Winston & Strawn recently entered into a pro bono partnership with the legal department of client Bank of America, N.A., to assist low-income seniors with disabilities. Attorneys from Winston & Strawn and Bank of America helped seniors complete living wills and powers of attorneys.
The Center for Disability and Elder Law facilitated the training for the attorneys who participated. And following the training, they traveled to a senior center on Chicago’s South Side to meet with clients and prepare documents on site.
Greg McConnell, pro bono counsel at Winston & Strawn, said the firm has a great relationship with the legal staff at Bank of America and they had discussed how to partner together on a pro bono opportunity.
He said Bank of America is a leader in getting its corporate legal department more involved in pro bono matters. One of the challenges is that legal departments often do not have the infrastructure to find, vet, and secure pro bono opportunities.
“When they look to people like us, they are looking for us to help them identify the best opportunities to help meet both their ethical obligations, and internal requirements,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be able to work with them, to share some time with them, while helping out the community.”
During the pro bono activity, a lawyer from the firm and a lawyer from the bank team up to help about 10 clients with such activities as preparing a living will and designating a power of attorney, McConnell said.
“You have a vulnerable population, a group of low-income seniors who have a real need for these types of directives to allow them to take care of their lives…” he said. “We are helping those who need it the most.”