Even though being a young lawyer can be really stressful at times, I think most of us would probably still consider ourselves lucky to be in the position we’re in and fortunate that we can give back. Last weekend I did some volunteering for an organization I really love: Pets on Wheels. I felt like I was really making a difference and it got me thinking that I need to step up my volunteering on the legal side.
It’s important to me to take time to give back, even though it might not always be easy. It’s sometimes tough to find the extra time. It can also be intimidating.
I’ve done just a bit of pro bono work and, even though I was trained thoroughly on all of the materials, I was still very worried because I didn’t have any first-hand experience to rely upon. I would love to take on more pro bono work involving areas of law that I am passionate about but I don’t have the experience to feel comfortable enough. I always have that lingering fear that I might make a mistake and make the client’s problem worse.
Michael Siri wrote recently about how pro bono work can be a great opportunity for attorneys to gain experience and I agree with that. What I really need to do is to focus my interest on how I am going to give back and then spend the time fully immersing myself to learn that area of law. That way I will not be (as) scared about taking on more cases.
I always figured that my pro bono work as an attorney would be a natural offshoot of the cases and area of law I already practiced in. But until I really find my niche and get on my way to becoming an expert, I will have to invest the extra time to learn something on my own time. Who knows? Maybe this will help set me on my career path.
How do you like to give back? Does your firm have any sort of program that encourages attorneys to take on pro bono cases or to build their pro bono hours?