Most of us have this perception of lawyers as fancy individuals who make too much money, do a lot of work for the criminally insane, and don’t care of anyone but themselves. While that may be true of a few individuals out there, it’s not true of everyone. Lawyers are eternally stressed out because of the pressure associated with helping people stay afloat, and the negative connotation of the word “lawyer” just isn’t fair. Here are a few awesome lawyers you’d want to have a beer with if you ever met them on the street.
- Todd Belcore. This guy was named “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the Illinois State Bar Association in 2013 because he’s just plain awesome. He goes above and beyond the call of duty by helping those in poverty find gainful employment when it would otherwise be impossible due to background checks. It’s not that he believes that criminals should have it easy; it’s just that he believes that the foundation of our rehabilitation system should rely heavily on the idea of a second chance. In order to give his clients the best possible chance, he’s taught a whopping 43 workshops on maintaining good conduct in society and how to deal with complicated issues like expungement. He tries to help those who are serving more time than they should in over-crowded jails and prisons (which is most of them here in the U.S.)
- David Smith. He does a little bit of everything, and while he’s a jack of all trades, he still manages to be a master of all of them. He works as a law professor, but splits his time to help fund charities, volunteer at an orphanage, and provide services as a pro bono attorney. Right now, he’s working on the Cobell v. Salazaar case in order to keep the United States government accountable for its responsibilities toward Native Americans. The case centers around the Individual Indian trust and its half-million Native American beneficiaries.
- Tony Tolbert. Not everyone has to give time pro bono in order to do the right thing. Tolbert sacrificed his home to help a family living in poverty get back on its feet. They enjoyed a year without rent thanks to his “pay it forward” attitude.