I have written about Pro Bono legal representation on different occasions, especially during or near the ABA’s National Celebrate Pro Bono Week. Here in South Carolina, I’ve seen more discussion about it, and even a little more participation.
But, I still don’t see as much participation as I would expect. So I have a question for attorneys, paralegals, and law students:
If you are not regularly engaged in pro bono representation, why not?
Please add your comments below. No expletives please. And, I’d like your honest answers.
Have you been asked?
Do you know where to find opportunities?
Are you nervous to do so on your own?
Do you think you don’t have enough time to add another case?
Just in case you weren’t aware, there is an online site to go to learn about what’s happening in the Legal Aid and Pro Bono communities – at Legal Services Now. The current e-newsletter is available in html or pdf.
Our gal on the street, Nosy Wheeler, is heading over to the Legal Fraternity Phi Delta Phi Faculty Auction this evening at 701 Whaley St. Cost per person is $35 and the auction includes weekend get-aways, artwork and more!
Funds law students in public interest law settings in South Carolina during the summer months.
And Nosy knows that PILS summer grant students go on to become great attorneys. In the past, she’s supervised many of them, who have gone on to practice in public interest law OR continue to support the programs.
Stay tuned for an update of the evening from Nosy.
Theories abound as to why fresh, new lawyers are not turning to public service when they enter the workforce. Much of the discussion centers on the incredible debt that arises from law school, an average of $80,000+. Sure it would be hard to accept a job for $40,000 a year (see my previous article), but an article by Tan N. Nguyen in the Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal paints a different picture.
According to Nguyen, law professors may play a large role in where students seek employment and that the trend is toward large firms.
Law schools often teach legal skills in the absence of any discussion regarding equity, fairness, or the possible result of their application in people’s lives. The case-analysis method of teaching law separates legal thinking from larger societal values.
Nguyen suggests alternatives in the article.
Now may be a good time for us to re-examine how we paint the profession to law students. Public interest lawyers do great work and deserve recognition. Maybe it’s time to let law students know that too.