Richard Gruenberger from DLA Piper and Jessica S. Benson from Pfizer
Back in 2009, Jessica Benson and Larry Miller were given a task that was a bit outside of their traditional, respective roles as senior corporate counsel and assistant general counsel at Pfizer. Although the pharmaceutical giant already had a robust pro bono program within its legal department, its new GC—Amy Schulman—wanted her lawyers to do more volunteer legal work on health care-related issues. And she charged Benson and Miller, who had previous pro bono experience at Pfizer, with making that happen.
Initially, it wasn’t an easy task. Although the pair had some great ideas, they were concerned the in-house lawyers may be fearful of the time commitment as many of them were already hard at work with Schulman implementing the new Pfizer Legal Alliance (PLA) program, a defined partnership with select law firms that allows the department to reduce costs and build relationships.