There is no denying that we are experiencing challenging times in our nation. Even before the pandemic happened, we were already dealing with so much — racial tension, wealth inequality, and other social issues — and the COVID-19 crisis aggravated these problems further. Now more than ever, those in the law profession or those who are studying to be in it are sorely needed. If you are a lawyer or on your way to being one, you must embrace the value of doing pro bono work — providing legal services to those who may not necessarily have the resources to pay for it. Here are the advantages of giving back to your community as a lawyer.
Pro bono work allows you to help people
Setting some time to do pro bono work helps you because you get to help others. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you are using what you’ve learned to extend assistance to those who need it the most without asking for anything in return. One example is being a labor attorney for truck drivers. Long-haul trucking is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Yet, many truck drivers can’t go on strike due to a bill that was passed in 1980. Representing laborers who can’t fight for their rights — helping them find just compensation and protect their rights when they’re injured or harmed on the job — is a noble task and one that pro bono work allows you to do for others even if they can’t pay for it.
Pro bono work provides you with a wide array of experiences
When you work pro bono, you are afforded various opportunities to practice in an area of law that may not necessarily be your usual area of focus. This happens because when your firm partners up with a legal assistance organization, your firm is provided with a collection of cases that require lawyers. This might allow corporate attorneys to work on an immigration case or an IP lawyer to try their hand at a benefits case. Doing pro bono work helps you brush up on the kinds of cases you might not have studied since law school.
Pro bono work improves your skills as a lawyer
Pro bono work helps you gain more experience in the field of law. You will be able to build up new skill sets not just in providing legal services but also in terms of research and training. This is because pro bono work is not just exclusively working with clients who need legal services. It can also take the form of promoting worthwhile causes like domestic violence prevention and even fighting climate change. Pro bono work can also involve working to help improve the legal system, which can be done through lobbying. There’s no denying that pro bono work helps lawyers become more well rounded.
Even if you are an upstart lawyer, don’t let the feeling of being unqualified stop you from participating. Pro bono work is often supervised by various legal service attorneys who are experts in their field, and they are committed to working with newer attorneys to provide mentoring and guidance. Pro bono work is an invaluable opportunity for younger lawyers who are just starting because not everyone has access to good mentorship.
Pro bono work enhances your firm’s reputation
Whichever firm you end up working with, know that doing pro bono work will be advantageous for the firm as well. This is because many award-giving bodies take pro bono activity into significant consideration, and it can make or break your firm’s chances to win these awards. It will also help give your firm the reputation of one that gives back to the community or provides aid to those who need it the most. Think of pro bono work as your law firm’s own version of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
If you are a law student, there are plenty of opportunities available for you as well. Consider asking your professors about where you can join advocacies in your final year. Your school will surely also have designated pro bono programs that are organized by professionals who can help match you with different organizations. Some opportunities include family law, consumer fraud, children’s issues, immigration, taxation, housing, and others. Just keep your eye out and ask your professors for help.
Pro bono work is advantageous not just for lawyers but for the world as well. Don’t neglect it in your journey as a lawyer, and let your expertise provide help to those who need it the most.