Bradley attorney Tiffany Graves was quoted in Law360 on the importance of pro bono work.
“It absolutely matters to this generation, coming out of law school,” said Graves.
Graves recalls a young woman recently starting off her job interview by making clear pro bono was important to her.
“What I want to hear from you is: What sort of opportunities can I expect?” the candidate asked. “Does your firm truly support attorneys who do pro bono or is it lip service? And in what ways does the firm incentivize pro bono?”
Graves said the candidate, a “bright, top-of-her-class” type, is the face of a new generation of aspiring lawyers who think of pro bono as a crucial component of their ideal workplace.
That is in part the product of education, Graves explained. Law schools have integrated pro bono work into the curriculum, and some law school require pro bono hours before graduation.
“One of the chief complaints sometimes is that law students come out, and they’re not ready to hit the ground running, they’re not ready to practice,” she said. “So schools are investing more in legal clinical programs that give them that practice experience. It also exposes them to people who can’t afford lawyers.”
When vying for jobs, some students want to know whether they will be given space to continue doing pro bono work and collect billable hour credits.
“At the end of the day, [law students] want to be at firms that really do respect and support them in doing pro bono,” Graves said, “I can’t tell you how many of those folks – and each year I see more and more of them – reached out to me to say ‘pro bono [is] important to me.’”
Law firms that have a designated pro bono counsel might have an easier time projecting the image of environment that supports and encourages that kind of practice.
Graves said those firms abound in the Northeast, but there aren’t as many in the South.
The complete article, “Why Pro Bono Can Be A Game-Changer in Recruiting,” first appeared in Law360 on November 1, 2021.