On Wednesday, December 29, 2010, the President signed into law:
H.R. 6398, which provides for permanent Federal deposit insurance coverage for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, the interest earned on which is used by States to support legal aid for low-income individuals.
I can’t say that my classmates and I were always enthusiastic about sitting through our professional responsibility class (or most classes for that matter). So I was surprised at how intense the debate became when the topic of possible mandatory pro bono work came up.
While several of my classmates supported the idea, a good many were adamantly opposed, stating that they would simply leave the pro bono work to be done by those people who actually cared. They would do the rainmaking and the pro bono department at their would-be large firm would do the “dirty work” so to speak.
Now, I won’t claim that the idea of a large paycheck isn’t appealing, but there is more to the legal profession. The legal profession is one that has traditionally sounded in working for the public good.
That’s why I was happy to read that since 2006, there has been an 8% increase in the number of pro bono hours worked by attorneys.
The ABA now asks the nation’s lawyers to support President Obama’s plan for a national day of service and even provides a website listing pro bono opportunities throughout the nation.