Pro Bono Work for Practical Skills Training

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I often recommend new attorneys--senior attorneys who are considering a new practice area--use pro bono work as an opportunity to build practical skills, legal knowledge, and professional contacts. Essentially, pro bono work is a great way to build your career while giving back to the community. Barbara Butterworth, counsel for the Litigation Mentor Program at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP and a member of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Committee, discusses how pro bono work benefits both pro bono clients and their lawyers in The Pro Bono Effect: Making Better Lawyers and a Better Community.

And while her article focuses on a specific program and the participant of junior litigators, the principle is just as applicable to experienced attorneys who are considering a new practice area. Pro bono work lets you experience that practice area to be sure it's right for you. Pro bono work also builds the skills you'll need to make a successful transition so that you can justly market yourself as a lawyer experienced in the laws, regulations, and needs of that area. Finally, pro bono work lets you build a professional network in that area, meeting lawyers and judges who may prove to be instrumental in landing that first job in the new practice area.

Contact your bar association for opportunities in your area.

What benefits have you seen from your pro bono work?