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The Value of Pro Bono Work to One Michigan Attorney

10/21/09

Joseph W. Cunningham views pro bono work as his duty.

"There is a critical need to provide access to legal services for those who cannot afford to pay standard legal fees," Cunningham says. "Those of us with the capability and resources to provide such services should do so as a means of giving back to the community within which we make a living."

Most of the month, Cunningham works as an attorney concentrating on business valuation, divorce taxation, marital settlements, and commercial litigation damages at Plante & Moran in Southfield.

But he also handles at least one pro bono case a month from the State Bar of Michigan's Michigan Litigation and Partnership Program Pro Bono Initiative.

Cunningham says the reward of doing this is great.

"Genuine personal satisfaction results from helping others, particularly those less fortunate," he says. "Service to others is the path to the true happiness that flows from active involvement in worthwhile endeavors. It's been that way for me. Winston Churchill summed it up with his usual eloquence when he said, 'You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.'"

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State Bar of Michigan
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Lansing, MI 48933-2012
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