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There’s an unfamiliar face in the crowd this year — the crowd being the 10 legal organizations we selected for The National Law Journal‘s Pro Bono Hot List. For the first time, we’ve included a corporate legal department — that of International Business Machines Corp. We did so in recognition of IBM’s work on behalf of people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, but also to highlight increasing corporate commitment to pro bono projects. Legal departments are making it clear that they care and expect their outside counsel to do likewise. During a pro bono conference organized by United Health Group, for example, fully one-third of the attendees represented corporate law departments, according to the Pro Bono Institute’s Esther Lardent. She counts some 300 pro bono partnerships between corporations and outside firms.

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