On Ukraine: Tweets are Cheap, but Billable Hours Aren’t

Before law school, I majored in English, not Political Science.

So, as I see the news about the war in Ukraine, I don’t understand the politics behind the invasion (probably because there’s no just reason for this), but I absolutely see the tragedy. The fathers saying goodbye to their families. The injured and scared kids. The destroyed houses.

Photo from: https://twitter.com/verkhovna_rada/status/1498613193794625544?s=20&t=kZwUp1cKqaDLgujkNGLTWQ

I also see the bravery of the Ukrainian leaders and in the Ukrainian people. I bet there’s a hot-shot Ukrainian lawyer out there whose “to-do” list today didn’t consist of legal research, but instead defending their city from armed forces.

What would I do if that happened to my family? To my country?

Other than a few sympathetic tweets offering the typical “thoughts and prayers,” what can I do to help? I’m just a lawyer in Nashville.

Oh right. My time is valuable. Let’s donate that.

Next Thursday, March 10, I’ll donate all of my billable hours from legal work to humanitarian efforts supporting Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees.

I’m a lawyer (see above), so I’m sure you all will expect some fine print.

Here goes:

  • I will donate all billable hours, but don’t forget that I’m a small shop (so don’t expect a 24 hour day–I also do the IT and bookkeeping)
  • I’ll show my math, though, and I will post both the final tally at the end of the day, as well as the receipt for the donation (to be made on March 11)
  • I haven’t yet decided on the organization, but I’m open to suggestions for worthy organizations (my children and I are going to vote) (Edited: We are supporting World Central Kitchen)
  • If you’re a new or existing client who would like me to work on your file specifically on March 10, let me know
  • If you’re a lawyer or law firm who wants to out-donate me, you are welcome (and encouraged) to steal this idea

That last point is important.

I have the privilege and the luxury to donate my entire day to this cause. Some big law firms may not want donate 100% of the day. But can you imagine if some of Nashville’s largest law firms donated just one hour of each lawyer’s billable hours on March 10 to this?

As an aside, I also hear the skepticism about the Western world’s support for Ukraine, when there’s been an absence of similar responses for black and brown people facing similar crises. I also don’t know the answer for that, but I agree.

So, assuming this isn’t a massive failure and doesn’t send me into bankruptcy, let’s plan to do this again next month, on April 13, to help Syrian refugees.

Author: David

I am a creditors rights and commercial litigation attorney in Nashville, Tennessee.

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