Saviour Kudze, the Ghana Bar Association’s Public Relations Officer, has resisted calls to make pro bono work a requirement for lawyers to keep their licenses.
Justice Nene Amegatcher, who serves as chairman of the Legal Aid Commission Board, had proposed making documentation of pro bono work a requirement for lawyers to renew their licenses.
He stated that this could greatly facilitate the Legal Aid Commission’s work.
However, Mr. Saviour Kudze believes that some lawyers, particularly those who work in corporate settings, may face difficulties as a result of such a decision.
The private lawyer said that lawyers should be encouraged to volunteer for pro bono work rather than making it a requirement for renewing their licenses.
More and more lawyers are volunteering their time for free.We have a good number of lawyers who work in corporate institutions, and per their contracts, they are supposed to only work in that institution…if we say that we are going to make it [pro bono services] a requirement for renewal of license, for me it is going to be problematic…a good number of lawyers charge even below the minimum required fees that are supposed to be charged.
“Since they must also renew their license, how are you going to compel those lawyers to perform pro bono services before you renew their licenses?In any case, he explained on JoyNews’ The Law, Sunday, “We are only agents doing that for the GLC and we do not even do the renewal at GBA.”
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He claims that even though some lawyers could have taken on more cases, such a move would also limit their pro bono work.
“You see, the danger as well is that the moment you make it a requirement, if you say if I do two, I may be able to do ten, but because you say if I do two, I will get my license, I have done two, I am okay, I will stop,” people are free to do as they please.
We’ve been doing pro bono work for a long time, so I’ll use this opportunity to push lawyers to do more.However, Mr. Kudze maintained, “I do not believe the time is right for us to make it a requirement for the renewal of licenses.”
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