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.” US lawyers spend an average of 2 times as many hours on pro bono work as lawyers in other countries according to a survey done by The American Lawyer. (1) Additionally, in 2016 law students performed over 2.2 million hours of pro bono work. (2)
Many people know from watching movies that a criminal defendant’s right to an attorney is found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But why should it stop there? Access to a lawyer is a basic human right in the United States and should not be determined by the economic status of the individual, although unfortunately, it usually is.
“There can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black (1964)
“Certainly, life as a lawyer is a bit more complex today than it was a century ago. The ever-increasing pressures of the legal marketplace, the need to bill hours, to market to clients, and to attend to the bottom line, have made fulfilling the responsibilities of community service quite difficult. But public service marks the difference between a business and a profession. While a business can afford to focus solely on profits, a profession cannot. It must devote itself first to the community it is responsible to serve. I can imagine no greater duty than fulfilling this obligation. And I can imagine no greater pleasure.” – Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, 78 Or. L. Rev. 385, 391 (1999)
“Lawyers have a license to practice law, a monopoly on certain services. But for that privilege and status, lawyers have an obligation to provide legal services to those without the wherewithal to pay, to respond to needs outside themselves, to help repair tears in their communities.” – U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (March 2014)
Our clients are increasing their efforts to assist individuals without representation, and PohlmanUSA believes that pro bono work is our duty as a part of the legal community.
As we see an increased need for pro bono service and the importance of the ability to provide this service, we are pleased to work with so many clients who dedicate their time to this representation. To learn about how we can assist with cost control on your pro-bono work please contact our sales and marketing team at 877-421-0099.
(1) (Gluckman, Nell. “Exclusive Survey: Pro Bono Rankings.” The American Lawyer. June 27, 2016.)
(2) (Sloan, Karen. “Law Students Performed 2.2 Million Pro Bono Hours Last Year.” The National Law Journal. January 5, 2017).