Will charity or pro bono work will help your career prospects? This week, we ask recruitment expert Gail Greener, senior consultant at Dolman Legal Search & Recruitment on the benefits of volunteering your time.
Getting involved in charity or pro bono work at an early stage in your career can have many benefits.
Not only will you have a sense of satisfaction that you are making a contribution to your community or to those in need, but you will also have the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people to network with and to learn new skills and thereby expand your work experience.
There are many not-for-profit organisations, such as young lawyer associations, charities such as the Salvation Army or Red Cross, and many more that look for volunteers and pro-bono lawyers. Your skills can add tremendous value in assisting with the issues these organisations typically face.
Through pro bono work, you will have the opportunity to develop your client relationships and interpersonal skills as well as gain exposure to different practice areas, environments and culture.
The main benefit of pro bono work, in terms of career development, is the incredible networking opportunities. You will have direct contact with those who you may not ordinarily have access to - for example partners and other senior lawyers, as well as lawyers from other firms or from different environments or industries.
If you are contemplating changing your career path or practice area, volunteering or doing pro-bono work will help you decide if that is really the right move for you. Volunteering is a great way to explore new horizons.
In addition to the usual criteria, law firms will also be interested in your extra-curricular activities as it can give them more of a sense of who you are and your dedication and passion. Many firms have strong pro bono practices and initiatives and look for individuals that have a demonstrated interest in volunteer work.
There are many charitable concerns out there needing assistance, so find something you are interested in and go for it!