In presentations I make to local bar associations around the state, I often urge the members in attendance to reflect on their role as mentor and guardian—mentor of new or inexperienced lawyers and guardian of the keys to the courthouse. That obligation goes beyond seeing that new lawyers are technically prepared for their work. Our profession has very specific and dearly-held values about professionalism and pro bono service, and it is these values that must also be preserved and shared with succeeding generations of lawyers, including lawyers who are committed to public interest work.
Consider co-counseling on a pro bono basis with new or inexperienced public interest lawyers as a way to pass along the skills and professional values you have developed.
Public interest programs lack training resources, yet the programs’ attorneys need nurturing. At times, public interest lawyers are insulated, yet need to seek networking and professional growth opportunities.
Public interest lawyers can also offer you very valuable insights into the law as it affects low-income families and marginalized populations here in Georgia. They also practice some very specialized areas of the law that you may never had the chance to learn.
We need strong and visible professionalism and pro bono leaders in every generation of lawyers. Set aside some time now to reflect on the skills you have to offer and the message you would like to share with a public interest lawyer and then make a call to set up a lunch date with a lawyer. To locate and contact a public interest program in Georgia, go to http://www.georgiaadvocates.org/oppsguide.