Samara wrote:Thanks for the response! This is very helpful. I talked to Dany and beezy on chat last night about this too. Beezy said that someone was even given a budget for PI at their biglaw firm. I imagine that's pretty rare, but it sounds like there are some firms that are more pro bono-focused than others. I think having the opportunity to do more than a nominal amount of pro bono work at a firm would be a good fit for me.
How do firms typically treat you pro bono work? I know that you have a target amount of hours and that a certain number of pro bono hours can count towards that. But say you're on track to hit the billable hours requirement and you're on track to quickly use up your countable pro bono hours. Can you use the firm's resources to pursue extra pro bono work or is it something you have to do completely on your own? Also, do they treat different kinds of pro bono work differently? My biggest interest doesn't fall under one of the bleeding heart categories (though I'd like to assist those causes in some way), so would firms be pressuring me towards a certain type of pro bono?
This is going to be essentially entirely dependent on the firm's policies. You are right that firms who allow for PI billing will give you a certain number of hours that you can bill for pro bono work.
One thing, although it depends on the firm, I would not plan on hitting billable hours "early" or having lots of extra work time to devote to something else. For one thing, going past the minimum billables might be essentially be required to stay with the firm, get on partner track, or get a bigger bonu$.
But again, this is something that is too specific to really understand without talking to someone who knows about the specific firm.