Enjoying February can really be difficult. The holidays are long over, New Year’s resolutions have lost their novelty, and for most of the country, temperatures have dropped far below freezing–leaving many of us with a serious case of cabin fever. Sure, there are a few excuses to celebrate: Valentine’s Day is usually the first to come to mind–but that one just leaves a lot of people depressed over having to share it with the wrong person or not having someone to share it with at all. The month’s second-most popular holiday has otherwise educated–or at least sane–people putting full faith in Punxsutawney Phil to enlighten us on how much longer we must endure the frigid weather.

With Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day serving as highlights, most of us are thankful that February is the shortest month of the year. But with its few distractions, it does offer time to be productive. Whether it’s focusing on building a stronger legal department or making a move to advance your career, now may be a good time to put into action some of the things you want to accomplish going forward. And InsideCounsel can help.

In the three years since we last looked at corporate pro bono activities, many law departments have gotten involved in providing legal services to the disadvantaged, sometimes developing projects on their own, sometimes partnering with non-profit legal services agencies or law firms. Our cover story (“Paying It Forward“) profiles four legal departments of different sizes that are integrating pro bono activities into their cultures.

While our cover story offers pro bono best practices for your legal department, our feature story offers a how-to for you. In “Moving Up,” we take a look at what career advancement means for in-house counsel today. The story outlines different ways you can push your career forward–be it through becoming more knowledgeable about your company’s business or getting more involved in outside organizations that promote legal education and networking.

Whether you’re looking to improve yourself or your department, we hope this issue of InsideCounsel will provide you with a few tools to keep you productive through this cold winter month.