The past year has been a challenging one – as the pandemic hit countries worldwide, thousands, if not millions, of lives have been gravely affected. Businesses have shut down. Employees had to be laid off to cut losses in the company, hence making finding work difficult. With this, the financial capacity of people has taken a huge hit.
Considering the circumstances, what happens to those who have legal concerns yet cannot afford to hire the services of an attorney-at-law? If you are a junior associate in a law firm, a senior attorney, or currently studying the law, you would very well know that these cases would fall under pro-bono work.
What is Pro Bono?
Pro bono means providing your services, free or at greatly discounted cost. This is often linked and dealt with in the legal field. Pro bono publico or Pro Bono as it is more commonly known, is a latin saying that literally means “for the public good.” This is offered for marginalized communities, and less privileged individuals often denied legal services because of a lack of financial capacity.
What is the difference between pro bono work and contingency fee-based service?
Contingency fee-based services or agreements somehow work like these services. Contingency fee lawyers would offer their services for free. However, unlike pro bono lawyers, the former will be paid when the court renders a decision in their client’s favor and awards compensation.
Not all lawyers, however, would offer contingency fee-based services. This is often an agreement with the lawyer and the client wherein they will stipulate how much is the lawyer’s “cut” upon compensation and which other fees would be covered by such compensation and which are not.
Law firms such as Kelso Law offer this kind of legal service called “No Win, No Fee.” They operate on an “outcome-based” approach, wherein they set fixed fees upfront before the case commences. They take pride in their honest service and cost agreements. If you want to learn more about this, you can head on to https://kelsolawyers.com/.
If you, as a practicing attorney-at-law, are still contemplating whether or not you would want to engage in doing pro bono work, here are the benefits of doing such work and how it can help your legal career:
1. Opportunities for Learning and Career Growth
Going Pro bono allows legal professionals to enhance their skills, especially for new lawyers who have yet to receive a client or handle a case. For example, litigation associates may have their first deposition, hearing, or even a full-blown trial by accepting a pro bono case.
Through actual practice, you as a lawyer would develop your legal skills and prowess and have your law firm recognize you as a highly talented and capable asset. This could help take your career to another level.
2. Increase Your Confidence
Going pro bono can significantly help boost a practicing lawyer’s confidence. By doing such work, you have the opportunity to take your learnings to practical use. After law school, new lawyers usually fall into a mindset of “not good enough, or not talented enough.” With your new skills gained from actual legal immersion, you can gain confidence to take on more cases and help more people seek aid and redress under the law.
3. Prepare You for Community Leadership
If you have already been working in a law firm for quite some time, either as an associate or a senior, you would know that leadership goes hand-in-hand with experience and skill. Doing pro bono work not only enhances your legal mind and capabilities it also prepares you for managerial roles that your organization may offer to you anytime.
Several communities work together and offer pro bono services to underprivileged persons. If you wish to serve these people and be able to lead and inspire other attorneys-at-law to the same, doing these types of work itself would greatly help your cause.
4. Improve Client Interaction
Suppose you are a young associate working in a big firm. In that case, it is challenging to have on-hand experience, especially when superiors would delegate cases first to senior associates or more experienced personnel. Doing pro bono work would help you have more meaningful connections with people and have first-hand experience doing actual legal service.
Interactions with your clients with these types of services can also be personally rewarding and enable you to have a more profound sense and understanding of what being a lawyer entails. That is being a steward of the law and bringing justice for those who have less in life.
5. Have a Broader Substantive Experience
Pro bono work hones your expertise in the legal field you choose to be in. It also gives you a broader experience not only limited to what you usually deal with. These types of cases can range from divorce suits to labor disputes and even abuse claims.
If you usually deal with specific types of lawsuits, perhaps doing pro bono work could supplement your legal knowledge by handling cases beyond the “specialized” ones you are accustomed to. This way, you expand your framework and understanding of the law and offer your services to a broader reach of clientele.
Being able to study the law and becoming an attorney is a privilege. Along with the knowledge of the law comes the responsibility to serve your community and help those in need. Doing pro bono work not only can give you a greater sense of purpose, but this will also inspire future lawyers to do the same.