Triple Play is a weekly NJBIZ feature that asks top executives in New Jersey to talk about three things related to their industry.
Emily Goldberg is director of the pro bono program at McCarter & English, a board member of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice and co-chair of the state bar association's pro bono task force.
We asked Emily to give us three reasons why pro bono legal representation matters.
Many people simply cannot afford to retain a lawyer, and for them, there are severe and sometimes life-threatening consequences (from deportation to various forms of abuse to denial of basic rights). With a relatively small time investment, lawyers can change people's lives on a profound level. Being part of this profession comes with a responsibility to help others.
There is no better professional training ground than pro bono for young lawyers, who get to take the reins on cases, learn the essential skills of practicing law and develop the judgment necessary to become skilled advocates, advisers and leaders.
Pro bono makes sense from a business perspective. Corporate clients are increasingly considering law firms' commitment to pro bono when they decide which firms to retain. Firms that partner with in-house attorneys on pro bono projects get to bond with paying clients and start or strengthen relationships with prospective clients.