Friday, April 23, 2010

Top eight reasons to do pro-bono work

Attorney Dawn Levine has published an article in Small Firm Business on why it is a good idea to engage in pro bono work. Go here for the full article. Here are the top eight reasons the title refers to:

"Don't get me wrong, I like to make money as much as the next guy. However, I sometimes work for nothing. . . . I gave some thought to why I do. Here is my top eight list:

1. For every pro bono case you take, that is one attorney joke that is undermined.

2. Pro bono allows me to continue to pay my mortgage and still hold on to my dream of changing the world. While I can't afford to work full time in public service, I can find time for a case here and there.

3. Democracy demands it. If our legal system is not made to work for even the most economically vulnerable, then it ceases to be just.

4. God does not really care if I am "this close" to a billable hours bonus. I don't get a pass just because I am busy.

5. The economy stinks. Unemployment and foreclosures are mushrooming. Creditors are becoming increasingly aggressive. More people than ever with legal needs qualify for pro bono services.

6. The economy stinks, parte dos. Budget cuts have reduced government help to low-income people. Funding for full-time public service attorneys is drying up while donations to nonprofits are going down. Society's safety net for our most vulnerable is fraying.

7. It makes me a better attorney. When I was in law school, we did not discuss what happens in a probate case for a bigamist. I had to figure this out for a pro bono case. Believe it or not, I have since seen it twice more with paying clients.

8. It recharges my batteries. I haven't conducted a scientific study of the subject, but I am convinced that attorneys who participate in pro bono work have greater career satisfaction."

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