How to Find a Pro Bono Opportunity
The Pro Bono Program strives to provide all students with an appropriate pro bono project. New project opportunities are advertised to students through email alerts and are viewable on GoodWorks.
In-House Projects The Pro Bono Program has developed ongoing partnerships with several law firms and nonprofit organizations. In-house projects share many of the structures and goals of a clinical experience. These projects typically require a semester or year-long commitment of approximately 3-8 hours per week. They provide students with the opportunity to do high-quality legal work under the direct supervision of practicing attorneys. The number of volunteers for each project is limited and the application process is competitive. Projects are typically filled early in the fall semester.
The "Rock House," home of the Hunton & Williams
Pro Bono Partnership in Charlottesville
Hunton & Williams Pro Bono Partnership –Under the supervision of attorneys from the firm’s Richmond office and the associate in the firm’s Charlottesville Pro Bono Office, students volunteer to assist indigent family law clients with protective orders, child support and custody/visitation issues. Other students will conduct factual and legal research in cases for clients with immigration and/or housing law issues. (More)
Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates (PCASA) – Student volunteers are trained to serve as advocates in the court system for the best interests of children who have been adjudicated to be abused or neglected. or neglected.
Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic –Student volunteers assist in evaluating claims of innocence by prisoners in Virginia, and assessing the appropriate avenues of legal relief available. (More)
Such projects are also typically available with local organizations like the Rutherford Institute, the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, and the Federal Public Defender.
Ad-Hoc Pro Bono Opportunities These are shorter-term pro bono opportunities with more limited time commitments than the In-House projects. These projects are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All projects are publicized through e-mail alerts and viewable on Goodworks.
Student Organization Sponsored Projects These are projects organized by student groups and pre-approved by the Pro Bono Program. Examples include the Migrant Farmworker Project, Virginia Employment and Labor Law Association (VELLA), StreetLaw and the Virginia Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
Student-Initiated Pro Bono OpportunitiesStudents may also develop their own pro bono projects. To begin the process, students should directly contact the organization they are interested in volunteering with. If the organization is willing and able to host them as a volunteer, the supervisor should complete the appropriate Student-Initiated Pro Bono Project Form using GoodWorks. The form will be submitted to the staff of the Pro Bono Program for approval.
PSJD This national database, designed to facilitate student public service and pro bono work, includes more than 200 law school members and more than 13,000 public service organizations. Students can visit psjd.org to open a free account and search for potential sponsoring organizations or pro bono opportunities in various geographic or substantive law areas.