The conference was full of programs on best practices for new lawyers, business skills for lawyers, using personality tests and assessments for professional development, social networking and pro bono programs.
They focused on four main reasons why strong pro bono programs should be implemented and maintained in law firms: 1) filling a growing need, 2) attorney satisfaction and retention, 3) skill development and 4) client relations.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Lawyers value real work on real cases the most for professional development, according to a NALP Foundation survey. And pro bono cases can provide this “real work.”
- Lawyers have more control with pro bono cases than on the commercial side.
- Pro bono work also helps with client relations because attorneys gain trial experience, which boosts their creditability with potential clients.
- Real world example of how pro bono can boost client relations: DLA Piper allows in-house counsel at Verizon (its client) to join its pro bono structure. This way, DLA attorneys work side by side with in-house counsel, learn from each other and improve client relations.
- Law firms need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to pro bono programs. Attorneys need to have meaningful billable hour credit for pro bono work.