Lawyers and legal professionals have unique expertise to make the justice system fair and accessible to all. And for lawyers, being granted the exclusive privilege to practice law comes with a special responsibility to use those skills to help those who can’t afford our services. Other business partners of the legal community bring unique skills to the table to advance this cause as well.
There are three distinct ways you can make a difference with your time:
Lawyers can do pro bono work by providing direct legal assistance to low-income and disadvantaged clients, and by providing representation to organizations that serve those clients or advance the larger cause of making the justice system fair and accessible for everyone.
Leadership and Training
Another way that lawyers and legal professionals use their time to make a difference is by providing training and support to pro bono and legal aid lawyers and their organizations, and by serving on the board and in other leadership positions for those organizations or related initiatives.
You can provide training and support through the CBF Legal Aid Academy or directly through one of the many outstanding pro bono and legal aid organizations serving our community. That training often will qualify as pro bono services for purposes of the Illinois Supreme Court Pro Bono Reporting Rule.
You also can provide important leadership and support by serving on the board, auxiliary board or other advisory bodies of the pro bono and legal aid organizations serving our community, or serving on bar or court committees or similar initiatives that are focused on advancing access to justice. The process for getting involved in that way varies for each organization.
Other Law-Related Volunteering
One other way that lawyers and legal professionals contribute their unique experience and expertise is by volunteering in other law-related efforts that build awareness of access to justice issues. Examples include teaching young people about the law through the Edward J. Lewis Lawyers in the Classroom or Street Law programs, or mentoring law students who are interested in legal aid and public service careers.