Serving billions of customers in more than 200 countries, The Coca-Cola Co. has embedded in its corporate culture the importance of giving back to the communities it serves. And for years, the legal department had been happy to oblige through various pro bono projects, despite having no official program in place.
In 2000, when Deval Patrick (now-governor of Massachusetts) joined the Coke legal team as GC, he decided it was time for a more defined pro bono program. "We created a pro bono policy," explains Elizabeth Finn Johnson, senior litigation & employment counsel and current chair of the pro bono committee. Johnson drafted the policy, which went into effect in early 2001. "It set forth rules, established a committee, defined projects the committee would sponsor and explained how to get other pro bono projects approved," she adds.