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Voice of Experience

Voice of Experience: November 2023 | Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

Michael L Goldblatt

Giving Thanks by Giving Back

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For 50 years, National Volunteer Week has been celebrated every April. The celebration is announced annually by Presidential Proclamation to thank the millions of Americans who perform volunteer services for their country. Volunteers include lawyers who serve indigent clients, bar associations, and community agencies.

Volunteerism is a reciprocal relationship. It serves the needy and benefits the volunteers who improve their sense of well-being, enhance their reputation, and attract clients to their firms. Below are tips for being an effective volunteer and resources to help implement them.


Acknowledgment acknowledge volunteers in the firm's internal communications and social media.

Commitment - consider time commitments to avoid overextending yourself.

Event - sponsor a firm-wide volunteer event to promote volunteering by lawyers and staff.

Focus - use a volunteer directory to find an organization and then contact them to offer your help.

Gifts - give gifts to thank members of your family and firm when they volunteer their services.

Leadership - pursue leadership positions in volunteer organizations to advance your career and skills.

Marketing - mention your community service on the firm's website and in marketing materials.

Networking - develop personal and professional relationships while volunteering.

Virtual - consider virtual volunteerism to avoid commuting time and to stay safe.


Volunteering can boost your sense of well-being and make the world a better place. Think about how you can be of service to your community and the legal profession. This Thanksgiving, give thanks by making a commitment to volunteer. Follow President Kennedy's admonition: "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country." Use the tips and resources in this article to be an effective volunteer.



Brittanie Browning, Bar Association Involvement - Investing in Your Legal Community, Young Lawyers Division, Feb. 13, 2023.

Rasmeet Chahil, Why Firms Should Help Associates Do More Pro Bono Work, JD Supra, Nov. 1, 2021.

Hao Nguyen, Volunteering: A Path to Improved Work-Life Balance and Fulfillment,, Sept. 4, 2023.

Edith Roth, The 10 Best Websites to Find Volunteer Work and Opportunities,, Jun. 28, 2021.

Meranda Vieyra, The Hidden Marketing Power of Community Service for Law Firms, Martindale-Avo, May 21, 2020.

Shayda Zaerpoor Le, The Benefits of Community Service to the Lawyer, Law Practice Today, Sep. 15, 2014.


Adam Grant, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Penguin Publishing Group, March 25, 2014

William MasAskill, Doing Good Better: How Effective Altriusm Can Help You Help Others, Do Work That Matters, and Make Smarter Choices About Giving Back, Penguin Publishing Group, Aug. 2, 2016.


Center for Pro Bono

Directory of Volunteer Opportunities

Senior Lawyers