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Publication Title

American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law



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public service, lawyer's role in society, social status, pro bono service, professional service


Historically, the first way of viewing the lawyer's role was as a member of America's governing class. Second came cause lawyering on behalf of a particular issue. Third, and most recently, arose the idea of pro bono lawyering, a less ambitious incarnation of the governing class lawyer who contributes time to helping cause lawyers. These categories are not rigid: for each individual they may overlap to one degree or another. This framework is preliminary and requires further research and development. Nonetheless, it provides a useful tool for explaining how lawyers-and in particular the heroic lawyers described in this symposium-connect to public service and for identifying a basic strategic question the bar must answer in determining how best to encourage lawyers to engage in public service in the future.