I was honored to receive my first pro bono award at Doerr Law Firm, presented by Teri Donaldson of the Southeastern Michigan Administrative Services Group, formerly Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. ("LAD"). LAD was started in 1909, when the Detroit Bar Association appointed a committee to provide free civil legal services to the city's poor, especially new immigrants from Europe and the South. Now it's is the largest provider of legal services to low and moderate income people in Michigan and one of the largest in the nation. Ms. Donaldson shared with me the exciting new developments at LAD, including work in the area of human trafficking.
When I first started Doerr Law Firm, I was told to stay away from pro bono because it hurts your bottom line. I didn't listen. Rather, I accepted my first pro bono case within months and have dedicated over 50 hours to clients who could not otherwise afford an attorney. I agree with the advisory comment to Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1: "Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, should find time to participate in or otherwise support the provision of legal services to the disadvantaged."