The Pro Bono Privilege
In light of Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’ve been contemplating what gratitude means in the context of the legal profession. We have so much to be grateful for here at SLG (e.g. awesome clients, mission-driven services, dedicated employees, etc.) but the one thing that stands out(appropriately so) are our pro bono projects!
What does Pro Bono Mean?
Pro bono publico is Latin for the public good. Representing a client pro bono means the attorney will provide free legal counsel to people and entities that would otherwise not be able to afford such services. The California State Bar encourages all lawyers to contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono work annually. Although it’s not required, many attorneys actively try to reserve time for these types of cases – not only does pro bono work strengthen the lawyer’s ties to the community and help the individual or entity, but it also reifies the lawyer’s abilities and confirms that there is nobility still left in this trade.
Pro bono work comes in so many different flavors. Our team has been involved in a vast array of different projects ranging from simply assisting a non-profit with becoming tax exempt to filing complex political asylum cases for child refugees. Each case comes with it’s own set of challenges but always seems to turn out to be some of the most rewarding and beneficial work we’ve done.
What Should I Do If I Am In Need of Pro Bono Services?
If you are in immediate need of pro bono services, the best place for you to start is by researching legal aid societies in your community and pro bono law firms like Public Counsel. Many of the legal aid societies partner with local attorneys that have volunteered their time during a particular month to represent clients for free. In addition, the American Bar Association has a directory on their website, which allows you to search the different providers of pro bono services by state. If you are not in immediate need, then you could always ask an attorney if they’d be willing to represent you pro bono. It may not always be the right time for the lawyer to take on a pro-bono case, but it never hurts to ask!