Occasionally we get an image of high powered guys in flashy suits charging $300 an hour to talk legal discussion that nobody understands but other lawyers when you think of an attorney. And when we get those media pictures of attorneys in our heads, the idea of a lawyer who desires to use his or her ability that is specialized with the law and that extensive instruction they all have to have to practice law appears almost ridiculous.
It’s a great thought in all aspects of life not to let television or movie pictures of anyone influence reality quite definitely. The truth is there are thousands of lawyers who went into law for other reasons than to earn money and run for governor. In town and every city in the country, you can find lawyers working for very small to defend people who desire help with the legal system try and get a fair shake in a process that appears to reward the rich and the influential.
Most of us understand at least a few lawyers. There is apparently lots of them, to be sure. But if you think about your pals who are lawyers, many have them have a powerful awareness of community service and a want to use the privilege and education that has been granted to benefit society. It’s a tradition that goes back for centuries in the legal profession. A lawyer by definition is one who stands between the folks and the government to attempt to help those who have been falsely accused or need an advocate to be treated fairly.
That attitude of duty to the community is represented in the values of the Bar Association of America. Its members are held by the Bar Association into a high standard of answerability and public duty. And part of that sense of responsibility is using capabilities and their talents as part of their community service. So part of an attorney’s obligation comprises dedicated a particular amount of hours to the community to be offered to individuals who cannot afford a lawyer otherwise as free legal assistance.
Now to be fair, this can be required by the American Bar Association of all attorneys on a state by state basis. A mean of 50 hours a year is required for an attorney to continue to be a member of the Bar in good standing. This really is called “Pro Bono Publico” work (normally shorted to Pro Bono) which is Latin for “in the public good”. But rather than see that as something negative, this reflects the values of the Bar Association and it sends a message to anyone who needs to hang out their shingle as an attorney that being in service to the community is significant and supported in the greatest levels of the legal profession.
The approaches of public duty do’t merely end at the door of the Bar Association building. Many attorneys give way more than their minimal requirements in legal service that is free . In every city and town in this nation, you can find lawyers working side by side with professionals and doctors, dentists, building individuals of every description to try to help out folks who do’t have a lot to give back but just need that helping hand.
So let’s lay aside our prejudices about lawyers that we pick up from a lot of films and television shows that merely show the ones that are awful. When we do that we will recognize that attorneys are good neighbors, good family men and woman and really do care about giving back to the community like I and you do. Those are truly the good attorneys.