Paul D. de Holczer is no stranger to Pro Bono legal service. Just ask organizations he’s helped. And he started his pro bono service at USC School of Law. Over the years he has provided legal representation for clients unable to pay and he has worked for the Richland County CASA program. And, in 2003, Paul was awarded Richland County CASA’s Attorney of the Year. Currently he is also serving on the Protection and Advocacy for People for Disabilities, Inc. PAIMI Advisory Council.
We asked him a few questions:
Why do YOU provide Pro Bono legal service?
The short answer is that it “feeds one’s soul.” The longer answer is that it nourishes one’s idea of self and reaffirms a person’s capacity for goodness.
What else should we know?
It does not bring personal gain in any pecuniary sense. It often takes time that could be spent in more lucrative endeavors. What appears to be a “limited engagement” can involve many unanticipated hours. Attorneys may not receive appreciation for doing it. And a few times, I have even had my motives for doing pro bono work questioned.
Do other members of the Bar share your view of providing Pro Bono legal service?
I think that most attorneys, the Bar as a whole, feel that pro bono work contributes to their professionalism and fulfills their calling. It certainly sets us apart from many other fields of employment. Most attorneys see their role as significant, even if their role in any one case does not appear to be significant or a particular case has no obvious significance. Justice as a societal goal is not often achieved through the relatively few game-changing constitutional precedent cases. It is usually achieved through incremental gains over time for individuals.