While it’s great news that Tennessee lawyers are volunteering their time more than ever, I’m concerned that news of their record-breaking service is being viewed as an access to justice solution.

The Chattanoogan celebrated the milestone from the Tennessee Access to Justice Commission, which reported that more than half of the state’s lawyers completed pro bono hours.

The total hours of Pro Bono for All Attorneys licensed in Tennessee also shows the highest number ever reported at 749,217 hours. This number reflects an increase of 50,814 hours from the prior year, and an increased value of nearly $11 million of pro bono services.

That’s certainly something to celebrate. But what would be more exciting would be efforts to address broader access issues without asking lawyers to do more of the same, but without charge.

Asking already stressed lawyers to volunteer more time isn’t a solution. Real change will need to come from addressing the regulatory system, technology and efficiency barriers and price points. And processes will need to be less complicated and infinitely more transparent.

Source: The Chattanoogan, “Pro Bono Report Shows Highest Number, Percentage Of Attorneys Reporting Pro Bono In History”