Believe it or not there is a streak of altruism that runs through the legal profession. I would venture to suggest that the majority of lawyers were originally attracted to the profession, at least in part, by idealistic notions of working to make the world a better place, whether by advocating against injustice, defending the innocent. or working to craft better laws.
For most of us in private practice, that idealism finds expression in the occasional “feel good” shift giving advice at the local legal aid clinic, or quietly ripping up the bill when consulted by a worthy indigent. I’ve often quipped that most of my “pro- bono” work was inadvertent, when the recipient of my services stiffs me for the bill.
Many larger firms, to their credit, allow their lawyers to conduct some files on a no fee , or reduced fee basis, in the public good, but with the unspoken understanding that charity work not detract from the main business of the firm.
One firm however has just raised the bar on its commitment to Pro Bono work. It is the Maritime firm of Pink Larkin a well regarded 25 lawyer firm with offices in Halifax NS and Fredericton NB. They have offered a job to veteran legal aid lawyer Vince Calderhead. While it is not unusual for firms to head hunt legal talent, what makes the hiring unique are the parameters of Mr Calderhead’s new job. He is being hired to do pro bono law full time, with no expectation that he will contribute anything to the firms revenue.
Pink Larsen becomes the only law firm that we are aware of to dedicate a senior, full time lawyer to work only on cases for the public good. It is an impressive demonstrations of the best traditions of the professions, and we are humbled by it. Well done, Pink Larkin.