Engaging in volunteer opportunities and pro bono activities has really helped shape my career. I have learned the answers to substantive law questions and issues while researching pro bono problems. Often, in my practice areas, the less money a client has, the more problems they have. Some simple issues that we may take for granted, like changing the name on a deed, can transform the life of a pro bono client. Thus, it’s also a very rewarding part of my practice. In addition, some of the family members of my pro bono clients have gone on to become paying clients of mine, which is a nice bonus!
Outside of pro bono legal work, there are also many opportunities to give back to the community as a professional.
Recently, I spoke at a workshop for a local community college, focusing on adult education and career paths in general. The attendees were mostly working parents struggling to overcome obstacles while they attended classes at night. They had some great questions and the panel discussed the importance of “grit” and the ability to not allow negative issues or consequences stop you from reaching a goal. It was very inspiring to me to see the grit the attendees had! I would encourage you to be creative – reach out to some local entities and give them some of your time. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Luckily, many law firms allow and even encourage young associates to engage in pro bono and volunteer opportunities. I hope that all of our readers consider doing so. I’ve made some incredible connections (who also refer paying clients!) and have learned to develop more depth in my practice areas.
Finally, I would like to include a shameless plug for an event supporting a volunteer organization that is near and dear to my heart: Cabaret and Cabernet benefiting Baltimore City Senior Legal Services. Tickets are still available.
Do any of our readers have any volunteerism or pro bono success stories they would like to share?
Richard Adams is an associate with Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore.