The Pro Bono Partnership, an organization that links lawyers with non-profits needing free business legal services, has named IBM and its in-house attorneys Outstanding Volunteer of 2008.

The company has supported the Partnership since 1997, and IBM’s general counsel Robert Weber and assistant general counsel Michelle Browdy joined its board in 2007.

Weber said the company was honored by the award, and he emphasized the value and tradition of volunteerism. “During the current challenging economic environment, it is more important than ever for companies to maintain their commitment to pro bono activities on behalf of non-profit organizations,” he said in an IBM press release. “Working with the Pro Bono Partnership helps provide an important dimension of our pro bono efforts worldwide.”

As an organization, IBM encourages volunteerism and community service through its On Demand Community, a Web-based program that partners IBM employees and retirees with charitable organizations. Through the Pro Bono Partnership, IBM’s in-house lawyers provide legal resources to non-profit organizations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“We work with volunteers all the time and IBM is one of the best I have had the pleasure of working with,” Joanna Straub, executive director of The Volunteer Center of United Way, said in the release. IBM lawyers helped United Way successfully sort through a copyright issue.

Read about how other corporate law departments have made pro bono a priority in “Paying it Forward” (Feb. 2009).