The Pro Bono Program

Why We Serve

“As far back as judges and lawyers have existed, the pursuit of equal justice for all, rich and poor alike, has been the hallmark of our profession.”

—CHIEF JUDGE JONATHAN LIPPMAN, State of New York, Court of Appeals

The Law School’s Pro Bono Program embodies the vision that all law students should volunteer to end the justice gap, enhance their legal education and cultivate a life-long commitment to providing pro bono legal services to the marginalized and underrepresented.

Established in 1999, the Pro Bono Program develops projects and opportunities for students to engage in pro bono;

• supports students and their supervising attorneys;

• cooperates with outside organizations to increase the availability of legal services to those in need; and

• works to inculcate students with an ethic of service and commitment to pro bono throughout their professional careers.

More: Why Do Pro Bono?

 

Pro Bono Facts, 2018-19

Hours Logged

15,998

Volunteers

312

students logged hours

The Challenge

72

Class of 2019 graduates completed the 75-hour challenge

Winter Break

168

students logged hours at 100 organizations

 

The Pro Bono Experience

Students and alumni discuss their experiences volunteering to help others.

Shweta Kumar

Shweta Kumar

"Unique pro bono projects can also be a valuable way to break into a niche area of law, such as public interest IP or health data privacy. Pro bono work can serve as a reminder of why we came to law school in the first place: to serve our communities and effect positive change"

Shanthi Rajagopalan

Shanthi Rajagopalan

"Within the past year, I was given the opportunity to do pro bono work with a prosecutor's office in my hometown. I also became involved with the Innocence Project at the Law School."

Diane Philips

Diane Philips

"During my 1L year, I was surprised that I was able to start volunteering with the Innocence Project at UVA within the first few weeks of school. Engaging in this hands-on work during law school has fueled my passion for defense work and prepared me to be a dedicated advocate for my future clients."

Corey Parker

Corey Parker

"As a bonus, I ended up with a summer internship at Charlottesville-Albemarle Public Defender’s Office as a result of the relationships I built through winter pro bono."

Sarah Houston

Sarah Houston

"It was because of my exposure to refugee and asylum law earlier this year that I was able to hit the ground running at the International Refugee Assistance Project."

Ben Kim

Ben Kim

"The Pro Bono Program helped me gain actual, practical experience as a first-year student. I spent my winter break volunteering at the Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office where I was given the opportunity to contribute work that actually had an effect on real-life cases."

Jennifer Kelso

Jennifer Kelso

"Last year I did pro bono work over winter break at the same organization where I had previously worked as a legal assistant. While there, I took on more substantive work than I had as a legal assistant, and it was great to be able to do that with attorneys I already knew well."

Peter Kye

Peter Kye

"On an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Mississippi Center for Justice, I met with victims of the Gulf Oil Spill and helped them file claims to get compensation. Through my pro bono work, I have developed a better understanding of the issues facing low-income communities as a whole, as well as how to address the needs of individual clients."

Sara DeStefano

Sara DeStefano

"I enrolled at the University of Virginia with the intent of both keeping my Spanish language skills sharp and using them to provide better access to legal services for Spanish speakers. The Pro Bono Program provided me with opportunities to do just that. "

 Chinmayi Sharma

Chinmayi Sharma

"The available projects are diverse, engaging and far from overly time-consuming. "

Jah Akande

Jah Akande

"Community service and volunteerism are core components of who I am, so it was extremely important when coming to law school that I remained mindful and intentional about giving back to the community."

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

"I can’t overstate how helpful it has been to get real-world experience under the supervision of practicing attorneys."

Nate Freeman

Nate Freeman

"I never would have guessed that within a couple months of beginning law school I would have the opportunity to do legal research for a church in a highly publicized Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert."

Amy Fly

Amy Fly

"I worked on investigation for a case in the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic, and conducted records collection and review for a death penalty appeal in Nebraska."

Cory Sagduyu

Cory Sagduyu

"During my first winter break, I worked at Ayuda, where I helped victims of human trafficking and domestic violence to gain immigration status. Later, at Human Rights First, I helped victims of political persecution, domestic violence, and trafficking to apply for asylum. "

Andrew Ognibene

"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."

Christian “Josh” Myers

Christian “Josh” Myers

"While a pro bono project is short, one has the opportunity to make a positive difference in a limited amount of time. That difference can dramatically achieve justice or impact an individual’s life for the better. "

Amber Strickland

Amber Strickland

"I came to law school to learn how to be a public interest lawyer, and pro bono work allowed me to move beyond academia to the real-world impact of the law."

Andrew Broaddus and Kimberly Emery

Contact

The Pro Bono Program
probono@law.virginia.edu

(434) 924-3883