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Making Pro Bono Work At Large Law Firms

Publication Date: 
November 17, 2008
Source: 
Daily Journal
Author: 
Amelia Hansen

Professor Deborah L. Rhode is quoted in an article in the Daily Journal about the state of Pro Bono work at large law firms.

Jayne Fleming has a window office overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland. She travels for work, nationally and abroad. She makes six figures a year.

Her clients don't pay a dime.

Fleming is full-time pro bono counsel at Reed Smith, a position she worked to create after spending several years balancing free work with billable cases. Earlier this year, she won asylum for a young man from Kazakhstan who was interrogated and beaten by police after publicly criticizing the country's president.

...

According to the American Bar Association, public law school graduates average $50,000 in student loan debt; private school graduates, $80,000. Many lawyers, like Fleming, believe they do not have the option of taking a low-paying public interest or legal aid job. A single mother in law school, Fleming came out with "an enormous amount" of debt.

...

And, most lawyers still make no pro bono contributions. Deborah L. Rhode, a Stanford University law professor and director of the Stanford Center on Ethics, found that the average for the bar nationwide is less than half an hour a week and 50 cents a day.