatrick Townsend on receiving the State Bar of Georgia A Business Commitment Pro Bono Business Law Award. Over 140 attorneys in Kilpatrick Townsend’s Atlanta office have volunteered on over 240 different pro bono projects through PBP-Atl. Kilpatrick Townsend attorneys have volunteered their time for nonprofits such as Caminar Latino (a domestic violence intervention program for Latino families), Foster Childrens’ Foundation and Embraced Atlanta (an organization that provides orthopedic and prosthetic devices to low-income individuals, Enchanted Closet (a non profit that provides prom dresses to teens).

Elizabeth Finn Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company accepts pro bono award

Finally, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta congratulates Timothy Phillips for winning the 2012 Atlanta Business Chronicle Corporate Counsel Award for Community Champion. This award recognizes a corporate counsel who has performed excellent corporate work and made significant contributions in pro bono work. As Senior Counsel and now Interim Chief Counsel with the American Cancer Society, Tim has taken on more pro bono matters through PBP-Atl than any other volunteer. He has advised over 30 nonprofits on legal issues related to their tax-exempt status including Georgia Justice Project, Habitat for Humanity DeKalb and Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. Notably, the other finalists for the Community Champion Award are also outstanding PBP-Atl volunteers and supporters: Elizabeth Finn Johnson of The Coca-Cola Company and Teri McClure of United Parcel Service.

“We see our volunteers give generously of their time and expertise every day. It’s wonderful when they get recognition from others for the important work that they do,” said Rachel Epps Spears.

Posted on June 20, 2012

Please take a minute to check out our new website! Kyle McEntee, our legal fellow, engineered a complete revamp, including:

• A current list of available volunteer opportunities is posted at http://www.pbpatl.org/for-attorneys/volunteer-opportunities. No need to wait for the monthly email to volunteer!
• Our extensive Resources section now includes a search function.
• Through the Special Alert on our homepage, we can post breaking news such as: PBP-Atl is taking applications for a new part-time paralegal position. [By the way, pass this along to any paralegals you know.]
• Photos are easier to update so please send us pictures. As you can see from the website, short and wide photos work best.
• Click on “Upcoming Events” to learn about our free workshops and webcasts for nonprofits.

We would not have our fantastic new website without Kyle’s assistance. Since graduating from Vanderbilt Law School a year ago, Kyle has been working for us as a legal fellow, receiving a small stipend from Vanderbilt. In addition to his work on the website, Kyle has provided direct assistance to clients and partnered with our volunteers on projects. When he is not busy at PBP-Atl, Kyle works as Executive Director of Law School Transparency, a nonprofit that works to improve consumer information concerning the value of legal education.

Rachel

Posted on June 20, 2012
Volunteers loading soap to be shipped.

Hotels in the United States discard an estimated 2.6 million bars of soap every day. Around the world, there are over 45 million people with limited or no access to clean water or soap, leaving them susceptible to life-threatening illnesses.

Three years ago Derreck Kayongo and his wife Sarah, former Kenyan refugees, recognized the potential in what Americans throw out every day to save the lives of refugees and vulnerable populations. From their dreams and dedication emerged The Global Soap Project. What started as a small venture in the Kayongo’s Atlanta basement, is now an organization partnered with more than 300 hotels. With the help of these hotels, The Global Soap Project generates over 100 tons of recycled soap for suffering communities in nine countries.

The organization collects soap in mass quantities from hotels and is then processed by volunteers at Global Soap Project’s warehouse in Georgia. At the warehouse, a machine is used to filter out dirt and particles from the soap, and finally, the soap is sent to a laboratory and screened for pathogens before being shipped around the world.

The Global Soap Project’s work has garnered much deserved international attention. Kayongo was recently recognized as a Top 10 Finalist for the 2011 CNN Hero Award. Along with the help of volunteer attorneys through Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, the organization has been able to focus their attention on helping those in great need.

“With their help, we’ve been able to improve the structure of our volunteer program and soap making operations. They’ve saved us considerable time and money – two resources that are critical to our success,” says Sam Stephens, executive director of The Global Soap Project.

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta has worked with The Global Soap Project on a wide variety of projects. For example, Ashley Herd of Meyer Moser Lang advised the organization on hiring an executive director, and Alex Fonoroff and Sabina Vayner of Kilpatrick Townsend are currently assisting Global Soap Project with international trademark protection. Stacey Turner of Georgia Power, Sloane Perras of Aaron’s and Luanna Petti have also donated their time and talents to help the Global Soap Project.

Posted on June 20, 2012

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta volunteers provided more than $2.3 million worth of legal services to Atlanta nonprofits last year. The time and talents of our attorney volunteers make a big difference to the nonprofits they serve. Below are some “shout outs” to our volunteers from their appreciative nonprofit clients:

To: Jared Brandman of The Coca-Cola Company and Dan Rollman of DLA Piper
From: Fund for Southern Communities
“We truly appreciate all the time that you gave to this project, including meetings with our Board of Directors to review each one of the documents and answer their questions. It was a pleasure working with you all.”

To: Ashley Herd of Meyer Moser Lang
From: Global Soap Project
“I just wanted to thank you again for all the incredible work you performed for the Global Soap Project. I hope you know that we could not have made so much progress within the last 60 days without your help.”

Shout out to Jason Howard of Paul Hastings
From: Child Development Association
“Thanks to Jason, we were able to craft a strategy that met our Board’s approval and provided significant help to our tenant who was struggling. The new lease arrangement has been working smoothly for three months and the tenant has been very appreciative. They have even been coming up with fundraising ideas to benefit the CDA!”

To: Lisa Reeves of Turner Broadcasting System
From: Youth V.I.B.E.
“Your support helped us to maintain compliance and provide the necessary documents to garner more funding. Thank you again and may you continue to serve as a catalyst to empower the youth in our community.”

To: Keisha Coleman of Ballard Spahr
From:
S.H.A.R.E. House
“Thank you for volunteering to help S.H.A.R.E. House with its employee handbook. It was great working with you in this process. You have been a great teacher and educator relating to what we need to do as an organization.”

Posted on April 9, 2012

2011 was a great year for Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta. We provided legal assistance valued at over 2.3 million to 174 nonprofits. To view the report in its entirety, please click here.

Posted on February 22, 2012

Happy Perkins, then-General Counsel of GE Energy, called a meeting back in 2004. He wanted to know if the Atlanta legal community was interested in bringing the Pro Bono Partnership model down south from New York. Attorneys would be paired with nonprofits in need of free legal assistance, opening up more pro bono opportunities to in-house and transactional lawyers. With an “if we build it, they will come” attitude, several corporations and law firms committed initial funding for the project.

Here we are almost eight years later and Happy’s vision has resulted in over 1500 Atlanta attorneys providing pro bono assistance to nonprofits. We honored Happy (yes, his real name) with our inaugural Founders Award at our annual Volunteer & Donor Appreciation Reception on January 24. AT&T and Sutherland, two of the original funders of the Partnership, received Corporation and Law Firm of the Year honors for the outstanding volunteer contributions of their attorneys. You can read more about all of the awardees and see photos from the reception in the article below.

Want to go to the reception next year? As always, the event is free (thanks to our sponsors) and we will invite everyone who volunteers or donates to us in 2012. Hint, hint …

Rachel
Rachel Epps Spears
Executive Director

Posted on February 22, 2012

To celebrate another successful year, Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta held its seventh annual appreciation reception for donors and volunteers. Over 100 attorneys gathered at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan on January 24, 2012 to recognize the incredible work accomplished by PBP-Atl volunteers this past year.

After PBP-Atl clients Jimmy Wilson of Loganville Community Ministry Village and Lauren O’Brien of Embraced Atlanta spoke about the impact of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta on their organizations, Executive Director Rachel Epps Spears thanked all of the volunteer attorneys who contributed free legal services valued at over $2 million to nonprofit organizations in 2011. Frabel glass peach sculptures were then presented to the following attorneys, law firms and corporations in recognition for outstanding volunteer achievement:

  • AT&T, Corporation of the Year
  • Sutherland, Law Firm of the Year
  • Volunteers of the Year:
    • John W. Mills, III of Barnes & Thornburg
    • Adrienne L. Smith of Sutherland
    • Darcy White of Paul Hastings
    • Thomas Federico of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Val Rusk of Turner Broadcasting System
    • Marion Tilson of AT&T

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta gave a special appreciation award to Datacert for their donation of the Passport matter management platform which has greatly increased the efficiency of the Partnership staff.

PBP-Atl also presented the inaugural Founders Award to Happy R. Perkins. Happy, who recently retired as General Counsel of GE Energy, played a pivotal role in organizing Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta and served on the organization’s Board for seven years. The Founders Award will be presented from time to time to recognize an individual who makes an outstanding contribution to Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta.

For the first time, PBPA-Atl offered sponsorships for the reception and generous contributions by the following businesses covered the expenses of the appreciation event:

  • Sustaining Sponsor
    • RR Donnelly
    • Pangea3
  • Supporting Sponsor
    • IVIZE
    • Counsel on Call

“Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta would not exist without our volunteers and donors,” said Spears. “This event gives us the opportunity to thank them and to highlight the extraordinary work of some of our outstanding volunteers.”

Posted on February 22, 2012

Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta proudly welcomes four new Board members:

  • Kathleen Bardell, General Counsel for Power Generation Services at GE Energy;
  • Jared Brandman, Securities Counsel for the Office of the Secretary at The Coca-Cola Company;
  • Brent Houk, Labor & Employment Counsel for United Parcel Service; and
  • Tricia Kinney, Senior Counsel of Litigation for Kimberly-Clark Corporation.
New PBPA Board Members (L-R: Jared Brandman,
Tricia Kinney, Brent Houk and Kathleen Bardell)

Kathleen Bardell joined GE in 2006 from Cozen O’Connor. Pro bono work has been one of Kathleen’s priorities since she attended law school. She leads the Street Law pro bono program at GE and has participated in Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Up Program. Kathleen and her husband have two children, ages 10 and 9. She enjoys spending time with her family, golfing, scuba diving and skiing.

Jared Brandman, joined The Coca-Cola Company in 2010 after spending five years at Paul Hastings. Jared, whose commitment to helping nonprofit organizations through the Partnership dates back to 2006, notes: “I am not only privileged to meet so many amazing men and women that provide such valuable services, goods and support to people in need, but also to help ensure that these charitable organizations are appropriately structured and benefit from best practice corporate governance policies and procedures.” Jared has two children and enjoys helping his wife in her new business, EnchantedKidz, which offers dress-up clothes for kids.

Brent Houk has over 20 years of labor & employment law experience. Prior to joining UPS in 2005, he worked as Assistant General Counsel for Overnite Transportation. His volunteer involvement with the Partnership has ranged from helping nonprofit organizations comply with the proper classification of independent contractors and employees to drafting and implementing employee handbooks. “Ethical considerations requiring us not to take on work we are not competent to perform make us wary,” Brent notes. “This is where Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta makes the difference, for many of us, between our wishing we had the tools to participate and our actual participation.” Brent dedicates much of his time outside of work to coaching youth baseball and basketball teams.

Tricia Kinney, who joined Kimberly-Clark in 2007, spent ten years in the Labor and Employment group at Powell Goldstein (now Bryan Cave). At Kimberly-Clark, she focuses on complex business, products liability, personal injury and employment litigation. Tricia has served as a board member of the Sports Network Corporate Board for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), and on the Advisory Committee for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society. “Through both of these organizations, I have seen the amazing and direct impact that pro bono assistance and community involvement have on people’s lives, at particularly vulnerable times, when often a little bit of assistance makes a truly critical difference.” Tricia is a mother of three and in her free time she enjoys playing with her children and running.

Posted on February 22, 2012

In the Spring of 2000, Bill Maness, Recreation Director at The Gym at Peachtree, noticed a group of Latino children getting off the school bus across the street from Peachtree Presbyterian Church. He learned that these children had parents who spoke little to no English and could not help them with their homework. He invited the students to come to the church for after school tutoring and invited their parents to come for English as a Second Language classes. A year later, LaAmistad was born.

LaAmistad

Today, LaAmistad serves 75 students and 40 families on a daily basis, helping the students achieve their highest academic potential through its after school program and helping parents better communicate with their children through its parent educational initiative. LaAmistad is more than a community program; it is a source of comprehensive support for families that for various circumstances do not have the means to attain their highest degree of success.

Cat McAfee, Director of LaAmistad, tells us about the substantial impact of the organization on the participating families: “LaAmistad families love the program because they receive so much support. We act as advocates in the school when needed and assist the parents in communication with the teachers.”

LaAmistad’s programs have led to measurable results. Participants have received a total of 32 school-sponsored awards in various academic subjects and 15 middle school students in the program participated in the Latino Youth Leadership Conference where they learned about future educational and leadership opportunities. Twenty-five Latino parents have learned to read, write and speak English in order to better equipped to attend to their family’s needs.

LaAmistad participated in one of Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s Nonprofit Legal Check Ups in December and since then the organization has been matched with volunteer attorneys Leticia Alfonso of AT&T and Rupert Barkoff of Kilpatrick Townsend. Leticia is reviewing LaAmistad’s client application and liability waiver forms and Rupert is drafting a license agreement for other organizations to implement LaAmistad’s model in communities nationwide.