Organization/people involved
Luthra & Luthra
New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, India
Barrera Siqueiros Torres Landa
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

Donate time through pro bono services


Published on

Published in: Economy & Finance
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Donate time through pro bono services

  1. 1. Organization/people involved Luthra & Luthra New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore, India Barrera Siqueiros Torres Landa Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico What they did Luthra & Luthra, a law firm based in India, began taking pro bono cases because they felt morally obligated to do so. Rajiv Luthra, the firm’s founder and managing partner, explains that while economically disadvantaged people in India have access to legal aid services, the same courtesy is not extended to activists and socially conscious individuals and groups. Luthra & Luthra has tried to bridge that gap by working gratis on litigation involving animal conservation and spreading health services. Rajiv says this way of giving back is very dear to him personally. Barrera Siqueiros Torres Landa is a pro bono pioneer in Mexico. The law firm even hired a full-time employee, Lila Alejandra Gasca, to coordinate its pro bono efforts. Barrera Siqueiros explains that social responsibility is paramount to its work. How you can do it •Secure support. Rajiv says to make sure you have the support of senior management before you start. Without that, fulfilling your pro bono work will be much harder. •Define what you consider pro bono. For Barrera Siqueiros, it’s more than offering free services—they want to take cases that can make a real impact in people’s lives. •Reach out to potential clients. Lila says many nonprofits are unaware of the possibility of getting pro bono assistance, so you may have to find them. So do some searching and introduce yourself, but be selective about how widely you spread the word, lest you receive too many requests for help. One good, sustainable approach is to attend events where you can talk and network with nonprofits. When they get to know you, they will organically spread the word for you. •Consider working with partners. Luthra & Luthra and Barrera Siqueiros are both members of TrustLaw Connect, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro bono service. Through them, they’re able to connect with organizations working towards social change. Find out more here. •Choose wisely. Lila suggests carefully examining what cases the firm will take before saying yes; it’s worth the time to make a sound decision. Barrera Siqueiros studies each case specifically to see if it’s a good fit for them and how they might best be of help. •Incorporate pro bono work into the rest of work. At Luthra & Luthra, lawyers are allotted a certain of number of hours during their normal work week to attend to pro bono projects. The fact that their pro bono time is carved out of their regular hours and not added above and beyond encourages them to take on pro bono cases, as they don’t have to worry about losing any billable/chargeable hours. Rajiv also says that during staff appraisals, lawyers’ involvement (or lack thereof) with pro bono cases is not brought up as grounds for judgment. At Barrera Siqueiros, even if a lawyer ends up spending lots of time on a pro bono case, he or she is still eligible for bonuses come annual review time. Practices like these help ensure that lawyers aren’t scared off from taking pro bono gigs. •Keep growing. Lawyers at Luthra & Luthra participate regularly in forums and seminars related to their pro bono work, which keeps them engaged and learning. Impact In 2013, over 96% of the lawyers at Barrera Siqueiros worked on pro bono projects, and the firm continues to grow their efforts in this area, seeing more participation each year. Between 2012 and 2013, there was a 131% increase in the number of pro bono hours served. Socios (partners) are also getting more involved; now almost half participate in pro bono work. In addition to all these great numbers, Lila said that the pro bono client who had the most support in 2013 received over 648 hours of assistance—that represents a huge in-kind donation of time and effort. Barrera Siqueiros has accumulated a number of awards for their pro bono work. They were recognized by TrustLaw Connect with the Innovation Pro Bono Award for their work helping indigenous people in Mexico promote and sell their art. And in 2012, Luthra & Luthra was given TrustLaw Connect’s Pro Bono Leaders Award. Both firms’ pro bono efforts have brought them much notoriety and success, and have helped bring awareness to issues of national importance. Their work has been widely reported in media, thereby bringing their cases to the forefront and encouraging productive debate. Big takeaways Rajiv counsels being seriously committed to any pro bono work you take on. That, along with being patient and positive, will serve you well.