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Esther Lardent’s colleagues credit her with initiating a sea change in the way law firms think about, organize and support pro bono work. She founded the Pro Bono Institute in 1996 with this change in mind and then accomplished what she set out to do. But her early career was a study in frustration.

Lardent’s first four years were spent in a succession of displaced-person camps throughout Europe, where her parents — who had come from a small town in Poland — searched for the (tragically few) family members who had survived the Holocaust. The family moved to America, where her parents were unable to complete their education and worked sporadically at minimum wage work.

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