Primary Care Lawyers
A Holistic Approach to Pro Bono Business Lawyering
Alina Ball
Posted Monday, July 17, 2017

Pro bono programs for business lawyers provide small businesses in lowincome communities and nonprofits much needed access to legal representation. However, the dominant pro bono business law model could be reframed to provide better representation to pro bono business clients. Premised on traditional pro bono models of individual representation where a pro bono attorney is assigned to assist on an individual’s discrete litigation matter, the dominant pro bono business law model is not designed to provide business clients with holistic and integrated representation. To provide pro bono business clients with the legal counsel they truly need, we must align our expectations of pro bono business law representation with the realities of transactional practice. This requires shifting away from representation on discrete issues towards a model that provides long-term counsel and advice on the variety of interconnected transactional matters that businesses maneuver on a regular basis. This essay argues for a new archetype for pro bono business law representation structured to address the multilayered legal needs of pro bono business clients and explains why law school clinics may be the best institutional force to lead this essential change.