This afternoon, I sat down to report my pro bono hours. Because while I don’t have a job, I have actually put in a decent number of pro bono hours. I have a number of questions, such as, what happens when I do research/work on a case but don’t actually help the client? Does legal research I’ve done for a pro-choice non-profit count as pro-bono? Does working at my local state house with a representative doing legal research count?
All of those questions were dwarfed by one question: What practice area box do I check if I’m unemployed?
The form asks a simple question:
Where I Practice:
Private Firm ____
Legal Services Org ____
Corporate Counsel ____
Public Interest Org. ____
Government Agency ____
Not Practicing ____
I refuse to check the “not practicing” box, but everything else would be a lie, except maybe “Legal Services Org”. I Feel like there should be a box that says, “other” or “not employed”, especially in this economy. I’m having one of those insecure weeks, in which I conclude I am unhirable and generally a failure as at attorney, and this form is not helping. The one thing that I was doing still has paperwork that tells me I’m not good enough.
I do have the option of picking “Private Firm” and “Solo Practictioner” but well, I’m not. I’m just not. I’m not automatically a solo practitioner just because I walk around telling people I’m a lawyer. I think I will probably end up picking Legal Services Organization, because I do practice there. Just because I don’t get paid to practice there, and don’t really have my own clients, and definitely don’t have my own workspace, doesn’t mean I don’t practice, right? Right.