Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.
Lawyers have a lot of activities that they can choose to fill their 50 hours: direct representation, teaching legal classes, writing brochures or web site content for a legal aid organization, and so on.
However, while listening to Twitter, I came across Adrianos Facchetti, an attorney, who "Love[d] the idea that law blog fulfills pro bono requirement." An intriguing, yet slightly unsettling, idea.
Mr. Facchetti got several responses:
- I don't like that idea. My public interest lawfirm has to turn down 100s every month - maybe more. VOlunteer with legal aid. - sarahjessicaESQ (
- The people who really need the pro bono work would likely not be able to find your blog. No pro bono credit for blogging. - LegalAdmin (9:46 PM Aug 13th)
- I don't think a law blog can rightfully fulfill pro bono requirement--cannot be legal advice (bar regs) or take place of lawyer. - trabernlaw (
- Absolutely does NOT. Pro bono means for the COMMON good, not that of yr law firm or yr ego. - GoonrGrrl (9:53 PM Aug 13th)
- The problem w/ pro bono is that so many legal marketing consultants say establish a blog to drive business. How prove "good"ness? - BeelJDPhD (
But Mr. Facchetti isn't the only person suggesting that blogging might fulfill this responsibility. Enrico Schaefer, an attorney from Michigan, wrote "Does Blogging Help Fulfill Your Pro Bono Obligation?", where he concludes that "blogging is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to reach the most people, providing information and assistance" and that "it performs an invaluable service to the scores of the people who simply need real information about a legal issue they are facing."
So I definitely agree that it's a good thing that attorneys blog about legal issues and provide legal information to clients and potential clients. But is it pro bono service? Is Kelly Phillps Erb doing pro bono work when she blogs about taxes? What about Bob Ambrogi and Carolyn Elefant when they post at Legal Blog Watch? What if an attorney did a guest post at Making Justice Real, Maryland Legal Aid Newsroom, or TRLA Press Center? I'm not sure. What do you think? - K