Rethinking Professional Responsibility: The Need to Bolster Lawyers' Ethical Obligations in Pursuit of Social Justice
In this Note, I argue that the obligations on the legal profession of service to the poor "both through pro bono work and indigent defense" must be bolstered and refined. Although existing methods of pro bono service are positive contributions that should be supported, these methods are limited and, as such, are unlikely to change the position of the poor. I argue that effective improvement of legal services to the poor can be accomplished by strengthening the language of the pro bono obligation within the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, restructuring law firms‘ pro bono compensation and requirements, and further developing pro bono service programs in law schools.9 A commitment to equal justice is fundamental to the legitimacy of democratic processes;10 through these three primary professional influences on lawyers, the profession‘s currently-deficient duty to equal justice may be better fulfilled.
Elizabeth E. Clarke is a member of the Class of 2010 of Washington and Lee University School of Law.Capstone; [FULL-TEXT FREELY AVAILABLE ONLINE]