Sotomayor Urges Mandatory Pro Bono for All Lawyers

, The National Law Journal


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Monday that all lawyers should be required to provide pro bono legal services. "I believe in forced labor" when it comes to improving access to justice for the poor, she said during an appearance at the American Law Institute's annual meeting in Washington. "If I had my way, I would make pro bono service a requirement."

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What's being said

  • ThinkerPrime

    Her advocacy of forced labor, in principle slavery, demonstrates a commitment to a political ideology exceeding her commitment to fundamental human rights. Judge Sotomayor seems to miss the fundamental point that individuals are not slaves of the state to be forced to give uncompensated labor - not in a Republic with limited government. Her mentality is better suited to the USSR. The nobility of the cause she cites is no excuse for the ugliness of the principle of slave labor.

  • a6z

    Why is it pro bono publico to volunteer to present a false claim or defense for a poor person but not a true one for a non-poor person?

  • Rob

    Always someone who thinks it is great to force someone else to work for free. It would not trouble her a bit.

  • Cy

    I agree with previous comments. Almost put myself out of business doing pro bono. And where are the experts needed in most of these cases lining up to do their share of these freebie we are supposed to hand out? I do accept the occasional case from Legal Aid and am glad to do it. Just don‘t want some highly paid, lifetime appointee telling me I must do it.

  • Hard working attorney

    Until this justice works as a solo practitioner for a year, which she never has, and see what it‘s really like to try to earn a living as an attorney to support one‘s family, I suggest she keep her mouth shut and focus on her own job.

  • Anonymous

    So she says “I believe in forced labor,” a/k/a slavery for lawyers? What country is this? Imagine is she said this about some minority group! By the way, here in NJ lawyers are already forced to do mandatory pro bono by the NJ Supreme Court. Madden v Delran, 126 N.J., 591 (1990).

  • S. Miller

    First, would it include the Justices on the Supreme Court? If not, instant fail. Second, is someone stopping her from volunteering her time and that of her clerks? If not, instant fail. Always nice to lecture people when the obligations are not going to fall on you or your staff.

  • Attorney with a foot potentially out the door

    I would strongly consider permanently ceasing the practice of law if something like this were imposed. I volunteer my free time how I see fit.

  • J. Birch

    Comrade Sotomayor proves herself more laughably under qualified everyday. This is America, sweetheart. There‘s a thing called the Constitution, and it forbids involuntary servitude. So if you want to encourage pro bono work, fine. Do so by appealing to lawyers‘ altruism. But don‘t act like a soul-crushing commie with talk about mandatory this or that.

  • Sick of Sotomayor

    Nothing is keeping this wise Latina woman from heading down to the legal clinic and putting her large posterior in a chair and dispensing wise Latina woman legal advice.

  • An Attorney

    "The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States..."

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