Pro Bono Legal Work: For the Good of Not Only the Public, but Also the Lawyer and the Legal Profession

I agree with Judge Edwards that “the lawyer has an ethical obligation to practice public interest law – to represent some poor clients; to advance some causes that he or she believes to be just.” I also concur in Judge Edwards’ opinion that “[a] person who deploys his or her doctrinal skill without concern for the public interest is merely a good legal technician – not a good lawyer.”

Rather than further develop Judge Edwards’ theme that lawyers have a professional responsibility to do pro bono work, I will offer another rationale for such work, grounded in professional and individual self-interest. Specifically, my major theme is that, by serving the public, lawyers can simultaneously do well and do good. In other words, by doing pro bono publico work, lawyers benefit not only the public, but also themselves.