CLO Insights: CA’s Ken Handal on Corporate Pro Bono
Six Key Principles for Creating an Effective and Sustainable Pro Bono Program: Insights from Ken Handal, Executive Vice President, CA, Inc.
With all of the pressures and pulls on in-house lawyers in their daily work, why allow time and devote resources for pro bono legal services for others? Ken Handal, Executive Vice President of CA, Inc. (formerly Computer Associates) explains, “because it energizes people and allows us to give back to the community; it makes work more satisfying, helps them do their jobs better and learn new skills, and fosters teamwork.”
Indeed, within his first few months on the job as General Counsel for CA, Handal created and launched in December of 2004 a pro bono legal services program within the company’s Worldwide Law Department. The program is open to all staff within the worldwide legal group, and although CA’s pro bono program is less than two years old, it’s already considered a best practice by Corporate Pro Bono, a joint program between the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Pro Bono Institute. As part of CA’s program, members of the law department have the opportunity to work on a wide range of pro bono legal services, including uncontested divorces, supplemental needs trusts, juvenile drug court hearings, asylum and guardianship cases, and creating not-for-profit organizations.
Handal’s vision and leadership inspired the program and have been critical to its success, and together with Bonnie Yeomans, Vice President & Assistant General Counsel for CA and co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee, they share below their perspectives on the key principles for creating and sustaining an effective program.
Principle 1: Support from the Top
“It is critical that senior management—both within and outside the law department—support the program,” emphasizes Handal. At CA, both Handal and the company’s CEO and President, John Swainson, signed a Pledge communicating their strong commitment to the Worldwide Law Department’s pro bono program, and recognizing performance of pro bono work as an element of good corporate citizenship. The Pledge is prominently exhibited in the law department’s headquarter offices. In addition, Handal devotes time to attend internal meetings relating to the program and speaks about the importance of and his support for the program.
Principle 2: Partner-Up
Partnering with outside organizations such as law firms and service organizations is a ‘win-win’ for everyone: organizations love it because they get legal assistance; law firms like it because they get the opportunity to work closely with in-house lawyers; and in-house lawyers appreciate it because they’re able to achieve a greater comfort level with the substantive practice areas in which they’re providing services and have back-up as part of a team. When it comes to undertaking pro bono, the fear of competing demands with daily legal work for the organization and time management can hamper interest in getting involved in the first place. Yeomans explains that partnering with outside organizations and law firms can help address this concern. “In-house lawyers and staff can sometimes be intimidated by the prospect of reaching beyond their traditional expertise areas and delving into areas of law with which they’re less familiar. The time commitment can also be a challenge. Partnering-up with law firms and organizations helps to build expertise and provide the comfort of having back-up and support that enables legal staff to provide pro bono services while also performing their jobs for the company,” says Yeomans.
As part of its pro bono program, the CA law department has partnered with organizations such as the Suffolk Legal Aid Society and Nassau/Suffolk Law Services Committee, Inc. to provide legal support on a broad spectrum of issues, including family law, drug abuse, and disability benefits. In addition, CA’s law department has partnered with the law firms of Farrell Fritz and Nixon Peabody on various matters. Members of these organizations and firms have come to CA’s offices and provided training to legal staff on providing pro bono services, and law firm lawyers work with CA in-house legal staff as a team to help handle court appearances and serve as back-ups for each other to help balance schedules and workload.
• Read the rest of this article.
• See CA’s frequently asked questions about its pro bono program
• Don’t miss the Onsite Pro Bono Clinic at ACC’s Annual Meeting (October 23, 7:30-10:30am). At the clinic, we provide experts to guide you, training materials, and a San Diego area non-profit group that needs your help. You provide your legal and business skills and a desire to help a non-profit organization grow strong and succeed. Registration deadline is October 1. For more information, contact Eve Runyon at 202.662.9699 or at email@example.com.
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Resources Just for CLOs
When you need to find the latest resources just for CLOs, head to the Chief Legal Officer page on ACC's website. On the CLO page you will find resources on law department best practices, working with the C-suite and the board, and developing leadership skills. You can search back issues of the Executive Bulletin and get the latest on projects like ACC's CLO ThinkTanks.
The ThinkTanks bring together a select group of top CLOs in an intimate “deep dive” into the most pressing topics facing today’s law department leaders. We’ve captured their fresh thinking in a series of executive summaries of these ThinkTank meetings, allowing you to share their ideas on best practices, challenges, and opportunities for response. Here are the latest executive reports:
• Compensation and Career Advancement
• Corporate Governance and Compliance
• Financial Compliance and Relationships with Auditors
• Hot Topics for Private Companies: Liability and Beyond
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For You and Your Legal Team: ACC’s Annual Meeting
You face many unique challenges as the chief legal advisor for your company. ACC has resources you need to help you and your legal team address these hot-button issues. And a great way to prepare for these challenges is to attend our 2006 Annual Meeting (October 23-25, San Diego, CA).You do not want to miss the CLO Executive Leadership Series, which will focus on the high-level demands general counsel face on a daily basis. Topics to be addressed include:
• Protecting Your Law Department for a Rainy Day
• Pragmatic Practices—Protecting Privilege
• Navigating Global Compliance: Establishing Rules for Taking the High Road in the Borderless Corporation
Also as the chief legal officer for your company, you likely have attorneys reporting to you who are new to the in-house profession. The Annual Meeting provides corporate practitioners with over 120 CLE-approved sessions from which to choose across 12 tracks of programming developed by in-house counsel for in-house counsel and that cover a wide range of legal and management topics including intellectual property, litigation, labor & employment, corporate & securities, international, and a new finance track. You can get a year’s worth of CLE in one shot.
• View full program descriptions and faculty.
• Register today.
• Questions? Contact a member of the education team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.293.4103, x451.
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Streamline Your Hiring Efforts with In-house Jobline
ACC knows that you have a full plate of activities and are looking for ways to get the information you need faster. So rather than scouring the thousands of resumes of top candidates on In-house Jobline, you can now create a “resume search agent” with your specific criteria and having resumes that match your needs emailed directly to you each day. Once you have a job posted (or if you already do) just go to the “My Account” page and select “Create/Manage Resume Search Agent.” Get started by logging into In-house Jobline today.
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Save the Date for ACC’s 2007 Corporate Counsel University
Do you need members of your legal team trained on the inner workings of a corporate legal department, but aren't sure where to send them? Now in its 5th year, ACC's Corporate Counsel University (April 29–May 1, Hyatt Regency St. Louis) has become the gold standard for best practices for attorneys who are new to in-house, or who would like to sharpen their management and in-house practice skills. Attendees will learn first-hand from their in-house colleagues, with a focus on the basics they need to succeed. Like all ACC programs, Corporate Counsel University will emphasize practical tips and hands-on advice, with plenty of opportunities to interact with faculty and other attendees. New this year, CCU will include a separate track of programs for designed just for paralegals. More details will be released soon. If you have questions in the meantime, contact the education team at email@example.com or 202.293.4103, x. 451.
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