As long as the practice of law has been around, attorneys have been helping others. Legal services are valuable in our culture, but that value oftentimes makes them inaccessible to the underprivileged or to the organizations that may need them the most. The American Bar Association states that lawyers should aspire to render, without fee, at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services per year, with an emphasis that these services be provided to people of limited means or nonprofit organizations that serve the poor.
Helping others both nourishes the soul and works toward the common good. For some attorneys their motivating factor might be paying it forward in terms of education. For others it’s shedding light on veterans’ issues or even representing the wrongly accused. Reaching out to those in need through pro bono work can rebalance your work life, regenerate your spirit and help you gain a greater sense of connectedness with the law.
Far too often the attorney reputation gets maligned – from being called ambulance chasers to being characterized as unemotional legal robots. But contrary to popular belief, many attorneys actually cite the ability to make a positive change in society as the reason they attended law school in the first place.
According to a recent Super Lawyers survey, 46 percent stated working in a challenging field as the number-one reason they started practicing law.* Coming in second was helping others, at 30 percent.* Pro bono work addresses both of these ideas, often expanding an attorney’s professional experience through volunteering for causes they feel passionate about. Pro bono involvement is also a great way to showcase your firm’s expertise while providing a useful service to the people who really need it.
The idea of giving back can enhance firm morale and loyalty and can factor into better employee retention rates. Doing Good While Doing Well: A Road Map to Success with Pro Bono will shed light on some of the societal and altruistic benefits surrounding volunteer legal work and guide you through four simple steps to set the foundation for a sustainable pro bono program at your firm.
*2017 Super Lawyers Legal Trends Survey