Though profitability remains a key focus of the legal industry, several pro bono initiatives have been attracting attention recently. It’s notable that these initiatives are coming from a variety of levels (state bar, law firm, and in-house), indicating that lawyers throughout the profession are recognizing the benefits of pro bono work.
- The New York State Bar is instituting a pro bono requirement for new attorneys beginning next year, reports the New York Times. Applicants to the state bar will have to demonstrate completion of 50 hours of pro bono legal work before being admitted. The stated purpose for the new rule is to help meet the needs of poor and underserved communities, but the requirement may also help new lawyers obtain real world experience before launching their careers.
- In a new post this week, the Tex Parte Blog describes how Hunton & Williams approaches pro bono work. The firm is proactive, meeting to identify and discuss future pro bono projects. According to the firm’s pro bono committee co-chairman Dan Garner, the process can be compared to business development for commercial clients in which opportunities originate within the firm.
- The conversation about pro bono services tends to focus on law firms, but a recent report from Olivia Collings of ALB explains that in Australia, “A growing number of in-house legal teams are pitching in.” In 2009, Australia’s National Pro Bono Resource Centre introduced a new scheme to encourage lawyers in corporations and government agencies to participate in pro bono legal work.
Posted by Emily Fisher