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Pro Bono & Beyond: Insights from Appellate Practice Group Leader Amanda G. Taylor

When word went out in November that the Appellate Practice Group had the highest number of hours donated to pro bono in 2021, Practice Group Leader Amanda G. Taylor was incredibly proud of the work they had done.

“I was so excited when I saw that the Appellate practice group had the highest average number of hours donated to pro bono,” she said.

Amanda sees her role as PGL as being more than just the group leader; she prides herself on mentoring the younger attorneys in the firm and bringing them into leadership positions both within the firm and in the communities they serve. “I want to create opportunities for our attorneys to help them be better lawyers, as well as stewards of our values within our communities,” she added.

Amanda, being the ultimate appellate lawyer, pointed to three key points for her strong support of pro bono work. First, handling pro bono appeals is good for the communities where we live. By helping individuals in need with good faith claims, we strive to provide equal access to justice. This is especially important at the specialized appellate level because these types of cases don’t go through the regular referral system. “Our appellate pro bono is usually a direct referral to the attorney through an individual outreach when there is a case that has reached the level needing our attention. If it is meritorious, and we can make a good faith argument for a deserving client, then we welcome the opportunity to lend our specialized skill set.” The cases adopted by the Appellate Practice Group reflect the interests and passions of the individual attorneys, and Amanda is thrilled to see their positive energy for this type of work.

Which is the perfect segue into Amanda’s second point. “Taking on a pro bono case gives our attorneys a chance to really hone their appellate skill set, especially with the opportunity to participate in oral argument. Courtroom experience is always good,” she emphasized. Pro bono projects are vehicles for attorneys to enhance their effectiveness, leadership, and litigation skills. She also notes that pro bono work can create meaningful opportunities to make new contacts, demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively, and possibly attract new clients.

Third, Amanda believes that it is beneficial to the firm to give lawyers the chance to stretch and grow through such projects. In addition to helping our communities and our lawyers, investing our resources and mentoring on such projects helps Butler Snow retain our talented team members. “Lawyer development and retention are vital to the ultimate success of the firm. I am so proud to be a member of a firm where there is a broader vision of how we operate beyond the bottom line. Being at a firm that promotes and appreciates pro bono by allowing our practice group to be active in this arena and follow our passions is so meaningful.”

Our final part of this conversation focused on Amanda’s enthusiastic endorsement of the positivity of taking on a pro bono case and the energy generated by taking on new and different work. “The practice of law can be draining at times. Sometimes you need something that brings new and positive energy to the practice and doing pro bono work can really be energizing and invigorating.” And, as she points out, positive motion begets positive motion!