Lawyers who have been undertaking pro bono work, on top of having to meet the heavy demands of maintaining a practice, generally do so for charitable purposes ("Bill proposes that lawyers disclose pro bono hours"; Tuesday).
Hence, suggestions to make it compulsory for lawyers or, for that matter, any professional to do pro bono work as a condition for them to carry on with their professional practice are anathema to the concept of charity.
Performing charity work is a matter of personal choice and the motivation comes from within the individual.
And it is precisely because of such admirable self-motivation, and not force of law, that humanity has progressed to this day.
Legislative intervention in compelling pro bono work will transform the social perception of it as something that is provided freely and received appreciatively, to something that is self-serving and received as a right.
There is really nothing noble in doing something that one is forced to do.
Tan Lam Siong
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