Pro bono work is volunteer legal work that attorneys perform for free. In an industry where time is money, lawyers often ask – why should I bother?
1. You have a responsibility.
Generally, there is a sense that attorneys have a responsibility to use their special skills to give back to the community through pro bono work. All bar associations in the United States strongly encourage lawyers to perform pro bono work. Some states even require it, particularly for law students seeking admission to the bar.
2. Your help is needed.
There are many people and organizations that would not have access to legal advice and advocacy if weren’t for pro bono work. Many people simply cannot afford legal services. Others are incapable of advocating for themselves – such as children, severely disabled individuals, the elderly, or victims of abuse. If you don’t help them, you must wonder who will.
3. You will feel good about it.
Performing pro bono work will give make you feel great. You will feel proud to know that you were able to use your skills and experience to assist someone who really needed it. You will walk away with a warm and fuzzy feeling.
4. You can pursue your passion.
You can choose to perform pro bono work that will benefit a cause that aligns with your passions. If you are passionate about animals, you can take a pro bono to benefit abused animal or perform legal services for an organization that benefits animals. If you are passionate about criminal rights, you can take a pro bono case to prove a wrongful conviction or perform legal services for an organization that fights police brutality.
5. You can get more experience.
By performing pro bono work, you can gain more experience in an area that you otherwise would not have the opportunity to work in. For example, if you are a corporate transaction attorney, chances are that you will not gain experience in civil rights unless you perform some pro bono work. Thus, pro bono work can broader your career horizons and skill set in ways that your traditional practice cannot.