According to the 2017 Super Lawyers Legal Market Trends Survey, the top two reasons respondents gave for pursuing a law degree were because it was a challenging field and to help others.
Attorneys want to be known for their dedication to a difficult and stretching profession, but they also want to be altruistic. Pro bono work dovetails with both motivations.
The need for volunteer services isn’t going away anytime soon and with complex shifts in the law, pro bono work presents the opportunity to learn more about a variety of cases.
Here are two reasons why taking on pro bono cases is worth the time and effort.
Improve Your Community
The need for pro bono work is well documented. Providing your expertise free of charge opens the opportunity to help disadvantage people groups and raises the quality of representation available to the community. It’s just plain good for society.
As was previously mentioned, attorneys know the gap in legal services and those who need them. That’s why 30 percent of those surveyed said their reason for pursuing a law degree was to help others. Pro bono work provides representation to people who really need it and improves community sentiment about attorneys.
“By trade, lawyers have a unique set of skills and knowledge that can be used to expand access to justice for those who might not otherwise have it,” said Steve Marchese, pro bono director for the Minnesota State Bar Association.
By taking on cases for underprivileged clients, you will get a picture into issues you may not normally confront. In addition, it can give you an appreciation for your usual case load and for your profession. Access to experienced and expert legal representation can change lives.
Improve Your Skills
Pro bono work is a great opportunity to practice cases you feel passionate about. In addition, they can expand your knowledge about nuanced parts of the law. Developing your skills can advance your career and build business for your firm.
Each case gives you the chance to work on practice areas you wouldn’t typically take on. They can seem daunting, but when your top reason for going to law school is to work in a challenging field, it’s not like you shy away from difficult circumstances. By assisting pro bono clients, you can expand your expertise, and may even find a niche practice you never even knew you enjoyed. It’s the perfect chance to try on new hats and practice on a more diversified and advanced level.
Another great side effect of pro bono work stems from the fact that one of the 12 criteria used for Super Lawyers selection is the pro bono and community service participation of an attorney. This means a dual benefit of helping the community and helping yourself.
In fact, 40 percent of attorneys credit pro bono work with providing new business opportunities, according to the 2017 Super Lawyers Legal Trends Survey.
With a monetary and generous viewpoint, volunteering your services provides the perfect chance to advance your professional profile and positively impact society.
To learn more about building out your pro bono practice, download our playbook, Doing Good While Doing Well: A Road Map to Success with Pro Bono.