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The Good Lawyers
When you think of a lawyer, sometimes we get an image of high powered men in flashy suits charging $300 an hour to talk legal talk that nobody understands but other lawyers. And when we get those media images of lawyers in our heads, the idea of a lawyer who wants to use his or her specialized talent with the law and that extensive education they all have to have to practice law for community service work seems almost ridiculous. It’s a good idea in all aspects of life not to let television or movie images of anyone affect reality very much. The truth is there are thousands of lawyers who went into law for other reasons than to make money and run for governor. In every city and town in the country, there are lawyers who work for very little to defend people who need help with the legal system try to get a fair shake in a system that seems to reward the wealthy and the influential. Most of us know at least a few lawyers.
To be sure, there seems to be a lot of them. But if you think about your friends who are lawyers, many have them have a strong sense of community service and a desire to use the privilege and education that has been given to them to benefit society. It is a tradition that goes back for centuries in the legal profession. A lawyer by definition is one who stands between the people and the government to try to help those who have been falsely accused or need an advocate to be treated fairly. That attitude of responsibility to the community is reflected in the values of the Bar Association of America.
The Bar Association holds its members to a high standard of public responsibility and accountability. And part of that sense of responsibility is using their talents and abilities as part of their community service. So part of a lawyer’s commitment includes dedicated a certain amount of hours to the community to be offered as free legal assistance to those who cannot afford a lawyer otherwise. Now to be fair, this is required by the American Bar Association of all lawyers on a state by state basis. An average of 50 hours a year is required for a lawyer to continue to be a member of the Bar in good standing. This 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 wants to hang out their shingle as a lawyer that being in service to the community is important and encouraged from the highest levels of the legal profession. The attitudes of public responsibility don’t just end at the door of the Bar Association building. Many lawyers give far more than their minimum requirements in free legal service to the community. In every city and town in this country, you can find lawyers working side by side with doctors, dentists, construction people and professionals of every description to try and help out people who don’t have a lot to give back but just need that helping hand.
So let’s lay aside our prejudices about lawyers that we pick up from too many movies and television shows that only show the bad ones. When we do that we will realize that lawyers are good neighbors, good family men and woman and really do care about giving back to the community just like you and I do. Those are truly the good lawyers. PPPPP 619 .
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