Yes, I believe that lawyers should provide pro bono services to those individuals unable to attain counsel. Lawyers make a lot more money than do public defenders and they have a lot of accessible resources that are not available to public defenders. Public defenders are loaded down with many cases at one time and often are double booked when it comes to appearing in court for their clients. They are limited in so many ways that help from lawyers would aid them greatly. However, I do see why many lawyers do not want to take on such cases. As some of my other peers have concluded, there is a definite lack in incentive.
I personally believe that it should become a requirement as part of being a lawyer. Lawyers ought to be required to perform an X amount of pro bono cases per year. If this were the case, I believe that it would lesson the case load on public defenders and the incentive for the lawyers would be that it is a part of their job requirements. Again, the problem arises that many firms support pro bono work in theory but they would rather have their lawyers work the cases that are billed. Time is an issue for both public defenders as well as lawyers.
Despite the obvious issues that lawyers face, I do believe that law firms can incorporate the concept of pro bono work in their firm even if it in a small amount. Law firms should promote a minimum amount of pro bono work for their lawyers and show it to be a positive and rewarding experience instead of a negative burden. Also, I believe that new lawyers can benefit greatly from the experience of pro bono work. I believe it builds skill and helps new lawyers to feel that they are really making a difference in the lives of people who could not otherwise afford such counsel.
Pro bono work is a great opportunity that should not be passed by and left only to the public defenders. It time that more lawyers step up to the plate and take on more pro bono work. It helps their pro bono clients, helps the lawyers themselves, and helps those public defenders who need less of a case load. It is very beneficial in all aspects and should be a significant part of every law firm.