Anonymous User wrote: Anonymous User wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Lit associate(s):
How is the pro bono culture? Is taking on pro bono work encouraged/discouraged/ignored? Do you feel like you have enough time to put extra hours in on pro bono?
Pro bono is definitely encouraged and is seen as the best way to develop skills you won't have the opportunity to develop as junior working on cases for paid clients. I did quite a bit of pro bono and came away with several court appearances, a deposition, and a bunch of motions drafted. You are, of course, expected to balance it with your other work which takes priority.
My only gripe about the pro bono is the selection. There's a line for things like criminal appeals which some people have been waiting on for years. It's also hard to get a specific type of work when you actually have the availability. Often you'll check in the pro bono coordinator when you are in a lull but know that your cases will be coming back, and have to take what is available at that time. Then they'll reach out to you later when you are busy again telling you that a case matching your interests came in. There's also a back channel for pro bono work which I think is a better way to get it. Some partners/counsel routinely get Supreme Court pro bono amicus work or other kinds of matters, and they tend to pull on associates that they have worked with.
That actually kind of blows. I mean I guess you can probably get to the USAO just by being at DPW, but I'd like at least some trial experience before leaving biglaw as a litigator. But I guess DPW and other similar firms have so much work that they really don't want their associates taking on pro bono cases with huge time commitments.
What I meant was that you might not get the precise type of matter that you want. For instance, criminal opportunities are pretty limited and lots of people want them. Trial opportunities are not at all limited if you are flexible, but you can't control whether the case goes to trial when you choose to get involved. You can get on larger teams that are handling civil rights related actions, like prisoner cases, which usually have an array of pretrial work and sometimes go to trial. You can also handle things like family court cases solo, with a partner available to provide input, which often provide hearings and trials.
I was not implying that the firm does not want you to take on cases with large time commitments, and in fact most of the pro bono matters ebb and flow over a long period of time. I was trying to convey that most people reach out for pro bono opportunities when their other cases are in a lull and you have some time to burn, and because those windows are small, you are likely to take whatever happens to be available at that time.