When you think of an attorney, occasionally we get an image of high powered men in flashy suits charging $300 an hour to discuss legal talk that nobody understands but other lawyers. And when we get those media images of attorneys in our heads, the notion of an attorney who desires to use his or her specialized gift with that extensive schooling they all have to have to practice law and the law seems almost absurd.
It’s a great notion in all aspects of life not to let reality is affected by television or movie images of anyone quite definitely. The truth is there are thousands of attorneys who went into law for other motives than to generate profits and run for governor. In town and every city in the nation, you can find attorneys working for very small to defend those who want help with the legal system try and get a fair shake in a system that appears to reward the wealthy and the influential.
Most of us know at least a couple of attorneys. There is apparently lots of them, to be sure. But if you think about your friends who are attorneys, many have them have a powerful sense of community service and a want to use the privilege and instruction that’s been granted to them to benefit society. It truly is a custom that goes back for centuries in the legal profession. A lawyer by definition is one who stands between the folks and the government to try and help those who have been falsely accused or need an advocate to be treated fairly.
That attitude of obligation to the community is reflected in the values of the Bar Association of America. Its members are held by the Bar Association to some high standard of liability and public responsibility. And part of that sense of responsibility is using their talents and skills as part of their community service. So part of a lawyer’s commitment comprises dedicated a certain amount of hours to be offered to individuals who cannot afford a lawyer otherwise as free legal assistance.
Now to be fair, this is required by the American Bar Association of lawyers on a state by state basis. A mean of 50 hours a year is required for legal counsel to continue to be a member of the Bar in good standing. This really is called “Pro Bono Publico” work (usually 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 desires to hang out their shingle as a lawyer that being in service to the community is important and supported in the greatest amounts of the legal profession.
The attitudes of public obligation do’t just end at the door of the Bar Association building. Many attorneys give far more than their minimum conditions in free legal service . In every city and town in this state, it is possible to find lawyers working side by side with professionals and physicians, dentists, construction people of every description to try to help out people who do’t have a lot to give back but only need that helping hand.
Thus let’s lay aside our biases about lawyers that we pick up from too many films and television shows that just show the ones that are bad. When we do that we’ll recognize that attorneys really do and are good neighbors, good family men and girl care about giving back to the community just like I and you do. Those are actually the lawyers that are good.