Winter and Spring Break Pro Bono

Winter and Spring Break Pro Bono

Winter Break Pro Bono

Winter break pro bono projects are arranged by students and completed during the first two weeks of January. These projects are ideal for students who choose not to participate in pro bono during the academic year and/or students in need pro bono hours for their PILA grant application.

Winter break projects are student initiated.

1. Where will you be over the break?

Students often arrange a project in their hometown. (*The number of students seeking projects in the Charlottesville area is usually greater than the number of opportunities.

2. When do you want to volunteer? 

Plan to volunteer at least 40 hours to make the experience valuable to you and your host organization.

3. What type of project interests you?

Volunteering for nonprofit organizations, state/local governmental agencies, prosecutors and public defender qualifies for pro bono credit. Projects with the federal government are often difficult to arrange due to lengthy background checks. Volunteering for a judge does not qualify as pro bono.  can be used to research potential host organizations by creating a free account and searching for public service organizations by geographic or subject area.

4. How do you arrange a project?

Contact potential host organizations via email. Here is an example of a script you can use to make the initial contact. Attach a copy of your resume to your initial email. If you do not receive a response within two business days, send a follow up email. If you still do not receive a response, follow up by phone.

Do not spend more than one week trying to connect with an organization. Reach out to one organization at a time beginning with your top choice and moving down your list.

The Pro Bono Program is happy to assist you in locating a placement but we ask that you first attempt to contact two or three organizations on your own. If you would like to know if we have alumni or other contacts at an organization send an email to

5. How do you seal the deal?

Your supervising attorney completes the Winter Break Project form here. Your supervisor should list you as the student volunteer when they submit this form.

Log your pro bono hours in GoodWorks.

Alternative Spring Break Pro Bono (ASB)

ASB is administered through the Public Interest Law Association (PILA) and offers a week-long pro bono experience during spring break week in March.  In 2017, 29 students participated in 9 trips to volunteer with legal aid, nonprofit, and public defender organizations throughout the east coast, including Charlottesville, Washington, DC, Norfolk, Charlotte, Greensboro, and New Orleans.

Alternative Spring Break Application

Only legal work can be logged as hours for the Pro Bono Challenge. ASB volunteers should confirm in advance which hours qualify as pro bono.

Andrew Ognibene '18

"Over the past two years, I’ve done civil rights work, issue advocacy, Supreme Court litigation, wills and probate work, and community economic development, and that just scratches the surface of what's possible here."