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 will volunteer to end the justice gap, enhance their legal education and cultivate a life-long commitment to providing pro bono legal services to the poor and underrepresented.

Established in 1999, the Law School’s 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, 2017-18

Hours Logged

15,244

Volunteers

340

students logged hours

The Challenge

100

Class of 2018 graduates completed the 75-hour challenge

Winter Break

147

students logged hours at 109 organizations

The Pro Bono Experience

Students and alumni discuss their experiences volunteering to help others.

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."

Tex Pasley

Tex Pasley

"We worked with the [Virginia] Supreme Court to draft a model payment plan policy that would ensure low-income individuals could repay their court costs and fees while keeping their driver's license."

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."

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."

 Chinmayi Sharma

Chinmayi Sharma

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

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. "

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. "

Nate Freeman

Nate Freeman

"For years I have been interested in getting involved with legal issues related to religious expression. 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."

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."

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

"I can’t overstate how helpful it has been to get real-world experience under the supervision of practicing attorneys. I have no legal background, and I had very little idea of what I was getting myself into when I came to law school. Pro bono projects allowed me to learn practical legal skills from attorneys in Virginia, Florida and North Carolina. "

Christian “Josh” Myers

Christian “Josh” Myers

"Even though I made great connections and developed my legal skills, the most gratifying part of my experience was knowing that my work was helping to advance the public interest. 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."

Sarah Houston

Sarah Houston

"When I started my summer internship at the International Refugee Assistance Project this May, I was so thankful for the foundation that I had built during my winter and spring break projects. It was because of my exposure to refugee and asylum law earlier this year that I was able to hit the ground running at IRAP."

Jessica Douglas

Jessica Douglas

"Being able to use a unique skill set to provide a lasting impact is both a deeply humbling and intellectually challenging experience. These opportunities are also what motivated me to spend a portion of my summer at the Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C."

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."

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."

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."

Stephanie Boutsicaris

Stephanie Boutsicaris

"Over my winter breaks in law school, I was able to interview potential witnesses for a death penalty case with the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center and assist with a felony robbery case with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia while it went to trial."

Andrew Broaddus and Kimberly Emery

Contact

The Pro Bono Program
probono@law.virginia.edu

(434) 924-3883