24 March 2012

For their own good.

Whatever happened to pro bono publico? The idea that lawyers would do work to help the public in order to ensure equality before the law and to help individuals who could not afford to pay them? Where did that concept go?

 Last August, the GG said law firms in Canada donate less than 3% of their time to this fundamental legal ideal. 3%? You could have knocked me over with a feather. Because, as near as I can tell, that might be a couple of firms using ALL of their time, while the rest don't do any pro bono work.

 Because I've been pitching a simple case for a veteran who was mistreated. There is nothing complex or convoluted and it should be able to be resolved with a few letters written. I've approached dozens of lawyers and SIX pro bono societies. Response rate? 1. Not 1%, 1 response. And repeated querying of the societies supposedly dedicated to doing this work has not resulted in a single word. In my experience, the GG's estimate is grossly overinflated.

 Which leads me to suspect that every negative thing said about lawyers may be true. Because if not one will step up to help an impoverished veteran, then the profession really believes pro bono pocketo.

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