Bruce Kuhlik and Merck Honored by PBI for Commitment to Pro Bono


February 28, 2013 9:43 am ET

Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the Pro Bono Institute (PBI) has selected Executive Vice President and General Counsel Bruce Kuhlik and the company’s legal department as the winner of the 2013 Laurie D. Zelon Pro Bono Award for their outstanding commitment to pro bono service. The award will be presented at the PBI Annual Conference Reception on March 15 in Washington, D.C.

Under Kuhlik’s leadership, Merck’s legal department has seen tremendous growth in its pro bono efforts and has forged partnerships with organizations and companies that share Merck’s mission of enhancing their neighbors’ well-being. Merck’s pro bono program currently includes more than 175 attorneys, paralegals and administrative associates from offices around the world.

“Bruce and the legal department at Merck have done an excellent job with their pro bono program in taking on such impactful projects and forging strong partnerships,” PBI President and CEO Esther F. Lardent said. “Merck’s pro bono program serves as an exemplary model for other legal departments working to enhance their pro bono efforts.”

For nearly 20 years, Merck’s pro bono program has provided thousands of hours of support and helped hundreds of individuals and organizations in need of legal assistance. The program was founded by General Counsel Mary McDonald in 1994 and grew substantially under the leadership of Ken Frazier, Merck’s current CEO, during his years as General Counsel.  Merck’s projects include assisting low-income consumer debtors file for bankruptcy, providing life-stabilizing legal services to displaced or transitional veterans, and working with Accenture plc, Caterpillar Inc., Baker & McKenzie and PILnet to empower women in Nepal with the goal of reducing socioeconomic and sexual exploitation. Merck also has worked to help Holocaust survivors applying for reparations, pensions and other benefits.

With guidance and assistance from PBI and pro bono consultants at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, Merck is testing new metrics tools to better assess the impact and effectiveness of its pro bono efforts. Once the tools have been tested, implemented and analyzed, Merck plans to share its pioneering efforts with other corporate legal departments and law firms to revolutionize and enhance their pro bono efforts.

“At Merck, we believe that with corporate success comes social responsibility, and we strive to make a difference in our local, national and international communities,” Kuhlik said. “We are honored that the Pro Bono Institute has chosen to recognize our work in helping those without access to legal advice get equal justice under the law.”

To see updates of the event on Twitter, follow @probonoinst and join the conversation with #pbi2013.

To learn more about the Zelon Award, click here.


About Merck

Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.


About the Pro Bono Institute

Established in 1996, PBI is a nonprofit organization with a mandate to explore and identify new approaches to the poor and disadvantaged unable to secure legal assistance to address critical problems. In doing so, PBI identifies and develops innovative programs and undertakes rigorous evaluations to ensure that these new approaches are workable and effective. PBI administers a number of projects designed to enhance access to justice, including: the Law Firm Pro Bono Project®, Corporate Pro BonoSM, Second Acts®, Global Pro Bono, and Public Interest Pro Bono.


Forward-Looking Statement

This news release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Merck’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. There can be no guarantees with respect to pipeline products that the products will receive the necessary regulatory approvals or that they will prove to be commercially successful. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements.

Risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to, general industry conditions and competition; general economic factors, including interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations;  the impact of pharmaceutical industry regulation and health care legislation in the United States and internationally; global trends toward health care cost containment; technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approval; Merck’s ability to accurately predict future market conditions; manufacturing difficulties or delays; financial instability of international economies and sovereign risk; dependence on the effectiveness of Merck’s patents and other protections for innovative products; and the exposure to litigation, including patent litigation, and/or regulatory actions.

Merck undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements can be found in Merck’s 2011 Annual Report on Form 10-K and the company’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) available at the SEC’s Internet site (

Merck Media Relations:

Ronald Rogers: (908) 423-6449

Maria Tortoreto: (908) 423-4598

The Pro Bono Institute: 

David Lipscomb: (202) 729-6699

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