San Diego Chapter

ACC San Diego Pro Bono & Diversity Committee

The Association of Corporate Counsel –San Diego Pro Bono & Diversity Committee is committed to providing pro bono opportunities and to encourage diversity in the law through its outreach activities.

2017 Chair:

Scott Laughlin - Plaza Home Mortgage

Please contact Scott if you are interested in joining the committee or for any other questions or concerns related to pro bono and/or diversity.

The Importance of Outreach: The California Business and Professions Code Section 6068(h) establishes that it is the duty of an attorney "Never to reject, for any consideration personal to himself or herself, the cause of the defenseless or the oppressed." The State Bar of California recommends that each attorney contribute fifty (50) hours of pro bono legal services annually. In-house counsel, like all attorneys, desire to fulfill this professional responsibility. However, in-house law departments oftentimes do not have the necessary infrastructure to provide pro bono opportunities to its attorneys.

The mission of the ACC San Diego Pro Bono & Diversity Committee is to encourage its members to participate in pro bono and diversity opportunities by identifying, creating and facilitating outreach activities to its members-at-large.


The ACC San Diego Pro Bono & Diversity Committee is available to assist in the formation of an in-house pro bono program. Please contact the Chair as directed above. Ideas/Events/General Comments.

The ACC San Diego Pro Bono & Diversity Committee supports the following local activities:

* Community Service Day

* Casa Cornelia

* Networking with local pro-bono legal services providers.

 Ongoing Pro Bono Opportunities

Pro Bono Opportunities Available Through Our Law Firm Sponsors and Community Partners

Casa Cornelia Law Center (CCLC) serves indigent victims of human and civil rights violations that require attorneys to represent clients on a pro bono basis. Volunteer attorneys are trained and mentored for this work by CCLC and have the opportunity to partner with law firm attorneys from Fragomen and Sheppard Mullin depending on availability and commitments associated with the type of case (Asylum, U Visas, T Visas, VAWA, etc.) or legal clinics. CCLC provides malpractice insurance for volunteer attorneys.  CA licensure is not required for most work, although all volunteer attorneys must be licensed to practice and be in good standing in at least 1 US jurisdiction. Please contact Katherine Paculba, Esq., Pro Bono Program Director at CCLC, at or 619-231-7788 x304.

ACC member Michael Sedio, Vice President of Operations & General Counsel at the Better Business Bureau serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties, won the pro bono Children's Asylum case he took as a Volunteer Attorney through Casa Cornelia Law Center. His client was a boy from a small Central American country which had suffered decades of civil war, including oppression and violence against those of indigenous, and particularly Mayan, ethnicity. Clients like his suffer unconscionable forms of abuse, ranging from beatings, torture, oppression, imprisonment or death because of their ethnicity, religion or even political opinion. The temporary safety they find in the United States can only be made permanent through the work of lawyers willing to take on their cases. Access to law and justice for people without the means to pay for them on their own is made all the more vital in cases where the client's life or freedom are sometimes literally on the line. Michael urges all attorneys to consider becoming a volunteer or joining the Attorneys Who Care Campaign: "I was intimidated at the idea of taking on a volunteer case at first because I knew nothing about immigration law, but Casa Cornelia provided training, support, sample materials, and was with me every step of the way. Of all the reasons I became a lawyer the chance to do work like this is the most meaningful."

Voices for Children, a San Diego nonprofit organization designated by the Juvenile Dependency Court to provide volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). Our CASA volunteers advocate for foster children to ensure that the individual needs of each child are met in the courtroom, classroom, and in other aspects of their lives (learn more here).

Constitution Day

On behalf of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, I'm writing to invite you to serve as a classroom speaker during our eleventh annual observance of Constitution Day on Friday, September 15, 2017(or any day, September 11-15 that works best with your schedule).  

Constitution Day is a national holiday that commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. Since 2005, publicly-funded schools are required to provide educational programming about the Constitution on or about September 17th each year. The San Diego ACLU launched Celebrate the Constitution in 2007 to help local schools meet this requirement.  

Since its inception, this amazing program has matched hundreds of volunteer attorneys, elected officials, community leaders and others with host teachers in classrooms across the region. In ten years' time, our Constitution Day volunteers have reached more than 100,000 local children and youth, engaging them in thoughtful, nonpartisan dialogue about our country's fundamental values, and inspiring them to think constructively about today's tough civil rights and civil liberties issues.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit ACLU has a nearly 100-year track record of protecting and advancing the U.S Constitution's promise of equal justice and liberty for all. We proudly celebrate the Constitution and Bill of Rights every day and encourage you to join us by volunteering as a Constitution Day speaker in one of our many participating classrooms. Classroom presentations typically take about an hour and you may sign up for as many or as few as you like. We will provide you with a speakers' guide and presentation materials. We encourage you to speak in your own style, to be creative, and to share professional and personal experiences to help young people relate to important constitutional principles.

You will find a brief overview of our Celebrate the Constitution program below. If you know of others who may be interested in volunteering their time as Constitution Day speakers, please forward this letter or provide us with their contact information so we may follow up.  

Please contact Alison Ross at aross@aclusandiego.orgor 619.232.2121, ext. 200 to confirm your intent to participate in our 2017 Celebrate the Constitution program and to be matched with a host teacher and classroom. Later this summer, we will provide confirmed volunteers with more information, including the list of schools, host teachers and class schedules.

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