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Do Well by Doing Good

Dawn Caldart

Pro Bono is an integral part of Quarles & Brady's culture. The Firm's commitment to the communities where we live and work says a great deal about the values to which the Firm subscribes. Last year, our lawyers dedicated almost 23,000 hours of pro bono time to low income people and organizations that serve low income people. Why do we do it? Because we do well by doing good.

There is a gap — a substantial one, in fact — between those who need legal representation and those who can access it. The Legal Service Corporation’s Pro Bono Task Force estimates that while 62 million, or one in five, Americans qualify for free civil legal assistance, 80% of those who seek it will be denied help because of limited legal aid resources. Statistics show that people with legal representation fare better in immigration, domestic violence and housing cases. Unlike the guarantee of a lawyer for people facing charges in criminal matters, there is no right to appointed counsel in civil disputes in the United States.

Too many people are forced to go it alone when they are facing a crisis, including eviction, deportation, custody battles and domestic violence. These issues have significant impact on families and communities. With a few narrow exceptions, lawyers are the only people who can help the poor with their legal problems. By donating their time, skills and resources, Quarles & Brady pro bono lawyers help reduce this gap and provide much needed support to families in need.

Retired Quarles & Brady Partner Mike Gonring, an indefatigable pro bono advocate, recently said, "to help close this massive justice gap, we need to be something more, to do something more. And we need to do it because it is the right thing to do." I challenge you to be more, do more. There is possibly no greater gift a lawyer can give than to provide pro bono legal services to those in their communities who need it most.

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