The Association of Pro Bono Counsel (“APBCo”) is a membership organization of full-time pro bono counsel and coordinators at major commercial law firms.  APBCo has over 125 members from more than 85 law firms nationwide, including many AmLaw 200 firms.  Founded in 2006, APBCo is dedicated to improving access to justice by advancing the model of the full-time law firm pro bono counsel, enhancing the professional development of pro bono counsel, and serving as a unified voice for the national law firm pro bono community.

Last September, the board of directors of APBCo, along with senior management from the board members’ firms, met with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, DC.  The meeting focused on issues of access to justice and the role of pro bono attorneys in the delivery of legal services to the poor, including innovative collaborations between law firms, legal services organizations, bar associations and the judiciary.  The Vice President commended the participants for their commitment to improve and expand the delivery of legal services to the underserved.

With this backdrop, APBCo has initiated a long-term project to seed and launch a series of new collaborations across the country designed to expand national law firm efforts to increase access to justice.  The APBCo IMPACT (Involving More Pro bono Attorneys in our Communities Together) Project is already taking root in eight urban centers, from Seattle to New York, and beyond.  The objective is to design innovative and sustainable new solutions that will increase access to free legal services.  With the Vice President’s enthusiasm for our mission, APBCO has convened community leaders, and is coordinating multiple participants, to put together innovative approaches to addressing issues as ingrained as housing, re-entry, homelessness and financial security, and offer solutions to restore opportunity to the disenfranchised, both to their benefit and the benefit of their communities.  APBCo IMPACT leaders will update the Vice President annually about the progress of these various programs being launched around the nation.