Last month, lawyers across America participated in a national celebration of pro bono service. The annual event is an opportunity to reflect on the legal profession’s responsibility to provide access to justice for all.
The Preamble of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct makes clear that a lawyer’s obligation extends beyond serving as a client’s representative and an officer of the legal system. As public citizens, lawyers “should seek improvement of the law, access to the legal system, the administration of justice and the quality of service rendered by the legal profession.”
Providing access to quality legal services isn’t only vital for the clients represented in daily practice and through pro bono work. Doing good improves well-being. Research shows that helping others lowers stress levels and improves self-esteem. When lawyers feel happier, they are better able to listen to clients and provide superior counsel that’s responsive to their needs.
Here’s a look at recent articles that reflect on the legal profession’s responsibility to administer quality justice for all each day.
Honoring Pro Bono
- 2018 Pro Bono Week Opportunities in Illinois: Pro Bono Week is filled with volunteer opportunities, CLE programs, and more. Mark your calendar for these opportunities next year. What could you do to serve legal aid organizations year-round?
- The Skinny on the New Online Illinois Pro Bono Opportunity Guide: Last month, The Chicago Bar Foundation and the legal tech platform Paladin launched a new online Illinois Pro Bono Opportunity Guide. The guide makes it easy to identify and connect with pro bono opportunities from phones or tablets. Have you tried it out?
- A Thank You to Legal Aid Lawyers: There is plenty out there urging lawyers to provide periodic pro bono services. However, we frequently forget to recognize lawyers who provide legal aid services 365 days a year. A “thank you!” is certainly in order.
Improving Administration of Justice
- Utah is on the forefront of addressing access to justice. Not only does the state plan to license paralegals to practice law in limited circumstances (Utah to Become Second State to License Paralegals to Practice Law), it also recently launched the nation’s first online dispute resolution pilot program (From Courtroom to Computer: Utah Initiates Online Dispute Resolution Pilot). How will this impact the industry?
- Legal Trends Report Emphasizes Client Satisfaction: Clio’s Legal Trends Report reveals a significant divide between lawyers’ perceptions of client expectations and clients’ actual expectations. How do you use data to improve your practice?
Civility in the Workplace
- Workplace Civility: Leaders Can Make a Difference: Employees are craving leaders who set the tone for a civil workplace. Organizational leaders who fail to act could adversely impact the bottom line. Not to mention the personal lives of employees. Could you do more to combat workplace incivility?
- Cara Houck: Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC: In our Lawyer Spotlight, Cara Houck says mutual respect will increase civility in her commercial litigation work: “In my mind, opposing counsel is not your adversary. They are like you, passionately advocating for their client.” Should you adjust your view of opposing counsel?
What else could lawyers do to administer quality justice for all each day? Please share your thoughts below.