There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of opportunities to give back to your culture, whether it’s your legal society, your neighborhood, or the broader, world society. Many feel that it is our responsibility to serve, that it is our responsibility to contribute back to the world and our communities through voluntary work. It may be justification enough for many, but there are other motives that may sound more greedy than compassionate, but if the end result is a society of more giving, the reasoning does not matter. Working with a charity or a non-profit group will help restore order to your busy life, show your children the rewards of volunteering your time, with the reciprocal gain of growing your work and social network.
The toughest thing is getting started and choosing the appropriate match for your talents, your personal goals, your ambitions and your expertise.
Many lawyers chose to take advantage of their expertise as advisors and qualified lawyers by volunteering to support young lawyers by engaging in local moot court contests, working as a staff member at a continuing legal education class, or sitting as a panelist in a law school career program or as a young lawyer at a state bar association.
Such types of practices need little, if any, planning, so personal knowledge is all that is required or needed. Law students and young lawyers still like to learn from a diverse community of seasoned lawyers about the many pathways open to lawyers after law school. Being a panel member or moot court judge is a simple way to make you open to the next generation of lawyers. It also gives you a taste at young talent who is only starting their careers or may be heading to the industry in the world, and one of them may be a successful associate and a future companion in the making.
If you wish to step free from your legal life and appealing to your society, there are an unlimited range of opportunities to engage in state, national and global societies. Many non-profits aim to have a lawyer as one of their local board members and will give legal counsel to the group. This may be in conjunction with the legal transaction of the entity by the company, or it may be sporadic representation depending on the needs of the organization. Non-profits, though, trust board members with a corporate and legal acumen to represent.
Other options that do not take too much time entail: tutoring by a non-profit educational organization; participating at a local charitable event, such as a road run or fundraiser; or simply joining in events such as cleaning up the local parks and trail networks. These forms of events can be carried out as the personal schedule permits, which do not entail any big commitment. In addition, participating at fundraisers, racing staff at a charitable function or other activities can involve your family so that you can balance group involvement with family time.
Without sticking to a daily timetable, families may even work together at food banks, community farms, or soup kitchens, which is also not possible for an attorney’s unpredictable schedule. Your local schools, mosques, and cultural centers will also require the entire family’s assistance.
Longer-term responsibilities are often required, such as working as a big brother or big sister, assuming corporate leadership for a fundraiser of an organization, or volunteering in the courts or a local legal assistance organization to do pro bono work. You should also look at the municipal government for openings, some of which are not elected offices, to serve on a city committee or council. You can also find and sue uninsured driver who are risking the life of others.
If you find a way to donate your time that allows you use your technical talents, personal experience and whatever interests you may have, you will enjoy endless benefits. It will allow you to reach a balance in your life, which is always incredibly difficult to do, especially if you have a busy practice, to find the best match for your lifestyle, desires, and the time you have available. It’s easy to make a buck. To make a difference is a lot harder.