f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

March 1, 2004

Starbucks GC Shines

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:59 pm

thank you  with cream on top

Corporate Counsel magazine names its 2004 Innovative GCs in its current edition, and I’d like to salute the work of one honoree — Starbucks General Counsel Paula Boggs (see “Breaking Grounds,” 03-02-04).

According to GC, Boggs largely chose to work for Starbucks “because of its varied charitable efforts.”

“Boggs was especially interested in expanding a nascent program started by her predecessor and run out of the legal department that helped Seattle’s poor make their way through housing court. In the 15 months since she joined the ubiquitous latte purveyor, she has dramatically increased the size of the program, made her department’s 30 lawyers and 46 staffers freely available to the project on a regular, ongoing basis — and made expansion of pro bono activity a central part of her department’s five-year strategic plan.”

The article notes that staffers get extra points at bonus time for regularly performing pro bono work.  The litigation experience in housing court is also seen as a plus.

Several other corporate pro bono programs are described in the article.  Bravos to all, with this oft-voiced plea from ethicalEsq:

Corporate Counsel — especially those from companies and communities with computer expertise and resources — should consider supporting and creating self-help and pro se programs across the nation.  Access to justice by indigent Americans (and those of modest means) can be greatly improved by spreading such programs.  For example:

  • Pick a state with little or no self-help resources available to the public and help make excellent programs available.  

  • Line up volunteer lawyers to act as pro se facilitators in local courts. 

  • Use legal and software expertise to produce user-friendly, interactive programs in many areas of the law — and use financial and political clout to make them available to the public.

  • Train staffers to serve as mediators for family, housing, small claims courts.

There are many ways to make access to justice real.  You don’t have to be litigators to help the poor find justice — don’t give them a fish; teach them to fish.

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