Chief Counsel for Ag and Energy Solutions, Koch Industries
Pro Bono Initiative Leader
Measure the success of pro bono work not by the number of hours attorneys rack up but by the positive influence they make on their clients’ lives, says Wichita-based Matt Ellis, who helps run Koch’s pro bono initiative.
Drawn to pro bono work since he began practicing law while at his first job in Texas, Matt says forging relationships between community nonprofits and partner law firms was integral to creating Koch's program, which is designed to easily match attorneys with cases.
“We’re looking to provide an opportunity for members of our legal team to get involved in pro bono in a way that allows them to transform themselves and really improve the communities where we’re located,” says Matt, Chief Counsel for Ag and Energy Solutions at Koch Industries.
He is now working to promote and streamline the initiative, helping create a curated range of suitable opportunities along with training to help lawyers easily adopt pro bono work.
A new app will soon be available that will create an efficient marketplace for the initiative, he says. Lawyers at Koch and its preferred partner firms will be able to volunteer in real-time to take cases directly with the nonprofits involved in the program.
Koch-provided pretraining ensures participants hit the ground running once they’ve accepted a case. Attorneys helping clients clear their criminal records, for example, receive a rundown of the paperwork needed and steps involved, he explains.
For corporate lawyers, the sheer variety of pro bono work available offers an invaluable opportunity to broaden their experience and learn about different legal areas, says Matt. And he’s no exception: He continues to take on his own pro bono work, helping clients clear their records and screening Midwest Innocence Project cases.
“To me, it feels good to be helping others,” he says.