Today is the final day to make a nomination for the SC Bar’s Pro Bono Award. And, if you’re one of my Twitter followers or Tweeps, then you’ve seen this touted for a while, with especial fervor this week.
And you may wonder, why the big deal? Good question.
Here’s why I think it’s a big deal:
- There are a LOT of attorneys out there (in and out of South Carolina) who are helping people for free every day, including weekends and holidays. Many of these attorneys receive no recognition for their work. And they deserve the recognition by the public and their peers.
- Often the general public vilifies attorneys and legal work. Many of us are called greedy and lawyer jokes are common. C’mon, we’ve all heard them. They’ve been around forever, even Shakespeare has a famous line about lawyers. But the truth is, while some – in any profession – go into law to make money, many more go into law to help people. And if they are working in the public sector – government or public interest, their salaries are not their main focus. And for many who enter the private sector, while their salaries are higher on average, they also contribute both money and time with pro bono efforts.
- And, last, but certainly not least – encouraging pro bono efforts within the legal community is one of the responsibilities (see Responsibility #6) detailed in the Administrative Order establishing the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. And the SC Bar Pro Bono Program Award Presentation at the annual SC Bar Foundation Gala offers a great opportunity for statewide recognition.
So, if you know an attorney, law firm or program that has provided good pro bono service within the past year, please complete and return the Nomination form. You may just make yourself and someone else feel better. And that’s a good thing, don’t ya think?