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Changing your life with pro bono work

I have been suffering through an identity/lifestyle crisis as of late. As I make my declaration in this overly dramatic fashion, I am completely aware that there are so many people out there in the world who have really important things to worry about compared to me. I have a good job, good home, great family and friends and two of the best dogs ever to keep me company through everything. However, I feel like I can do much better in all of those spheres in my life. I believe you have to right yourself in order to help others effectively, but I did want to put a disclaimer out there just in case people wanted to leave comments about my ungrateful attitude. I read earlier this week about two law firms named Pro Bono Firms of 2011 by Law360. I was impressed by both firm's objectives of making pro bono practice equal to all other practice groups in their offices. While my firm offers pro bono opportunities to its attorneys, they are not as widespread. Reading about all of these lawyers' pro bono work made me think: What have I done in the last year since entering the practice of law? I think I'm having a junior associate "I have been practicing for one year, but I still feel like I have accomplished nothing in my life" crisis. I feel stressed all the time for no reason. A sedentary workday encourages my body to add weight despite the fact my work schedule has not been overly chaotic. I face each day's end feeling too tired to exercise. After each week starts up again, I try to check off all the productive tasks I accomplished — only to be left with nothing outstanding that I have done.

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  1. Attorneys in private practice do not necessarily need to step outside their comfort zone to contribute pro bono services. Many nonprofits need attorneys to provide transactional legal services, advice on incorporating and writing bylaws, and help reviewing contracts and policies. Other cases involve learning new areas and skills, such as developing client relationship skills or litigation skills by representing a community group in an administrative hearing before the Baltimore City Municipal Zoning and Appeals Board or Baltimore City Liquor License Board. Many small nonprofits start out being run by volunteers, so meetings often take place after work hours and on weekends. This provides some flexibility in scheduling pro bono hours. To find out more about pro bono opportunities with community associations and nonprofit organizations throughout Maryland, register online here: http://communitylaw.org/volunteer/attorney-registration-form/

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