Cover of Pro Bono in Principle and in Practice by Deborah L. Rhode
Pro Bono in Principle and in Practice
Public Service and the Professions
Deborah L. Rhode


256 pages.
from $28.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804751063
Paperback ISBN: 9780804751070


Excerpts and More

This book explores the aspirational principles and actual practices concerning lawyers’ pro bono service. It begins from the premise that both the profession and the public have much to gain from reducing the gap between ideals and institutions. To that end, the book provides the first broad-scale study of the factors that influence American lawyers’ pro bono work, including an original empirical survey of over 3,000 lawyers. Attention is focused on the workplace factors and law school experiences that encourage charitable public interest activities. The book also includes the first comparative study of public service by looking at volunteer work by other professionals and by lawyers in other countries.

Part I of the book explores the literature on altruistic commitments among the public in general, and lawyers in particular. Part II traces the evolution of attorneys’ pro bono responsibilities. Part III presents findings of the empirical survey. Part IV draws on these findings, together with prior research, to propose strategies for increasing and improving lawyers’ pro bono activity.

About the author

Deborah L. Rhode is the Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law and Director of the Keck Center on Legal Ethics and the Legal Profession at the Stanford Law School. She has written and edited fourteen previous books, including The Difference "Difference" Makes: Women and Leadership (Stanford, 2003).

"This is an excellent, impeccably researched book, which makes an important, original contribution to the scholarly literature of pro bono work. It will deservedly receive a great deal of attention and be the basis for future studies and discussions."

—Erwin Chemerinsky, Duke Law School

"Public Service and the Professions is an important treatment of the problem of pro bono legal service. This book presents new empirical research on current practice by lawyers, law firms, and law schools in performing and promoting pro bono legal services. No other work combines thoroughness, currency, and such an empirical base."

—Geoffrey Hazard, University of Pennsylvania Law School

"Rhode's book offers a brilliant and comprehensive analysis of pro bono. The book has it all: it explores the arguments for pro bono, the debate over whether it should be mandatory, the social psychology of giving, pro bono in other nations and other professions - and, as a bonus, it reports the results of a comprehensive study spearheaded by Rhode of why lawyers do pro bono. Written with Rhode's characteristic clarity, grace, erudition, and wit, Pro Bono in Principle and Practice stands out as the one indispensable book on pro bono service."

—David Luban,Frederick Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University Law Center