The proposed legislative changes referred to by Mr Tan Lam Siong ("Keep to spirit of pro bono work"; last Thursday) do not make it compulsory for lawyers to carry out pro bono work.
Under the proposed legislative changes, lawyers will be required to report the amount of time spent on pro bono work.
In a joint press statement, the Law Society and the Ministry of Law stated that lawyers will not be subjected to any sanctions or adverse consequences for a report of zero pro bono hours clocked.
The Law Society is also of the view that the pro bono spirit must be altruistic.
In his speech at the Opening of the Legal Year 2014, Law Society president Lok Vi Ming said the "pro bono spirit is not to be coerced; neither is it to be bought. Pro bono must come from the heart".
It is hoped that mandatory reporting would provide lawyers with the opportunity for introspection and self-review on their pro bono involvement, and allow that exercise to hopefully enhance or kick-start that involvement from within.
It is also hoped that the information that will be generated from the mandatory reporting of pro bono hours by lawyers will enable all stakeholders to have a more holistic appraisal of the pro bono landscape in Singapore.
The Law Society of Singapore
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