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We love lawyer jokes, right? How is this one? What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture? The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.
Even better: My lawyer didn't want to marry his wife for her money. But there was no other way to get it.
Alas, these jokes may never go away and let's be honest; we kind of enjoy them from time-to-time. However, not all lawyers are greedy. The Taproot Foundation has developed a social responsibility ranking system for office professionals. You'll never guess which profession is number one.
The legal profession has made first place in the rankings for most socially responsible profession. Our profession on average donates over 25 pro bono hours per year. So, for a moment, forget the nasty lawyer jokes. We, as lawyers, should be very proud to be a part of this profession so dedicated to community service and social justice.
There are endless lawyer jokes and far worse. Lawyers weren't always the butt of many jokes though. Even before the Middle Ages, we used to be considered a noble bunch with the public good in mind and very well respected. Originally, we were all pro bono attorneys.
The American Bar Association and state bar associations across the country wish to continue the tradition. Many promote or even demand pro bono work as part of practice. This is a great gift that society needs from us. It not only helps our communities, but it also strengthens our careers and skills.
The New York bar, for instance, now requires attorneys to complete 50 hours of pro bono work to serve needy clients or government. New Jersey and other state bars are proposing similar requirements for its bar members as well.
If you are an attorney looking to become to help within this top-ranking socially responsible profession, there are numerous opportunities and resources out there to join a cause. For example, try probono.net, a resource-laden website dedicated to pro bono attorneys serving low-income or disadvantaged clients. You will find useful information on non-profit organizations providing legal services in your area, related news, and other resources for all of your pro bono needs.
There is no better time than the present. Get out there, give back, and help keep our profession #1!