There are many indications that law firm pro bono has hit critical mass – law firm pro bono brochures and videos, questions about pro bono in RFPs from corporate clients, cocktail party talk about pro bono work – but one sure sign is the prevalence of pro bono in popular culture, including documentaries, books, and prime-time television.
As we’ve reported previously, lawyers at Lockhart Gardner, the fictional law firm at the center of “The Good Wife,” a successful CBS series, do a lot of pro bono work. During one of its first episodes, a firm managing partner emphasized that “like many law firms we donate five percent (the highest aspirational goal of the Pro Bono Institute’s Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®)of our billable time to pro bono.”
Again, in between the maneuvering, scheming, and politicking, the plot of the season 5 premiere revolved around a pro bono case. The episode featured the Lockhart Gardner team racing against the clock to defend its pro bono client who was on death row and faced execution. In addition to focusing on this intense pro bono representation, the main character explored the issue of whether law firms have the capacity and can afford to take on significant and time-intensive major pro bono cases. We help firms grapple with these very questions every day.
The PBEye commends the extraordinary commitment of many firms to pro bono service, not only in real life, but also on TV. If your firm has more than 50 lawyers and you’d like to follow Lockhart Gardner’s lead in publicly demonstrating your pro bono leadership and become a Signatory to the Challenge®, please contact Law Firm Pro Bono Project Assistant Eva Richardson.
Who is your favorite fictional pro bono lawyer? Leave a comment and let us know!