Under no circumstances should a lawyer be required to work Pro Bono. Yes, it is true lawyers make a lot of money. They also have to go to school for at least 8 years to make all of that money. They should have a choice whether or not to work for free. The government does not say that other people have to work for free, so lawyers should not have to be told to. It would be a double standard. Nobody would expect the person behind the counter at a fast food restaurant to work for free, so they should not expect a lawyer to work for free. Although, a lot of lawyers will do Pro Bono work because they will get a tax write off, not all of them are willing to do it. It is up to them. Lawyers often get the raw end of the deal, and they are the subject of jokes. It is an honest profession that is many times thankless.
Being a lawyer is a lot of work and long hours for important cases. If you are defending a client, you have to worry about whether or not that client is lying by saying they are not guilty. If you are prosecuting a client, they have to worry about making a mistake and having a guilty criminal back on the streets. Whatever the case, there is a lot of stress and pressure to try not to make a mistake.
They have to pay malpractice insurance just like doctors. Malpractice rates are between $5,000 to $8,000 a year and can be higher depending on what type of law they practice. Often, the safety of others is on the line. The next time your lawyer charges you $200 an hour, I hope you understand that they are just not lining their pockets. They have many more out of pocket costs like college or law school loans. Accident or injury attorneys will often only collect upon winning a trial. These lawyers occasionally will have a lot of time invested in a case and they don’t get paid at all. Lawyers also lose a lot of money by having clients, or former clients that still owe them money, go bankrupt. That check that they were suppose to get that was worth thousands of dollars, is no longer coming in. Because of this they have to raise their rates. It is no different that what a retail store will do. If people steal things from them, they lose money. Then to make up the money by raising prices for everyone else.
So, I hope you understand what lawyers go through each and every day. They should not be forced to do Pro Bono work. It is completely up to the lawyer whether they choose to or not.