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Published Aug. 2, 2007

Pro bono isn't just for bleeding hearts anymore," the American Lawyer writes. "Very quietly, big firms are taking on conservative causes as well." Typically, law firms will provide some services for free. They classify the work as "pro bono publico," from Latin, meaning for the public good. And the term is usually shortened to pro bono, as in a lawyer representing a client free is described as working "pro bono." Because the services are typically offered to those who do not have the ability to pay, pro bono work has been associated with liberal causes. But that is changing, Vivia Chen writes. "Bolstered by influential groups like the Federalist Society, religious organizations and pro bono advocates, big firms now regularly champion libertarian causes such as free speech and property rights," she writes. Some are challenging race-based policies and representing groups opposed to gay rights and abortion. For the most part, the lawyers interviewed in the article said that taking on conservative causes does not cause problems within the firm or with their paying clients. For example, Donald B. Ayer, Jones Day's pro bono partner, said that at his firm, lawyers can take on almost any project, providing there is no conflict of interest. "It's a free country."

Hybrid drivers steer clear of stereotypes

You probably have a pretty clear image of who drives a hybrid. Odds are, that image is wrong. According to Reader's Digest, which cites research done by, the facts about hybrid owners are:

- 40 percent are Republicans, and 36 percent are Democrats.

- 31 percent are in the Northeast and 21 percent in the Midwest. Just 16 percent live on the West Coast.

- 57 percent are over age 45.

- About half (49 percent) do not have a college degree.

- And 35 percent make less than $40,000 a year.

It's flight school, complaint division

Just in time for the seemingly endless airline delays this summer, Black Enterprise offers a refresher course about how to complain effectively to the people who run the airlines (or any other business). The first step is to "go to the source." If the company has a formal complaint procedure, "follow it to the letter. Be sure to keep copies of everything." Then put it in writing. "Mail is best, since phone calls may be routed to a call center," which may not have the authority to do what you want, and "e-mails can be easily ignored." The magazine suggested sending everything certified mail with return receipt requested so that the company won't be able to say later that it never got your letter. Make sure you are clear, factual and unemotional in detailing what went wrong. Include names and dates. "The more specific you can be the better." Finally, tell the company exactly what they can do to make you happy. If you want your money back, say so.