Who knows what exactly it is, but we can all agree that there is a particular type of magic in the air during the holidays. People gain patience, offer compassion, and smiles can be seen in all directions. So naturally, the holidays are a time when people want to give back to their community and to those who are less fortunate.
The feeling of giving back is so widespread that many states have created different coalitions, programs, and opportunities for attorneys to give back through pro-bono work. For example, just last December, over 50 lawyers came together to learn about becoming pro bono volunteers in Baltimore at the American Bar Association’s Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono. Equipping attorneys of different types of law with cultural competency training on youth issues, such as trauma, homelessness, and more, the Homeless Youth Initiative (HYI) provides ongoing support to lawyer-client relationships in efforts of creating sustainable change.
In Chicago, the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) coordinates several volunteer programs for lawyers to give back to the community and gain pro bono experience. Current programs include the Dear Santa Letter Campaign, Law Week, Wills for Heroes, Serving Our Seniors, and more.
The DC Pro Bono Center has a volunteer interest form where attorneys can sign up to receive monthly emails announcing pro bono training and opportunities in D.C. The website also offers pro bono programs for individuals, firms, non-bar members, and more.
The Massachusetts Bar Association boasts the importance of volunteering to Massachusetts attorneys. On the MassBar website, there are currently 15 programs listed for attorneys to give back and increase connections within the attorney volunteer community. MassProBono.org is another website designed to help lawyers efficiently find pro bono work that fits their schedule.
The avenues for giving back are endless. Outside of enrolling in state and company programs, here are a few more ways to get involved and share the holiday spirit:
- Sponsor a cause. This could mean donating money or time to a foundation or charity or recruiting the whole firm to do some meaningful work for a worthwhile cause.
- Get On Board. A great way to give back to the community is by volunteering to serve as the legal professional for a non-profit organization. It is a fundamental role that every nonprofit need.
- Immigrants. Nothing reminds you of the importance of family like the holidays. Use those fuzzy-good feelings to help get a detained immigrant home to their family. The American Immigrant Lawyers Association is seeking volunteers to represent undocumented citizens in immigration court.