Episode 41-Using Pro Bono to Build Your Skills and Enhance Your Career Satisfaction in a Time of Crisis
The need for pro bono legal services for the poor has never been greater. Prior to the pandemic, legal services agencies were only able to meet a portion of the need. For example, due to lack of funding, legal aid programs in Massachusetts were forced to turn away 57 percent of residents who sought help last year.
With the coming recession and millions of families in this country facing food and housing insecurity, this gap will surely widen. Pro bono lawyering will be needed to meet the great demand and fill the gap.
In this episode, I am very pleased to welcome Sue Finegan who is a nationally recognized leader in pro bono representation. When I first spoke to Sue a year ago about being on the show, I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how pro bono can help build your legal skills and increase your career satisfaction. Today I feel it is a moral imperative to encourage practicing lawyers to do their part in proving pro bono legal services.
I invited Sue to talk about the benefits of doing pro bono work and where she thinks the needs will be in the coming year. We also discuss how she has carved out her own unique career path and found great satisfaction in doing well by doing good. I’m thrilled to talk to someone who has dedicated her career to the cause.
Sue is a Member of the law firm Mintz Levin, an AmLaw 100 firm based in Boston. She is a nationally recognized pro bono pioneer with exceptional advocacy skills and a passion for helping underserved populations. As chair of Mintz’s Pro Bono Committee, she leads groundbreaking cases and manages pro bono matters for the firm. She helped to defeat President Trump’s first immigration travel ban in early 2017, engineer the passage of a Massachusetts restraining order law for sexual assault survivors, and create several innovative statewide model pro bono programs in Massachusetts.
Sue was appointed the firm’s first Pro Bono Partner in 2007and manages the firm’s pro bono efforts, consisting of over 300 varied cases annually. She also advises firm clients on developing and sustaining pro bono programs within their in-house legal departments.
As member and current co-chair of the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission for several years, Sue has been a tireless and innovative advocate for low income people in Massachusetts and beyond.
- MassProBono is a good starting place in Massachusetts
- The ABA is compiling a list of students interested in providing pro bono assistance. The registration form can be found here.
- This directory of non-profits seeking pro bono assistance
- PSJD, https://www.psjd.org (designed for students seeking public interest career opportunities, but is a great way to learn about different legal services agencies and can be searched by city, state)
- Pro Bono Net, https://www.probono.net/network/volunteer (offers easy ways to search by region and issue area to allow students to hone in on organizations they want to pursue, and may have specific opportunities for law students posted as well).