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Economy begets new work targets

Economy begets new work targets

Lawyers have upped the work they do for free as the economy has come down.

LAWYERS have upped the work they do for free as the economy has come down.

Pro bono work has increased by 13 per cent between 2007 and 2008, according to the newly released Pro Bono Institute 2008 Challenge Report. 

The 134 US firms participating in the challenge completed 4,844,097 total hours of pro bono work, as compared to 135 firms that performed 4,285,684 hours in 2007, the report shows. 

"This is a very positive sign for the legal industry and for people in dire need of legal help in a time of economic troubles," said Esther Lardent, president and CEO of the Pro Bono Institute. 

"Law firms that upped their commitment to pro bono work recognise the profound and desperate impact of the economic downturn on the poor and despite their own economic difficulties focused more of their own skills to help the most unfortunate."

Not only has the number of pro bono hours donated by firms grown since 2007, the number of lawyers performing those hours has increased as well. 

In 2007, 17,514 partners and 29,638 associates (a total of 47,152) participated, while in 2008, 19,111 partners and 33,920 associates for a total of 52,912 participating attorneys, an increase of nine per cent in participation by partners and a 14 per cent increase by associates.

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