Pro Bono Partnership Raises $1.5 Million To Support Nonprofit Organizations

Friday, October 19, 2012 - 09:02

From left to right: Mark Nordstrom, senior counsel, Labor and Employment Law, GE (chairman, Pro Bono Partnership); Jeffrey R. Immelt, chairman & CEO, GE (dinner chair); Brackett B. Denniston III, senior vice president & general counsel, GE (honoree); Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of “Today” and NBC new chief legal correspondent (host); Brad S. Karp, chair, Paul, Weiss, Rikfind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (honoree); Stephen M. Cutler, executive vice president & general counsel, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (dinner chair); Richard S. Hobish, executive director, Pro Bono Partnership.

On October 17 in Manhattan, the Pro Bono Partnership announced to a sold-out crowd of 800 corporate and legal leaders attending its 15th anniversary gala that it had raised $1.5 million to support free business legal assistance to hundreds of nonprofit organizations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We are proud to help our clients achieve their goals,” said Partnership Executive Director Rick Hobish. “These agencies are organizations that feed the hungry, house the homeless, protect the environment and provide other crucial social services.  They rarely can afford attorneys, but regularly need legal advice, just like other corporations.”  The Partnership mobilizes more than 900 attorneys each year to help nonprofits improve governance and management practices and advise them on business decisions so they can effectively serve their own clients, tens of thousands of individuals across the tri-state area.

Savannah Guthrie, NBC chief legal correspondent and co-anchor of “Today,” hosted the gala, fresh from covering the second presidential debate the previous evening.  Gala co-chairs Jeffrey Immelt, chairman & CEO of GE, and Stephen Cutler, executive vice president & general counsel of JPMorgan Chase, presented Pro Bono Partnership Champion awards to Brackett Denniston III, senior vice president and general counsel of GE and Brad Karp, chair of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, in recognition of their career achievements, service to the community and commitment to pro bono legal service. Mr. Karp said, “Especially when times are tough, as they are now, the ability to give back – to make a difference in the lives of organizations and individuals that desperately need our help – is critically important.”  Denniston said that GE is proud it has helped build the Partnership, a “best model” for pro bono services.  “It serves the passion of lawyers to devote their tremendous talents to something that serves a broader purpose,” he said.  “I challenge other companies and law firms to get involved.”

Pro Bono Partnership, itself a nonprofit, provides nearly all of its legal assistance without charge and will use the proceeds of the Gala to support its programs.