Letter From The President Of The AssociationOf The Bar Of the City Of New York

2004-09-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

Pro bono provides attorneys with the dual opportunity of sharpening legal skills while giving back to the community, thereby finding a personal satisfaction that is not always present in for-profit work. It can not be said enough that people in need facing pivotal life situations such as eviction, loss of benefits, or domestic violence, fare dramatically better in court when represented by counsel, and that poverty should not place legal assistance out of the reach of the people who need it most.

Yes, lawyers often juggle long hours with family responsibilities making it hard to find time for pro bono work.But the fact is we all make choices about what we are going to spend our time doing.We can make time for the things that are important to us. That said, law firms really do need to change the corporate culture to make pro bono a more realistic option and expectation for their associates. I am certain that the firms can look to the Association for guidance in finding innovative ways to change that culture and increase their pro bono activity.
Advice To Young Lawyers Or Those Considering A Career In Law

To me the most important thing is that someone loves what they do, as I do. My work is both personally and financially rewarding, but if it wasn't, I would like to think that I would be able to leave a high paying job for something more fulfilling.But I do understand that it is not easy for people to make that transition if they are accustomed to a certain lifestyle. One way lawyers can make their careers more rewarding without financial sacrifice is by blending their for profit work with pro-bono and other public service.
On Being The Second Female President Of The Association

I see myself not as a woman president but as a president who happens to be a woman. Yet gender remains an issue ... because it is an issue in the practice of law. While incoming classes at major law firms are now made up of almost equal numbers of male to females, the number of women starts to drop off in later years. If societal pressure would allow for more men to stay home and take care of children, there would be less pressure on women to sacrifice career advancement for family responsibilities. Fortunately, my husband and I shared parenting responsibilities equally, with help from grandparents thrown in. But I realize all women are not so fortunate and therefore legal workplaces need to do more to assist families with work-life balance. I am therefore excited about the Association's new Office of Diversity and believe it can help firms address these issues and increase the numbers of females in upper level positions.


Betsy Plevan