Women lawyers do more pro bono work than men

first_imgWomen lawyers do more pro bono work than men Southeast Florida attorneys also do more than those in other parts of the state Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Sixty percent of all Florida lawyers report they perform pro bono work, with more women attorneys providing pro bono than male lawyers.The Bar’s latest Membership Opinion Survey also found that lawyers in private practice report performing pro bono at a higher rate (71 percent) than their government lawyer colleagues (15 percent) and those in other legal positions (38 percent).A higher percentage of women lawyers (61 percent) perform pro bono than their male colleagues (57 percent). The survey also found that older lawyers tend to do more pro bono than younger lawyers. Forty-five percent of lawyers 35 and under perform pro bono, compared to 63 percent of those 36 to 50; 65 percent of lawyers 51 to 65; and 69 percent of lawyers over 65 years of age.region, 68 percent of respondents in the southeast part of the state say they perform pro bono, while 60 percent of those in the central/southwest part of the state say they provide pro bono services, as do 51 percent of those in the northern part of the state. Forty-six percent of out-of-state respondents say they provide pro bono work.Half of all respondents cited personal satisfaction as their primary reason for conducting pro bono work, while another 43 percent said they have a professional responsibility to do so.Thirty-seven percent of respondents who said they don’t perform pro bono work cited time constraints for not providing free legal work for the poor. Other responses included their government job does not allow for pro bono work (20 percent); not interested (13 percent); family commitments (12 percent); lack of support from firm or legal office (12 percent); not finding appropriate matters to work on (12 percent); their government/public interest job provides sufficient public service opportunities (12 percent); and providing pro bono would negatively affect compensation (6 percent). Of the 18 percent of respondents who listed “other” when asked why they don’t provide pro bono, the most frequently listed responses were “inexperienced/don’t feel competent,” “do other volunteer/charitable work,” and “don’t believe in it.”Only 8 percent of respondents said their firms have a written pro bono office policy.Fifty-six percent of those polled said the Florida Supreme Court’s aspirational goal of 20 hours of pro bono work per lawyer per year should remain the same, while 13 percent said it should be decreased to 10 hours, and 4 percent said it should be decreased to 15 hours per year. Five percent of respondents said it should be increased to 30 hours, and 4 percent would like to see it increased to 40 hours. Of the 18 percent who listed “other,” the vast majority of those responses were “eliminate/delete/no longer require the 20 hours.”Just over two-fifths (41 percent) of all respondents believe that the aspirational goal of a $350 donation to a legal aid organization – as an alternative to the 20 hours of pro bono work per lawyers – should remain the same. Twenty-four percent believe it should be decreased, while 11 percent said it should be increased. Another 25 percent provided responses under the “other” category, the vast majority of which listed “eliminate/delete/no longer require the $350” contribution.The Membership Opinion Survey was mailed to 2,771 randomly selected Bar members in August. the September 27 deadline, 26 percent of the surveys had been returned. Mike Garcia, director of the Bar’s Research, Planning and Evaluation Department, said the results of the survey are statistically valid and the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence. Women lawyers do more pro bono work than mencenter_img January 15, 2006 Regular Newslast_img

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