Pro bono carols to fill your silent nights

Pro Bono

Meg Benson

Meg Benson has worked for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, the oldest pro bono organization in the country, for more than 30 years. As executive director, she coordinates the agency's bench, bar and law firm relations and directs its program management and funding. A family law litigator, she still handles minor guardianship and custody cases.
mcb@cvls.org

December 2016

A lot of people struggle this time of year. We are too busy with year-end work obligations, shopping, decorating, traveling, celebrating or avoiding all of the above. But it’s hard to dodge the season. Holiday music is inescapable. Equally inescapable is the season’s themes of generosity and improving yourself in the New Year. So, instead of trying to escape the holidays, embrace its themes with pro bono carols.

Hum them on your way to court or while in a meeting. Share them with your colleagues in the lunchroom. Try a few bars while sitting in a bar. Gather with your partners at the nearest Starbucks and entertain the other caffeine addicts. Wherever you choose to musically celebrate pro bono, kick back, enjoy yourself and remember what’s truly important in your life and in your profession.

To the tune of “Over the River and Through the Wood”

Over the river and through the streets to Daley Center we go.

The cab knows the way to carry us all through the slush of blackened snow — oh.

Over more hurdles, don’t know where to go. Oh jeez I’m full of woe.

I can’t find my way, I’m late and confused and security’s too slow.

Hear there’s a help desk. It’s down one more floor, let’s go without delay.

I talk to a lawyer and show her my stuff. She tells me what to say-ay.

Now I’m in court and I know what to do. It’s almost like child’s play.

The judge ruled for me, I’m done and I’m free. Oh, I won my case today.

Over the river, I’m going back home. Oh look at the glistening snow.

I’m happy and calm ‘cause a lawyer helped me, and told me how to go-oh.

Hurray for the courts and hurray for those folks that help the ones like me.

Hurray for the lawyers who donate their time and sometimes work for free.

To the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”

I’m beginning to feel a whole lot calmer,

Now that I have help.

An attorney reached out to me.

She said she would work for free,

I was so glad I gave a little “yelp!”

I’m beginning to understand pro bono.

I never would have guessed,

That attorneys will work for free,

For those who are poor like me.

It’s true that lawyers really are the best!

To the tune of “I Have a Little Dreidel”

I have a little free time.

I find it here and there.

So I can do pro bono.

I think it’s only fair.

Pro bono, oh pro bono,

There’ll always be a way.

Pro bono, oh pro bono,

To fit you in my day.

To the tune of “White Christmas”

I’m dreaming of my first trial,

That I just won so handily.

Where the jurors listened,

With eyes that glistened,

Thanks to my client’s sad story.

My client had a great case, but

He could not offer any fee.

Or, to put it bluntly,

He had no money.

He really, really needed me.

I represented him, pro bono.

It was a gift to him and me.

Because I did a trial,

That was worthwhile.

And he won his case, and all for free.

To the tune of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

Step up ye merry gentlemen, it’s time you did your part.

And gentle ladies step up too, and show you have a heart.

This season is for giving, so it’s time you made a start.

Pro-o bono brings comfort and joy, comfort and joy.

Pro-o bono brings comfort and joy.

Let’s help our fellow citizens too poor to pay our fee.

They’ll open up that courthouse door ‘cause we gave them the key.

We’ll do our best to help them out and do it all for free.

We will bring them comfort and joy, comfort and joy.

Pro-o bono brings comfort and joy.