Jo Why Lee

London - United Kingdom

    Jeffrey Phillips and 4 Reasons Lawyers Should Take A Pro Bono Case at Some Point

    November 24, 2016

    Do you remember why you decided to study law? For most people, it was to make a difference, to impact the world in their own way. As a lawyer, your job can provide this- but when you take up a pro bono case, or an altruistic one, you’ll discover how more effective that impact can be.

    Speaking with Jeffrey Phillips, Senior Counsel at the Australian Bar Association and a seasoned lawyer, I was able to gather information on how much a pro bono case can do for a lawyer, especially one at the formative stage of their career.

    Jeffrey Phillips who specialises in several aspects of law from industrial relations to employment and fair work, has participated in pro bono cases and says it’s not as bad as many lawyers make it out to be. “Far from it, taking a pro bono case makes you experience a personal fulfilment in your job than many other cases would,” he said.

    Here are some major pointers on the benefits of a pro bono case:-

    Unlimited opportunities

    While some lawyers are in their dream job and probably working on cases they are passionate about, a good many of them are still dissatisfied. A pro bono case offers you so many opportunities to work in cases you may not normally come across at your firm.

    You are far more likely to find something that legitimately drives you, or a cause worth fighting for. You never know where your interests lie until you take up a pro bono case or a genuinely charitable one. Jeffrey Phillips believes many lawyers have found their purpose by working on similar cases.

    Help People who really need it

    The primary aim of pro bono work is to help those who are in dire need of help with something truly important to them. These are often very legitimate cases for people with no resources to get it themselves. If they don’t receive legal assistance from a lawyer, who else will help them?

    As lawyers, we are fortunate to be in a position where we can make our voices heard and impact felt. Where there are obstacles, lawyers can help overcome them. But there are people struggling to win small battles every day, and we are among the few who can help the find justice, even if they have nothing to offer but their gratitude.

    Personal happiness

    Like participating in any altruistic endeavour, pro bono work can be very rewarding. Research has proven that many lawyers feel more contented when they help other people. As social beings, we a biologically engineered towards establishing social connections and networks. Pro bono works allows us the opportunity to build partnerships and make connections throughout our career journey.

    According to Senior Counsel Phillips, another reason we fill a deep sense of fulfilment in pro bono cases is because within ourselves, we know we are doing the right thing. We afford ourselves the chance to contribute selflessly in a world that’s hard enough.

    Get New Experience

    In pro bono work, you have a good opportunity to learn new things. If you have been practicing for some time, it presents an opportunity to work on something different. Some lawyers find their true calling via pro bono work. For younger lawyers, you gain experience and get valuable experience appearing in real court and defending real clients.

    It also gives lawyers the opportunity to establish partnerships and client relationships which often makes way for referrals and bigger cases.

    Pro bono work is just as important and like they say, every attorney should take up one (or more) at some point in their career.

    Read Jo's other blog entries >

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