- Why Do Pro Bono?
- The Pro Bono Challenge
- How to Find a Pro Bono Opportunity
- Ethics and Professional Behavior
- Information for Project Supervisors
- Log Your Pro Bono Hours
- Selecting a Law Firm Committed to Pro Bono
- Seeking Legal Assistance?
- Winter Pro Bono Materials
- New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement
- Pro Bono Home
Established in 1999, the Law School’s Pro Bono Program develops and administers pro bono opportunities for students while responding to the volunteer needs of community groups and other outside organizations such as prosecutors, public defenders, legal services, nonprofits, government agencies and private law firms providing pro bono services. The Pro Bono Program administers several in-house projects, develops and identifies a variety of ad-hoc pro bono opportunities throughout the academic year, and supports winter and spring break pro bono projects.
The American Bar Association (ABA) encourages all lawyers to aspire to render, without fee, at least 50 hours annually of pro bono legal services. Due to limited government-funded legal services, pro bono has become an essential part of ensuring access to justice for the indigent and underrepresented. The ABA makes clear that lawyers have a professional and ethical duty to make access to justice a reality for all, as the preamble to the ABA Ethical Code states, “A lawyer has a responsibility as a ‘public citizen’ to act throughout their career to improve the delivery of legal services to the underrepresented.” The Law School is committed to instilling this ethic of service in its graduates. The Pro Bono Program responds to the professional obligation of lawyers to ensure access to justice by providing law students with an introduction to pro bono before they even enter the profession, with the goal of promoting a lifetime commitment to public service.
Pro bono work enhances your law school experience by connecting the academic work you do in the classroom to the real world of practice. In addition to providing critically needed legal services to the underrepresented, pro bono is:
- a structured way to gain practical experience in legal research and writing, client interviewing and other advocacy skills
- an opportunity to try different practice areas or career options
- a way to strengthen your resume or to demonstrate relevant work experience and legal skills
- an avenue to attain attorney mentoring and career-planning advice
- for personal satisfaction (see sidebar testimonials for what some of our student volunteers had to say about their pro bono experiences)