The week of October 22-28, 2017 is National Celebration of Pro Bono work. Initially the pro bono initiative was launched by The American Bar Association’s (ABA) Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Pro bono (publico) means for the public good and refers to professional work done voluntarily and without receipt of payment. The American Bar Association Model Rule 6.1 states that “a lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.”
The purpose of creating a “week” to emphasize pro bono work was to educate attorneys and provide an introduction to the increased need for pro bono services while providing outreach and opportunity for attorneys to provide their skills to those in need of them from coast to coast. While it is referred to as a “week,” in many locations pro bono events begin in early October and may run through the first week of November. While pro bono legal service is not a one week a year, or one month a year need, the initiation of National Pro Bono celebration has brought into light the need for services on local and national fronts for low income individuals and groups. Since its inception, National Pro Bono Celebration has gained recognition outside of the legal field as well, prompting companies to also use this week as a time to focus on the services the company and employees can provide to local organizations.
In regards to the need for lawyers to provide pro bono services, “We are bound by a responsibility to use our unique skills and training – not just to advance cases, but to serve a cause; and to help our nation fulfill its founding promise of equal justice under law…The obligation of pro bono service must become a part of the DNA of both the legal profession and of every lawyer,” Attorney General Eric Holder’s address to participants at the National Pro Bono Summit on October 24, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
To find a pro bono opportunity near you visit the ABA website at https://www.probono.net/celebrateprobono/event-map-year2017/ or at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/probono_public_service.html. To read more about PohlmanUSA’s thoughts on pro bono work check out http://pohlmanusa.com/pro-bono-work-is-an-important-part-of-practicing-law/.