Starting at a young age, we were all taught the importance of volunteering. It is instilled in our minds that volunteering makes you a “good person.” People today volunteer for a variety of different reasons, whether it is due to a deep belief in a specific cause, for some karmic credit, due to a court order resulting from an unfortunate event, or simply for a change of pace. While these are all valid reasons to volunteer, those of us who succeeded in our journey to obtain that five-digit attorney bar number have a responsibility, and as we all know: With great power comes great responsibility.
Our journey to becoming attorneys coupled with our continuing careers have given us skill sets and advanced knowledge to tackle situations that may seem overwhelming to the average person. Not everyone is able to afford the costs we outline in our client contracts, but the need for those legal services will continue to exist with or without that individual signing the signature line. Those who cannot afford our help may be individuals who need us the most, and so we must decide whether or not to put on the pro bono hat.
But time is money, right? This widely used phrase is simply meant to express that time is our most valuable asset. How much is your time worth? Whatever your answer may be, even those of us with legendary egos, will pale in comparison to our worth perceived by an individual with nowhere else to turn. Now that you’re convinced, as you surely are by now, what kind of pro bono work should you take on? Your pro bono project should be in a field you care deeply about.
Personally, I am forehead-deep in a caseload that primarily consists of medical malpractice defense work. While I could donate free time to the various physicians I represent, the little Captain Obvious that lives inside me suggested that my pro bono time would better be spent elsewhere. The firm I work for introduced me to adult guardianship matters. Soon I was meeting with individuals who were simply looking to take care of their own family, whether it be a wife, a mother, or a nephew. Unfortunate circumstances made it so that the family members were no longer able to take care of themselves medically, financially, or just in general. There was no interest in money, revenge, or any other malicious motive, from which the law goes to great lengths to deter, fortunately. These individuals wanted nothing more than to have the power and ability to care over their loved ones. It is already a difficult situation when an aging parent or an ill nephew is unable to take care of him or herself. Add the weight of legal issues to the mix, and it’s all these individuals can do to keep composure. With my pro bono work, I am able to come in and ease the legal aspect of the situation so that these individuals can do what they need to do in order to take care for their loved ones.
Volunteering is an altruistic concept. As time is our most valuable asset, we can max out on assisting our community by giving someone our time without expectation for a return. It’s incredible how much you can assist someone in just a few hours each month.
As this week is the National Celebration of Pro Bono, please consider donating your time to those in need of assistance.
Copyright © 2017 Kevin Peek