20 Jul 2024 - by A4ID

Is pro bono ‘at the heart of being a lawyer’?

Last month we celebrated the UK’s National Pro Bono Week, a good time to reflect on the importance of pro bono in the life of a lawyer.

It’s often said that, ‘Pro bono is at the heart of being a lawyer’.

This has been said by very intelligent people who have thought a lot about the issue but, for me, that sentence does not capture why we do pro bono.

For I think that pro bono is at the heart of being a lawyer only to the extent that it’s at the heart of being a person.

If you look out at the world and you see people in need and you want to use your skills to meet that need, then that is a reflection of who you are as a person, not who you are as a lawyer.

However, do I think it’s desirable that lawyers are among the moral leaders of our world?

Certainly. Especially because of the role they play as gatekeepers to the institutions and processes of justice. And to that extent, I would like to see pro bono at the heart of every person who is a lawyer.

Elisabeth Baraka is A4ID’s Projects Officer and manages our pro bono broker service.