Jim Shelson - Committee Chair Corner

January 15, 2020 10:17 AM
Jim Shelson

Committee Chair Corner – Social Justice Pro Bono Committee
Jim Shelson
Phelps Dunbar LLP

The Social Justice Pro Bono Committee is a Standing Committee of the IADC.  It is one of the youngest and smallest committees in the IADC. The Committee was formed in July 2015 and is seeking to grow its membership. Its mission “is to ensure that the IADC and its members continue to serve as guardians, caretakers, and advocates of and for social justice and to serve as role models for others in our profession.” Under the leadership of past Chairs Bob Redmond and Matt Keenan, the Committee has fulfilled that mission and its accomplishments since July 2015 are considerable.

The Committee has been active in publishing Newsletters on topics such as asylum and sex trafficking. The Committee has sponsored several internal CLEs, including programs on how to represent pro bono clients seeking asylum in immigration courts. The Committee has also sponsored major CLE programs. At the 2019 Midyear Meeting, the Committee was the lead sponsor of the major CLE program Pro Bono Partnerships with Clients: Three Case Studies. This program featured in-house counsel from Microsoft, Bank of America, and FedEx. The program discussed the business development case for pro bono and how to partner with clients on pro bono cases. At the 2019 Annual Meeting, the Committee was the lead sponsor of the major CLE program, Unmet Needs – Go Pro Bono! This program featured inspirational talks regarding voting rights and other timely pro bono issues.

In September 2019, the Committee published a Newsletter article by Kathryn Kenyon entitled The Pros of a Pro Bono Culture – and How to Start One at Your Firm. The article outlined tips on how to cultivate a pro bono culture in your firm and through collaborations with clients and prospective clients.

I am honored to continue the excellent work Bob Redmond and Matt Keenan have done with the Committee by teaming with the following talented and dedicated Committee Vice Chairs:

Programs and Projects – Clarence Webster
Membership – Michael Airdo
Publications – Kathryn Kenyon
Communications – Michael Magner
International – Daniela Karollus-Bruner

We are excited that the Committee is sponsoring an internal CLE program at the July 2020 Annual Meeting entitled Effecting Social Change Though Administrative and Legislative Advocacy. In the meantime, if you are not already a member of the Social Justice Pro Bono Committee, we would be delighted to have you join us!

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