5 Reasons Why You Should Take up Pro Bono Cases as a Lawyer

Pro bono was created from a Latin word called pro bono publico, which means for the public good., Over time, pro bono publico has become popularly known as pro bono. It is described as a method of contributing to and helping those in need of legal representation and help. It is deeply rooted in the legal profession. Pro bono can be defined as an act done willingly by lawyers whereby free services are provided for those whose rights are breached. Lawyers act in the public interest by providing legal services at no or reduced cost because they do not seek financial gain but rather to ensure justice is served. There are numerous organizations in which lawyers offer pro bono services, some of which are hospitals, universities, churches, foundations, and national charities. It is done for the good of others and the good of the public.

History of Pro Bono

Pro bono originated from America when a fight broke out between British soldiers and American colonists and there was a bloodbath where five Americans were killed. After this issue, John Adams decided to offer free legal representation and defended the British soldiers who were on trial for the killings, and he won. The American Bar Association provides that every lawyer should provide at least 50 hours of pro bono legal service per year according to Model Rule 6.1, and other countries should imitate this rule.

Pro bono cases take advantage of the skills of legal professionals to defend those who cannot pay for legal representation. This service is offered to minorities and other relevant populations that lack access to justice because they lack the funds. When lawyers make a constant effort to modify and refine the legal system through persuasion or solicitation, they render legal assistance to institutions that uphold social causes and create room for phone conversations to get quick legal opinions. 

Pro Bono Week is set aside nationwide in October to appreciate and celebrate the thousands of legal practitioners that offer professional skills and expertise to ensure others get access to justice. The legal field has the obligation to render pro bono assistance written in its guiding principles, unlike other professions.

Read: Procedures for the Application and Granting of Police Bail

Lawyers can be very expensive. They are highly trained professionals with in-demand skills that make them able to charge increasingly high fees for their time, knowledge, and services.However, lawyers offer a portion of their time with a willingness to help the less privileged. as well as protecting the rights of disadvantaged groups, especially women and children in Nigeria. For instance, punuka solicitors' help reaffirmed the right of the girl child to inherit her father’s property in Ukeje v. Ukeje and won at all levels. 

Pro Bono in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the majority of indigent people lack access to legal representation. This is where pro bono lawyers step in as it is available in different areas of law like defense of prisoners on death row, accused awaiting trials, those threatened with loss of their place of abode, widows seeking a grant in respect of their spouse's property or when seeking divorce, amongst others. 

In early 2020, Law 360 published a report that lawyers from more than 100 firms contributed nearly 5 million hours to pro bono services. Pro bono includes a broad range of volunteering with a legal angle. The most important reason to do pro bono work is to provide benefit to the community that might otherwise not be available. The cost of skilled legal services is very high and beyond the reach of many.

Pro bono work gives lawyers the opportunity to make their clients feel empowered and hopeful in situations that they thought were dire and hopeless.

Read: Biography of Chief Wole Olanipekun, OFR, SAN

Many lawyers refuse to take up pro bono cases because it can be tedious and cumbersome without pay without paying attention to the multiple advantages they will tend to enjoy. There are numerous reasons why you should take up pro bono representation in your legal practice as a lawyer. They include:


1. It is an opportunity for a legal professional to appear in court and manage cases. 

It offers room to benefit from realistic revel in the legal world. It's an excellent avenue to get to recognize judges. A lawyer’s legal practice can be improved with the aid of problem-solving abilities, strategic skills, research skills, writing capabilities, speaking abilities, and thinking abilities. It provides a lawyer with the invaluable benefit of face-to-face client contact, interviewing, research, and drafting capabilities. It can also expose you as a lawyer to novel views on social and cultural issues distant from your experience. This will help you in your career and in life generally. Taking up pro bono cases indirectly offers training to new lawyers to draft courtroom filings or contracts, draft legal arguments, and appear in administrative or courtroom hearings. as well as broaden communication, deliberation, and negotiation skills. Pro bono work commonly offers attorneys greater duty and prepares them for the hard choice-making they may stumble upon at some point in their careers. In summary, pro bono representation is an effective way for young lawyers to boost their development from law school graduates to professional lawyers.

2. It is an avenue for networking.

As a legal professional, engaging in pro bono cases is important to gain critical networking possibilities. It is a means of establishing contacts with members of the global legal network. Through networking, law firms involved in pro bono cases tend to build relationships with different firms around the globe through collaboration on multi-jurisdictional tasks. It is an avenue to meet alumni and different advocates who proportion your ardour for helping others. It permits you to use the law as a tool to assist the ones around you in need. despite the existence of opportunities to practice in areas outside their day-to-day work. It offers a chance to collaborate with other lawyers in your corporation. It promotes healthy relationships and passes-firm opportunities in the future. It also enables attorneys to build networks with different legal professionals who are also working for legal aid foundations. Such networking results in a firm's improvement, which in turn is of great advantage to the company.

3. To expand and amplify your career choices and horizons. 

Taking over pro bono cases as a legal professional will help you find and determine specific areas of practice you might not be aware of or have access to take part in, in addition to offering a basis for extra seasoned bono cases and expert opportunities. It promotes a variety of revel in as pro bono cases avail lawyers the opportunity to exercise in a place of regulation that isn’t their usual work and day-to-day activity. For instance, a property lawyer can absorb pro bono cases on human rights, which allows such an attorney to brush up on a law they haven’t had full awareness of since law school. It permits lawyers to experiment in new areas of law and extend their horizons. It is a great opportunity for lawyers to step out of their comfort zone. It's a fantastic opportunity to help those in need get justice while also gaining exposure to unique areas of law. This broader understanding of the law and society can help support a legal professional’s ability to efficiently suggest and be a better adviser for their paying clients.

4. To exhibit your Expertise

It is an avenue to demonstrate the value you bring to the table as a lawyer as well as showcase your level of competence in the legal profession, in addition to giving back to the community by catering to people who cannot afford legal representation. You can improve your practice's reputation by exhibiting your dedication, professionalism, legal knowledge, critical thinking skills, and originality.Taking up pro bono cases can further attract new paying clients, peer referrals, or possible business partners. as well as improve your skills, such that pro bono cases give less experienced lawyers the opportunity to hone the abilities they'll need in day-to-day legal practice. Interviewing witnesses, taking depositions, participating in hearings, and even conducting some trial work are just a few examples. It permits lawyers to gain confidence and prepare for larger positions in their commercial work by doing so. However, working with people who aren't your regular clients as a lawyer can also help you improve your ability to communicate effectively with both current and potential clients. It allows lawyers to gain abilities that they would not have been able to gain through study or theory and to put what they’ve learned in class into practice in real-life situations.It enables lawyers to capitalize on their prior experience and interests. Taking cases on a pro-bono basis guarantees that professional experience and interest will be developed in relation to your career path and ambitions. Pro bono work is a fantastic way to develop one's craft in this difficult environment. While enduring the economic downturn, taking on pro bono matters allows you to gain valuable experience and sharpen your skills for the future. It frequently provides opportunities for young litigators to develop skills in situations that they would not otherwise have access to through paid work, and it can provide experience in a much broader range of subjects than typical commercial litigation. The opportunity to lead actual trials or appeals is perhaps the most obvious benefit of pro bono work for lawyers.

5.It is an avenue for client interaction.

Pro bono work can give clients an early opportunity for extensive and meaningful direct interaction. Pro bono employment, in contrast to paid work, frequently allows for immediate and significant client contact. Client relations are often the domain of senior associates or partners on the team, as any junior associate who has worked on large-scale commercial litigation knows. And it's no secret that associates in many law firms, especially the larger ones, are dissatisfied with the limited engagement they have with the firm's large corporate clients and the lack of immediate impact their work has as a result of this isolation. Pro bono work, on the other hand, frequently allows young associates to communicate directly with their clients. Connecting with clients gives critical learning encounters for youthful partners and extraordinary openings to create abilities basic to the litigator’s weapons store, such as dynamic tuning in, viable face-to-face interpersonal communication, and, where fitting, overseeing desires. Moreover, client interaction can be by and by fulfilling, permitting the young to relate directly with the individual or individuals who will be promptly and specifically affected by the attorney’s work. Pro bono cases regularly display openings for face-to-face contact with clients and the chance to see firsthand the impact the work of the attorney has on the lives of clients.

Builds Skills of Younger Lawyers

While we are talking about younger talent, pro bono helps young lawyers gain experience and build their skill sets. Tapping into younger lawyers’ energy and desire to help others is a win-win.

Enhances the Firm’s Reputation

Doing pro bono work is good for the firm’s image. Nowadays, many if not most awards and recognitions for law firms require information about pro bono activity. If your firm can’t say it provides this community service, the likelihood of receiving such honors takes a dive.


Provides a Sense of Self-Fulfillment

This may be the most-important aspect of pro bono. Pro bono work frequently reminds lawyers that they are practicing law to help people. The energy frequently carries over into their regular practices as well.


Encourages Diversity of Experience

Pro bono work frequently affords lawyers an opportunity to practice in an area of law that isn’t their usual focus. For example, when partnering with a legal aid clinic, a firm receives a list of cases that need lawyers and a corporate litigator might work on a benefits case; an IP lawyer might help someone with immigration status. Lawyers have the opportunity to brush up on law that they might not have considered since law school. Most find it rewarding, and sometimes even fun.

Provides an Opportunity for Collaboration

Along with opportunities to practice in areas outside their day-to-day work, pro bono cases also give lawyers the chance to work with other lawyers in their firms whom they may not otherwise know. That creates relationships and cross-firm opportunities in the future. It also helps lawyers build networks with other lawyers who are also working for legal aid foundations. That networking leads to business development, which also benefits the firm.

Appeals to New Recruits

When your firm is recruiting new lawyers, particularly from younger generations, those potential new members frequently ask about the firm’s commitment to pro bono. You want to have at least a somewhat-active pro bono program if you hope to attract new talent in the next few years.

In conclusion, pro-bono work gives lawyers the opportunity to make their clients feel engaged and cheerful in circumstances that they thought were desperate and sad. as well as make you satisfied and fulfilled as a lawyer.

0/Post a Comment/Comments