The AIG Pro Bono Program was launched in 2012 with the goals of giving back to the community and for providing training to AIG’s staff. To date, the Pro Bono Program has partnered with over 100 organizations, donating over 8K hours, and has coordinators in approximately 10 cities. The work varies tremendously – ranging from immigration visas, children’s rights, and intellectual property for non-profits.
The program’s most recent work was with Street Law, Inc., a global, non-profit organization developing classroom and community programs that educate young people about law and government. For the last three years AIG has partnered through Street Law with the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (“UASBYW”), which provides a high quality college-preparatory education to young women of diverse backgrounds in a nurturing and supportive environment in downtown New York. More than 30 AIG volunteers, who are both new to and long-time veterans of the program, were involved in making this year’s event a success.
The engagement began with the AIG team going to UASBYW to teach the students about three areas of the law: The First Amendment – Cyberbullying, Contracts Law – Negotiation, and Employment Law – Sexual Harassment.
This year, AIG hosted the students with a daylong UASBYW Student Conference. Eric Kobrick, Chair of the AIG Pro Bono Committee, made the opening remarks and introduced Tom Russo, former AIG General Counsel. Tom took the opportunity to speak with the students about the principles outlined in his “Ingredients for Success.” Specifically, Tom passed along to the students some life advice we should all listen to, “Don’t let your job define you. ‘I am the General Counsel. It is not who I am, it is what I do.’” In the context of time allocations, whether it is time for family or time for education, he explained to the students that “You need to have fortitude and courage to stick to it once you allocate time to something.”
After being inspired by Tom’s life lessons, the UASBYW students moved to the interactive portion of the day where they role-played as attorneys, investigators and negotiators in three interactive workshops on cyberbullying, contracts and sexual harassment.
The students also participated in a Women’s Diversity Panel Discussion moderated by Annette Bernstein, Chief Labor and Employment Counsel, and featuring GLCR colleagues Ramya Kasthuri, Nicole Glass, Shama Elliott, Jihan Nelson, Laura Garcia. The panel shared their backgrounds, mistakes, obstacles and chances they took that led them to their current role.