Reap the Collateral Benefits
Performing pro bono legal work is good for the community—and some would say it is good for the soul. We learned that it is very good for business, as well.
- Pro bono is good for client relations.
Several firms told us that corporate clients had been impressed by the firm’s pro bono work. When there is competition among high-quality law firms for business, having an active pro bono program can tip the scales in a firm’s favor. One firm reported that when a large, nationwide corporation learned that the firm was working with the same national nonprofit as the corporation, the company began to send more work the firm’s way.
- A strong pro bono program is a potent recruiting tool.
A number of top-flight firms told us that their pro bono program makes them very attractive to new lawyers, including those coming out of prestigious clerkships. Law firms explained that bright, talented new lawyers are very interested in working on cutting-edge legal issues, or in having the chance to work directly with clients and appear in court early in their careers.
- A diverse pro bono program is a fertile training and skill-building ground.
We spoke with firms ranging in size from 25 lawyers to those with over 250 attorneys. All of them echoed that pro bono cases can help develop critical lawyering skills in newer attorneys. Several reported that their partners were actively involved in pro bono legal work in part to maintain their courtroom skills, as the larger civil matters they handled for paying clients brought them into court with far less frequency.