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IF YOU’RE GOING TO FORCE PRO BONO, DON’T MAKE IT EQUITABLE

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For various reasons, I do not endorse mandatory pro bono requirements, even as I, personally, have made a point of taking on several pro bono matters each year during my sixteen years of practice. I just don’t think the bar can force attorneys to undertake what is a personal moral obligation. But to the extent that bars persist in mandating pro bono, at a minimum, the requirements should not unduly burden solos – or disparately ease the burden on large firms. The Mississippi proposed pro bono requirement described here in Mississippi high court proposes rule changes on legal services to poor , AP (11/6/04) doesn’t meet that criteria by allowing law firms to collectively satisfy the pro bono obligations of their members. Solos can’t delegate their pro bono obligation to other lawyers, so why should biglaw attorneys have that ability?

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