This should get us thinking.
One suggestion is that firms need to start assessing their impact, not just the cash value of the contribution. Interestingly, this discussion is taking place against a backdrop of a significant increase in the “justice gap” in the UK as a result of the Coalition’s dramatic cuts to legal aid, particularly in family law. It is also, sadly, taking place against a reduction in terms of the number of actual hours contributed to pro bono.
In any event, the question for us is whether the US access community should do a better job of measuring the impact of pro bono — it would be an interesting question for the Research Gathering in Chicago in December.
One risk, of course, is that a discussion of outcomes might politicize pro bono — right not, after all, pro bono is about the most purely non-political cause in our world — even phrases like judicial independence are no longer politically neutral. On the other hand, maybe a full discussion of impact might lead to true ways of measuring the accessibility of the system, not just to individuals, but to interests and causes that are not now heard.