The Benefits of Generosity

In following up on our recent blog post about the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Investing in Justice Campaign, we asked CBF executive director Bob Glaves what he feels makes generosity so important to the legal profession.

Glaves noted that while “almost everyone goes to law school with a significant or sole interest to make a difference in the unique way that lawyers can,” the daily grind of practicing law can steal focus away from those early ideals. But it is important to reconnect with those generous instincts for a variety of reasons. Lawyers, Glaves reminds us, swear to be “trustees of the justice system.” Part of embracing the nobility of their profession is giving back in all the ways they can – through donations of time, talent and treasure as we have touched upon in the past. But perhaps the most important result of these efforts, beyond the obvious help provided to those in need, is the benefit of giving that reflects back to the giver. If lawyers are seeking fulfillment in their work, generosity is the key.

Glaves is optimistic about the growing trend of generosity across the profession. “[W]e are seeing an increase in generosity in the legal profession, even in the height of the downturn,” he says. “When people start giving, they want to do more. So long as we are part of the solution, generosity will feed on itself. It makes people happier, it makes them better lawyers, and it makes a better profession.” Additionally, causes that bring together the entire legal community – individuals, firms, law schools, legal aid, government agencies – foster cooperation among groups that might otherwise be at odds or competitive. “A really positive energy develops from that.” And that can only be a good thing.

Is your firm part of the growing movement of generosity? Tell us how below.