So I Googled “Good Things Lawyers Do”

and this is what I learned.

August 31 is Love Litigating Lawyers Day. (I’m going to need to calender that).

Also!  The Good that I Love to Love!

Pro Bono Work

At the top of the list of “good” things lawyers do is pro bono legal work. “Pro bono” is short for the Latin term “pro bono publico,” which means “for the good of the public.” Basically, it means a lawyer works for a client free of charge.” According to the American Bar Association (ABA), attorneys should try to give 50 hours of pro bono work per year. State and local bar associations have similar guidelines.

Who gets free legal aid? Usually people who are poor and can’t afford to pay for a lawyer to help with all sorts of legal problems ranging from divorce to criminal cases. Also, many lawyers provide pro bono services to charitable, religious, and educational organizations. According to a 2009 ABA report, 73 percent of the 1,100 attorneys surveyed reported that they gave free legal services to individuals or organizations.

Generally, attorneys and law firms who offer pro bono services have rules and guidelines to determine who’s eligible for free services – it’s usually based on income.

How do you get fee legal services? The best thing to do is to contact the ABA or your local bar association and ask for a list of attorneys in your area who offer pro bono services. Often the list will include a description of the types of cases the attorneys handle.

The underlying idea of pro bono work and free legal materials is simple. The vast majority of attorneys believe that the ability or inability to pay shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to your access to the courts or the legal process to fix a wrong or defend your rights.

Other Good Work

In addition to pro bono legal services to individual clients, attorneys across the US volunteer their time or charge discounted rates in all sorts of projects and causes in their communities, such as:

  • Fundraising events for community or civic projects, like youth recreation areas, hospital improvements, or building senior centers
  • Working on school boards
  • Volunteering to teach grade and high school students about how the law affects their everyday lives
  • Arguing for changes in existing laws, or for new laws, to fix a problem or a particular injustice

The General Job

And don’t forget about the basic job, either. The lawyers who do things that make people write the jokes and give the legal profession a bad reputation are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of lawyers take their clients and their jobs very seriously. They make every effort to represent them fairly and to the best of their abilities.

Righting a wrong or defending someone’s rights is usually an attorney’s goal, and most of the time, they do it the right way and they do it well.

No one’s asking you to run out and give your local attorney a big hug. Instead, the next time you hear a lawyer joke, go ahead and laugh, but don’t be so quick to think it’s true about all lawyers. That’s why even lawyers laugh at them. They know the jokes aren’t universal truths!

I’m going to ignore the last paragraph and assume the author is a lawyer in deep therapy after a major breakdown.  We laugh because we’re thinking, just wait until you get that DUI, buddy.


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