"In 2000, the Pro Bono Institute formed the Corporate Pro Bono Organization in collaboration with the Association of Corporate Counsel to advocate for and promote corporate pro bono efforts. At that time, ‘corporate pro bono was an oxymoron,’ said Esther Lardent, president of PBI. ‘People looked at you like it was ludicrous to suggest corporate pro bono. It was not widely known and there was no buzz about it,’ she said. The political, social and business climate was right for the venture.
"’In the waning days of the Clinton administration, the president had an initiative called Lawyers for One America,’ she said. The goal of that directive was both to increase diversity in the legal profession and expand pro bono representation of ‘persons and communities of color,’ Lardent said. It also happens that both PBI and ACC were receiving inquiries from corporate legal departments nationwide seeking information about initiating pro bono programs. But, she said, ‘We didn’t have the information or the resources to really offer thoughtful, reliable help.’"