What it is:
Pro bono refers to any work or service that someone provides free of charge for the common good.
How it works (Example):
From the Latin phrase "pro bono publico" meaning "for the public good," the motivation behind pro bono work is to benefit society as opposed to making money. Pro bono work often refers to legal services offered without taking a fee. In countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, it is recommended by professional law associations that legal practitioners volunteer a certain number of hours for pro bono service each year. Although pro bono work is most often associated with legal services, it has become common for members of other professions such as medicine and consulting, to extend themselves in a similar manner for the benefit of those less fortunate.
To illustrate the nature of pro bono work, suppose an attorney provides some legal service to low-income families in his community free of charge. The unpaid work done for these families would be considered to be pro bono work, because the attorney is providing his services solely for the benefit of the less fortunate in the community.
Why it Matters:
The altruistic nature of pro bono work can be thought of as more important that the actual work. Attorneys, for instance who engage in pro bono work donate their time and expertise in order to help improve the lives of others in their community.