Josh Sheptow, a Stanford law student, argues in a Washington Post editorial that pro bono work by high-priced lawyers is a highly inefficient means of providing legal services to the poor. It would make more sense for everyone involved if such lawyers donated their fees instead of their time.
I fully agree -- indeed, I made the same point myself a couple of years ago. I'm sure I wasn't the first to make it, but I may have been the first to have coined a good term for the practice: proxy bono. Let's see if it catches on like snowclone.
(Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the pointer.)