WASHINGTON – Exelon announced today that its legal department has been honored by Pro Bono Institute (PBI) with the 2017 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award in recognition of its efforts and leadership to provide legal assistance to those who could otherwise not afford it. Thomas O’Neill, senior vice president and general counsel of Exelon, will accept the award on behalf of the company during the PBI 2017 Annual Conference on March 9.
The Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award is presented annually to an organization that has provided exemplary pro bono service and leadership and reflects Exelon’s commitment to giving back in the communities where its people work and live.
Fortune recently named Exelon to its 2017 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies, which, in part, recognized the company for social responsibility efforts such as those praised by PBI. In 2016, Exelon employees served more than 170,000 hours of community service, and Exelon companies and the Exelon Foundation donated more than $46 million to nonprofits – the largest amount ever.
Members of the Exelon legal department are engaged in matters ranging from drafting estate planning documents for first responders to retirement preparation for low-income seniors. The company provides mentoring opportunities for in-house pro bono leaders and considers pro bono work when evaluating opportunities to engage outside counsel.
“At Exelon, we recognize the importance of supporting the communities we serve, beyond delivering clean, affordable and reliable energy. Many families don’t have access to legal services, and this is one way we can help address a critical, unmet need in our communities,” O’Neill said.
“It is an honor to be recognized by Pro Bono Institute, an organization that provides so much support to in-house legal departments and law firms alike in building, enhancing and transforming their pro bono programs.”
Exelon is a charter signatory to PBI’s Corporate Pro Bono Challenge® initiative, which enables legal departments to identify, benchmark and communicate support for pro bono services. Exelon first adopted a pro bono policy in 2002 and launched a formal pro bono program in 2008. Since then, the company has involved almost all of its more than 100 attorneys and nearly as many legal department employees in its pro bono efforts.
“The legal department at Exelon exemplifies the best of pro bono, promoting broad participation within their department and also inviting partners outside their organization to join them in providing pro bono,” PBI President and CEO Eve Runyon said. “Their proactive and collaborative approach to improving access to justice is admirable.”