This book explores the history, obligations, challenges, and rewards of pro bono legal practice. Its objective is to inspire and assist law students and lawyers to fulfill the profession’s duty to work for the benefit of all people in our society so that no potential client or worthy legal cause is left behind. The book uniquely links pro bono practice to the rules of professional ethics that govern the conduct of a lawyer who provides free or low-cost services to individuals and organizations of limited means. The text also examines practical challenges pro bono representation raises. The book’s exploration of these ethical and practical issues will enrich law students’ and lawyers’ preparation for, and participation in, pro bono work.
Dramatically highlighting these core aspects of pro bono practice, the book presents excerpts from filmed interviews with U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Many of these issues faced lawyer Stevens in the historic 1969 pro bono case that first brought him into the public spotlight and led to his 35 years of service on the Court. Additionally, in chapters illuminating the purposes, history, varieties, benefits, challenges, and distinctive ethical aspects of pro bono practice, the authors offer a range of instructive, concrete examples, both actual and hypothetical. Through this unique text, the authors hope to help future and current lawyers make ethically sound choices that will enable them to serve pro bono clients, and the profession’s social responsibility, honorably and effectively.