Help your community and improve your own well-being in the process.
Being a lawyer is rewarding in and of itself, but many lawyers find themselves wondering what they can do to give back to the communities in which they live and work. Volunteering your time to a worthy cause not only helps your community; it can also boost your well-being, help you form new connections, and let you discover new interests. No matter what kind of lawyer you are, there are numerous ways to help those who may need your support and make a positive impact.
Check out these six ways to give back to others as a lawyer.
1. Do some pro bono work.
One of the ways lawyers can give back to their community is to offer their services pro bono. Many firms have a system for taking on pro bono cases, and most communities have legal volunteer organizations in need of free legal services. Your negotiation experience can be an incredibly valuable asset to these organizations even if the specific practice area does not align with your expertise.
Many larger cities also have pro bono organizations that align with specific interests and skillsets, such as family law, immigration, or entertainment law. The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends lawyers contribute at least 50 hours of pro bono service per year.
Volunteering is one way to give back that does not involve legal work. There are numerous organizations to get involved with in your community that are looking for volunteers. From animal shelters to soup kitchens and food banks, there is a volunteer opportunity to suit any interest. Your community involvement will go a long way toward improving your own well-being, as well.
Volunteering is a great way to make connections outside of the workplace and can be a way to relax after a stressful week of work. Some law firms even give designated time off for volunteering—check if yours is one of them!
3. Become a mentor.
Another easy way for lawyers to give back to their community is to become a mentor. You can choose to mentor law students or young people in general through programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Many law schools have mentoring programs you can get involved with, or you could even mentor junior attorneys at your own firm. Becoming a mentor is a valuable way to make a difference.
4. Raise money.
Don’t have the time to commit to weekly volunteering or mentoring? No problem! Raising money for an organization is an easy way to give back, and organizations always appreciate the extra funding. You can start a fundraiser through LinkedIn or another social media platform to raise money from the comfort of your own home (or office) or participate in an in-person fundraiser event.
If you enjoy exercise, many organizations host running races to raise money, from casual 5ks to full marathons. Find an organization you feel passionate about and use your network to raise much-needed funds.
5. Participate in outreach programs.
Lawyers can participate in outreach programs to help their communities during challenging moments. For example, some lawyers gave back by partnering with other organizations to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitizers to first responders during COVID-19. You can also help a community facing a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or flood. Helping in this way can include donating money, gathering and/or handing out supplies, or helping build homes for those who may have lost theirs.
6. Join a nonprofit.
Joining a nonprofit is another way to give back to your community by volunteering your time. You can choose to serve in either a legal role or nonlegal role, and many nonprofits are looking for people to join their board. As with volunteering, you can choose what to get involved in based on your interests.
At DRI, there are many opportunities to give back. Through The DRI Foundation, members can raise money that goes directly toward funding and fostering initiatives that make a difference, including diversity programs, healthy living programming, and more. The DRI Foundation is supported by and promotes the work of its volunteer-led committees, including DRI Cares, which helps members engage with local communities through fundraising and volunteer activities. DRI’s seminars often feature DRI Cares activities that help an organization in the place in which the seminar is taking place.
Check out how you can become a DRI member today!