Taking time to volunteer as a lawyer this Love Your Lawyer Day
|How to volunteer on Love Your Lawyer Day|
|Why you should volunteer on Love Your Lawyer Day|
|Celebrate Love Your Lawyer Day with FindLaw|
“Time is love above all else,” newspaper columnist Sydney Harris once wrote. “It is the most precious commodity in the world, and should be lavished on those we care most about.” His work was popular from the 1950s to the 1970s, but that quote rings just as true today as when he wrote it, and it is especially worth thinking about as we approach Love Your Lawyer Day.
Love Your Lawyer Day, which is celebrated on the first Friday in November, is an occasion to appreciate all of the wonderful contributions lawyers make to our society — and for us lawyers to give back, too. One way for attorneys to embrace the spirit of Love Your Lawyer Day is by volunteering their time and skill to support causes that make a positive impact on their communities.
How to volunteer on Love Your Lawyer Day
Even if you agree that volunteering is a worthwhile endeavor, it can be hard to find the right opportunity. Here are five suggestions for volunteer opportunities that are worth exploring on Love Your Lawyer Day:
1. Perform pro bono legal work.
With their education, training and special skill set, lawyers are uniquely positioned to help in ways that others cannot. Furthermore, the American Bar Association recommends that each licensed attorney provide 50 hours of no-cost legal services per year. When you perform pro bono work, you are aiding in the betterment of society and fulfilling a professional duty.
2. Participate in community improvement.
Legal services aren’t the only kind of volunteer work communities need. Participating in something that anyone can do, like a neighborhood clean-up, food drive or beautification project is very worthwhile. For small law firms, it can be a great opportunity to involve professionals who aren’t lawyers and make volunteering a team-building exercise.
3. Join or start a mentorship program.
Mentorship provides invaluable insight and perspective to someone in an early stage of their career and enhances the profession by transferring knowledge that can be hard to gain from a book or class. The guidance and support that comes from mentoring can have a profound effect on someone whose legal career is just taking off.
4. Pitch in at a legal clinic.
Many local bar associations arrange legal clinics, and some might even organize them in conjunction with Love Your Lawyer Day. Since they’re usually one-and-done, legal clinics are often a lower commitment than providing ongoing pro bono work, and they still address a community need.
5. Join a nonprofit board.
Nonprofit boards provide strategic oversight and governance and help shape the organization’s path forward. Smaller nonprofits in particular welcome the insight and perspectives of professionals from the working world, and there is little doubt a lawyer’s input would be most welcome.
Why you should volunteer on Love Your Lawyer Day
Convincing lawyers — who are notoriously overworked and have to-do lists that stretch from here to eternity — to contribute time might be an uphill climb, but here are five compelling reasons why volunteering is a good thing to do, especially on Love Your Lawyer Day:
1. Volunteering burnishes the profession’s image.
There’s no denying that lawyers get more than their fair share of ribbing (we’ve all heard the lawyer jokes, after all). By volunteering, lawyers give the community visible proof that they do a lot of good, too. Seeing attorneys give their time and talent builds trust and respect. If you can contribute to that, then you are observing Love Your Lawyer Day in the best way possible.
2. Volunteering helps build professional networks.
By volunteering alongside community leaders, nonprofit executives and other volunteers, lawyers can form new connections and open doors to possible opportunities down the line. Volunteering can introduce you to new people and new segments of the community, thus expanding your social circle and enhancing your image.
3. Volunteering helps the wider community.
Lawyers’ skills are greatly needed by nonprofits, individuals and community groups. It’s hard to illustrate the great demand for no-cost legal services, but this Legal Services Corp. statistic cited by Reuters columnist Jenna Greene stands out: “Low-income Americans do not get any or enough legal help for 92% of their substantial civil legal problems.” When lawyers dedicate their time and skill to good causes and organizations, a societal need gets addressed.
4. Volunteering can enhance legal skills.
Volunteering in a legal capacity is a great way to polish up skills that have grown rusty or garner entirely new ones. Brushing up on skills not used during the day-to-day helps lawyers become more well-rounded and positions them to be better able to capture new work that might otherwise have been out of reach.
5. Volunteering promotes personal fulfillment.
Volunteers often report that their work is personally rewarding and helps them feel satisfied. Many lawyers feel burned out, worn down or disrespected, so volunteering is a rare opportunity to counteract those feelings, helping both yourself and your career.
Celebrate Love Your Lawyer Day with FindLaw
One thing to remember about Love Your Lawyer Day is that it’s what you make of it. By volunteering your time and skill, you can give back to the community that supports you, uphold the noble image of the profession, and boost your own sense of self-worth.