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Lawyers should fight to eliminate barriers and unnecessary restrictions preventing them from participating in pro bono work, and they should look for innovative ways to provide these services, said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at the American Bar Association National Pro Bono Summit in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
“This is especially important when it comes to pro bono work that’s performed by government attorneys, who often are forced to navigate a host of statutory, regulatory and ethical restrictions in order to participate,” Holder said.
New ways of providing pro bono services include expanding outreach to retired attorneys, stay-at-home parent attorneys, corporate attorneys, solo practitioners and government lawyers, said Holder. He also advocated creating more public-private partnerships.
“The obligation of pro bono service must become a part of the DNA of both the legal profession and of every lawyer,” Holder said.
Getting law students and young lawyers involved could be another way to expand pro bono services, Holder said.
“Pro bono work must be seen by all lawyers as nothing more than an essential part of their professional lives,” Holder said. “We must redouble our efforts to engage young people, aspiring lawyers and future policymakers in strengthening our nation’s justice system.”
Holder expressed his gratitude for the pro bono services that American lawyers have provided over the years but also stressed that it is a critical part of the legal profession.
Video of Holder’s remarks to the Summit can be found here.