Every year around this time, my colleague Erin Meyer and I can be found going through and carefully selecting pro bono opportunities for Proskauer’s incoming first-year associates.  Each of them will be assigned a pro bono matter on their first day at Proskauer.

Why have we made this a priority?  Assigning these matters sends a powerful message that pro bono work is important and a vital part of life at Proskauer.  The new matters encourage our lawyers, from day one, to look beyond the office walls to recognize both the tremendous unmet need for legal services in this country and the incredible difference each of us can make in our communities.

Lawyers who perform pro bono at the beginning of their careers are more likely to do so years later, creating a lasting effect on our new lawyers and strengthening the culture of the firm.

For the same reasons, the firm has made pro bono work a big part of its summer associate experience.

At the end of Proskauer’s summer program a few weeks ago, I received an email from summer associate Alyson Tocicki, which pretty much says it all. She had just volunteered through Proskauer with Public Counsel CARES in Los Angeles at one of the Department of Public Social Services offices to help individuals obtain and maintain their cash aid and food assistance. In her words, it was one of her “favorite experiences” of the summer, and “an important opportunity not only to give back to the community, but also to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the homeless crisis in LA. I was quickly reminded why I went to law school in the first place and inspired to seek out similar opportunities in the future.”