Fantastic Rant...

Another Public Defender Blog on pro bono awards:

"They sicken me. I'm sorry, but they do. When I pick up a copy of the latest Law Tribune or similar legal publication and see High Partner of Major Law Firm felicitated for taking precious time out of his/her busy busy schedule to fight for an innocent man, for free no less, I want to vomit. "

"Why do we do this? Why do we give out awards to people who make ungodly amounts of money, doing mostly boring work anyway, for some "charity" work that they have done, mostly only to comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct."

"No one ever gives awards to the Legal Aid lawyer, or the countless hard-working public defenders. So what is it about the big corporate attorney who provides pro bono representation that is so special? I'm not seeking recognition, or awards, or even a pat on the back. I do what I do, at serious financial loss, because I love my job. I love representing the indigent and I won't stop doing it."

"It is repugnant, however, for our profession to honor someone who didn't make that decision If you want to give pro bono awards, they should be given every year to every single public interest lawyer in the state. Not the High Partner."

"Thanks a lot, big lawyer guy - the indigent population was shit out of luck before you decided to come along."

So true. The reason, of course is that all the other partners pony up a lot of cash to see their friends honored. The sad thing is, not much of that cash ever goes to front line criminal defense work.


Anonymous said...

oy, that makes me ill, too. my first summer, i worked at this silly big firm and they gave their pro bono award to this girl who helped this guy KEEP HIS HOUSE, and i was like, "uh, he had a HOUSE?"

she billed like 2% of her hours to that project and was the "most dedicated to pro bono" in the whole 900 lawyer firm.

i'm sure she deserved the stinking award, but the whole situation is pathetic.

Indefensible said...

I know. It is unbelievable.
And what's worse is they'll almost never work on the tough stuff-the front line indigent criminal defense work. It's always, civil stuff, 'impact litigation' or occasionally death penalty or exoneration work.

Oh please. Better just to donate 10 percent of your obscene salary--a PD's office can buy themselves another lawyer for that.

Anonymous said...

Two quotations came to mind as I read "Fantastic Rant": "No good deed goes unpunished" and "The mark of an immature man is that he wants to die nobly for cause, while the mark of a mature man is he wants to live humbly for one"

Your are all very fortunate to have a passion, dedication and fire in the belly for social justice. We need you guys and your work, while not lauded publicly or rewarded monetarily, is of the utmost value to the voice of the individuals you represent.

Keep doing what you do.