October 28, 2022

In Their Words: Associates' Lessons From Pro Bono Work


Geoffrey Pipoly is quoted in this article.

"In 2020 and 2021, I authored two pro bono amicus briefs in federal appellate courts on the subject of transgender rights. The briefs were on behalf of several dozen legal ethics scholars from across the country, and argued that common courtesy — which underpins the codes of legal and judicial ethics — dictates that courts should refer to transgender persons as they wish to be referred.

My biggest takeaway from that work — and indeed from all my pro bono work — is the reminder that lawyers can be a force for positive change in the world. This might seem like an obvious point — after all, nearly every legal drama in television and on film seems bent on driving home the lawyer-as-changemaker narrative. But all too often I find myself forgetting that what we do — what we are empowered by virtue of our licenses to do — is directly affect other human beings' lives. I think too many of us forget that, especially those of us in the private sector, but it's true. Trite as it may sound, pro bono work is the thing that taps me on the shoulder from time to time in order to remind me that one of the reasons I went to law school in the first place is to leave the world just a little bit better than I found it."

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