Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Never have so many owed so much to so few lawyers."

In case you missed it, here is the American Lawyer article about pro bono lawyers. I find big firm Holland & Hart's attitude towards "billable hours credit" to be refreshing:
Not every firm's pro bono efforts need to be redeemed. Some never seem to falter. Holland & Hart is a 270-lawyer firm headquartered in Denver and secure on The Am Law 200 ["Happy Campers," August 2001]. It ranks fifth on our pro bono scorecard and first in participation rate, with 85 percent of its lawyers performing 20 or more hours of pro bono work. For David Broadbent, a real estate partner based in Salt Lake City who chairs the firm's pro bono committee, the firm's success starts at orientation for the new lawyers. "I explain to them why we do the work. And why they should do it. We try to tell them how to find the matters, how to establish contacts in the community," he says. "We tell them that we expect them to do the work. This is part of our values as a firm. This is who we are." Managing partner Ed Flitton says he wishes he had a magic formula for others to follow. He attributes Holland's record to the firm's sense of what it is and what it wants to be. He says that when the management committee sees a lawyer going more than one year without pro bono work, they might "send a message of encouragement." They don't even give billable credit. "When the people beside you are doing it, you tend to want to also," he says. "It's a source of pride for us."


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