Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Do You Even?

Simple topic for discussion today:  pro bono. Yes? No? Why or why not?


57 comments:

  1. No I do not. I would love to "help people," but work does not allow me the time or resources to do so.

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    1. Agreed. Help when you can or have a junior associate do it. There is too much on my plate but my experience with pro bono people has been less than positive. I do donate every year to Legal Aid and maybe that helps them but my time is more valuable than a small check. I like when younger attorneys get involved as it helps build experience and might allow actual courtroom experience as well. And I am not a Boyd graduate.

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  2. Isn't there an old saying that goes something like, "I don't do pro bono because I already have enough clients who don't pay me for the work I do for them"? Because that is the exact reason I don't do it. I really wish I had the time/motivation to put into pro bono, but I'm a solo attorney and I have to pay for my kids to eat.

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    1. I also have deadbeat clients. Someone who needs help and can't afford it is much more deserving than someone who would rather have another ivory backscratcher than pay your bill. Dump the shit clients, and give some of that time to a good cause

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  3. I agree with the previous posters. I loved doing pro bono work, but when I was already working 60 hours/week, it was tough to justify taking a case that would just add to that load.

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  4. I recently signed up my two attorney firm with the NV AG's Office of Military Legal Assistance. We do wills/POAs/living wills for veterans referred through their office. It is not a whole lot of work on our part but for a non-attorney that doesn't do them it seems difficult.

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  5. Of course I do pro bono. My kids are eating just fine; my pro bono clients are not faring as well. The Rule of Professional Conduct suggests 1 hour and 40 minutes a month. If you cannot find basically 100 minutes a month for Ask-a-Lawyer or some public service, charitable group, or organization in matters that are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means (whether you are a solo practitioner or in a big firm), something is wrong. I found once I started to do pro bono, my tolerance for clients of means who refused to pay became much less.

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  6. I do pro bono work, and I work a lot of hours, plus I have mortgage to pay.

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    1. Are you a solo attorney, or do you work for a large firm?

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  7. I do crim. I pick up a number of pro bono cases a year to help people out. Its a mistake every time. I have more than enough business, I don't need to do it, I'm just dumb. I have found that the less you are paid the more you are disrespected and the inverse is also true. I have gotten cases dismissed for pro bono clients and they want to file a bar complaint because they "wanted their day in court." WTF is that?

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    1. Agreed!!!!!

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    2. Wise words of wisdom: "I have found that the less you are paid the more you are disrespected and the inverse is also true."

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    3. The Bar Complaint comment made me laugh!!

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    4. I just hope that the Supreme Court and the Bar does not make pro bono mandatory. Every attorney works for free and helps clients. Getting paid is the secret. You can work for free all day. Clients do not respect a free lawyer. No good deed goes unpunished.

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  8. Anyone see that Malik Ahmad filed a lawsuit against Fox Rothchild for stealing a personal injury client? Since when does Fox do personal injury?

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    1. That is your question about this whole situation??

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    2. Copy of the complaint: bit.ly/1XdB8kb Lots of rambling in the facts section. Alleging the use of a spanish interpreter, who was also an employee of FR, to take a client.

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    3. Ah, lawyers, aka, douche bags at their finest.

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  9. Yes, I call my pro bono clients friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, and family members (often distant family members).

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  10. I do not do pro bono, but I want to. I am going to talk to my boss about it during my annual review. My religious beliefs have been tugging on my conscience to do it. ("Because I have been given much, I too must give" "...mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.." and afflict the strong who prey upon the weak. "The law exists to protect the weak from the strong." -Henry Hyde

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    1. Child Attorney Project. No question. Help a kid out whose parents aren't there for him/her.

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    2. Yeah, hard to be a CAP attorney. You end up sitting around all day because the DA, PD, and/or the case worker are all in other departments.

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  11. Can the LACSN start recognizing all attorneys who do pro bono, not just the attorneys with larger firms? Everybody should be honored, not just Jeff Silver.

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    1. All attorneys who do over 50 hours or 100 hours are recognized. The problem with the LACSN Awards is that they recognize firms based upon the number of hours/number of cases done. I would hope Snell & Wilmer did more cases as a firm than a 2-lawyer Family Law firm but that does not mean the latter did not do more pro rata.

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    2. LACSN is gentrifying pro bono attorneys, and it is noticed.

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  12. Fewer and fewer attorneys are doing pro bono, because of the economy. Clients should hire attorneys who do pro bono, usually tend to be more honest.

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  13. Thankfully my firm lets me count some pro bono hours to my yearly billable requirement.

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  14. My experience with pro bono is mixed. A lot of the clients are lowlifes gaming the system. Not all, or even a lot, but a decent percentage of them. When I was poor it never would have even occurred to me to screw my landlord or ask an attorney to do work for me for free. Unfortunately, the same mentality that thinks free is okay coexists frequently with the mentality that someone, somewhere owes one something. Not pretty. But, again, I have had good, honest pro bono clients who were just down on their luck. I plan to do some more pro bono in 2016.

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    1. As opposed to privileged, silver-spooned, oligarchs who "game the system"? Sorry, but I don't have a lot of indignation for poor people who "game the system," I would do the same if I was poor.

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    2. 1:42 is totally on the mark. 2:03 is clearly voting for Sanders.

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    3. I would not. Rich or poor, gaming the system is morally bankrupt, gauche and low class. Sure, slick lobbyists make it look glamorous, but even whores laugh at those clowns. I want to be, and inspire my kids to be, honorable, whether poor or rich.

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    4. 2:03 - that attitude is why I won't be giving them my time for free as they game the system. I used to do a lot of pro bono hours. The clients did not appreciate my work and viewed me as a chump. And CAP's not the answer - do that until you have to advocate for your client to be reunited with the dad who molested her, or to be pulled out of the home of the decent foster family who wants to adopt him to be reunited with the drug addict parents upon their latest release from jail. I couldn't do it anymore.

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    5. "Gravy boat" Trev Trev Trevor Hayes was a lobbyist. He is an upstanding fella. He was a DA. That is scary.

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  15. There are lot of different types of pro bono out there. They don't all have to be time consuming cases. You can teach classes on given subjects, give presentations, do Ask-A-Lawyers. There are also different types of cases. Obviously there are always family law or CAP cases, but there are also criminal record sealing cases, tax controversies, bankruptcies, small claims for getting security deposits back, name changes for transgender people, wills and POAs (as somebody upthread mentioned, the AG is pushing for wills and POAs for service members in Nevada), immigration, and consumer cases. Or even sitting on the boards for non-profits, or training non-profits in HR law or other business issues.
    Not everybody can, or wants to, take every kind of case, and that's okay. But if you're really interested there should be something that's the right fit for you.
    I also think taking a case that walks through your door for free and calling that pro bono is a mistake. Better to go through LASCN, NLS, or the AG's office so the case is pre-screened and there's a better idea ahead of time of what it entails.

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    1. Thank you, Babs Buckley.

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    2. Lol, my exact thought after the first six words of that comment

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    3. Babs Buckley, I have to borrow that. Sounds like Bugs Bunny.

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    4. I resent that Babs, with her big government subsidized budget, is trying to run the whole pro bono show. As long as she is in charge, I will stick to Ask a Lawyer or helping with Moot Court or Mock Trial

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    5. 2:22 here. If I were Barbara I would have been badgering you all about taking an easy family law case which would then turn into a contested case involving drug use, DV, and molestation accusations, with a client who calls 7 times a day, and a pro se OP who will file 500 frivolous motions and then appeal up to the Supreme court when they lose.

      I'm just saying there are alternatives.

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    6. There are plenty of organizations from which to accept pro bono cases. It doesn't have to be the Babs Buckley show, as long with you're okay with not seeing yourself featured in an awkward video played at the Rio in December.

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  16. Stop #probonoshaming

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  17. I do pro bono by offering free consultations and providing free advice to clients. I also send them forms for things like divorces, small claims, or landlord tenant stuff that they can do on their own. Other than that, I'm a TIP Mentor, so I consider that pro bono as well since I'm volunteering my time.

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  18. I do more than I would like, does that make sense? Every pro bono case explodes into a giant time suck because clients have no financial incentive to settle. You so rarely even get a "thank you" but I keep going back because I really do believe in access to justice. I think more good is done via ask a lawyer than taking cases because the cases get out of hand.

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    1. Exactly! A client getting legal work for free has zero incentive to agree to a reasonable settlement, which ends up being a disaster for the attorney who was willing to help.

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    2. Here's the incentive: "Listen, Mr./Ms. So-and-So, it's time to cut-bait. I am telling you this not because I'm not getting paid for this work, but because I am a smart attorney and I know what I'm doing. If you don't agree to follow my sound legal advice, then I can almost guarantee you that you won't be able to replace me at this hourly rate. Thank-you so much for being so cooperative, and have a nice day."

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    3. 6:24 that strategy doesn't work if you're an associate at a firm that won't allow you to dump the abusive pro bono client.

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    4. 7:23, what, your firm wouldn't prefer you spend 99.99% of your conscious hours billing clients who actually pay? Just tell your partners that you would rather make them $1,000+ more a day than babysit high-maintenance (not to mention ungrateful) PB clients. That ought to do it. I mean, come on, that Maserati ain't gonna pay for itself now...

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  19. I have clients write off/down time that I legitimately spent working on their crap files. Thus, I do pro bono work already, and I do not care about getting recognized for it.

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    1. Yeah that is not pro bono in theory or in fact. "Pro Bono" means for the good and is short for "pro bono publico", for the public good. What you did is bad account management.

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  20. Once LACSN and a local judge came to our office to talk about how great CAP cases are. I was going to miss the meeting because I was already working miserable hours, but the partners came around and told everyone that attendance was mandatory. The judge started by talking up CAP cases. Then, with the judge looking on, LACSN assigned everyone in the room a case, without first asking if we were interested or if we had time to take one. Inevitably, the partners that forced us to come found that they were too busy for their CAP cases, so their cases were reassigned to us already overworked associates. And that's the story about how I learned why big firms show so well at the annual LACSN meeting, I hope you liked it.

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    1. Thank you for sharing.

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    2. Snell & Wilmer??

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    3. Ha, not surprising.

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  21. Babs Buckley sucks.

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  22. I don't mind doing some pro bono work, but I do agree with some of the posters above. In my experience, the less a client pays you, the less they appreciate your time. No good deed goes unpunished. I also don't like dealing with LACSN. They don't screen their cases well at all. As long as the client meets their income requirements, they sign them up. I've gotten stuck with some horrible people who are just using the system to harass their ex and screw up their kids. And the CAP program isn't much better - none of the kids I've represented wanted or needed an attorney. Total waste of time. And then I get the non-stop harassing calls from LACSN until I turn in my hours. No thanks. I'd rather spend my time doing something that's actually useful.

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