The Pro Bono Program

Why We Serve

“[E]qual justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists ... it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.”

—JUSTICE LEWIS F. POWELL JR.

“We educated, privileged lawyers have a professional and moral duty to represent the underrepresented in our society, to ensure that justice exists for all, both legal and economic justice.”

—JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR

Established in 1999, the Law School’s Pro Bono Program cultivates a lifelong commitment to the provision of legal services to those in need. We believe that lawyers have a professional obligation to provide pro bono services and ensure access to justice for all.

The program offers all students — from first-years to LL.M.s — the chance to use their developing legal skills on behalf of underrepresented communities and causes. Opportunities to volunteer range from providing assistance to victims of violence seeking protective orders to working on impact litigation for civil rights and racial justice. Through their participation in the Pro Bono Program, students engage in meaningful legal work and gain practical skills while providing legal services to underserved communities in Charlottesville, Virginia and beyond. 

More: Why Do Pro Bono?

Pro Bono Facts, 2021-22

Hours Logged

16,340

by 388 students

The Challenge

99

Class of 2022 graduates completed the 75-hour challenge

Winter Break

6,500

hours logged by 194 students at 101 organizations

The Pro Bono Experience

Students and alumni discuss their experiences volunteering to help others.

Charlotte Bilski

Charlotte Bilski

"During my 1L year, I volunteered with the Virginia Innocence Project. Our weekly meetings were the highlight of my week, as they served as a constant reminder of the type of work I can tackle as a law student and as an attorney."

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

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

Evan Carcerano

Evan Carcerano

"Being able to apply my limited legal knowledge to make a difference for someone who needed it was a fulfilling feeling and cemented for me that I made the right choice to go to law school."

Sabrina Surgil

Sabrina Surgil

"I manned ASC’s immigration hotline and supported attorneys on affirmative asylum applications, deepening my dedication to public interest law through direct client service."

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."

Allison Burns

Allison Burns

"I strongly believe that as law students and future lawyers, we have an obligation to give back to the community and use our education in service of others."

Kiera Goddu

Kiera Goddu

"My pro bono experience made me a stronger candidate for summer jobs in public service that connected my interests of health care and law."

Natasha Halloran

Natasha Halloran

"As a first-generation law student, I was unfamiliar with what to expect of law school. However, I knew that my rigorous law school journey must include humbling and impactful pro bono work."

Nachiketa Baru

Nachiketa Baru

"I believe that my involvement in the pro bono program at UVA has not only prepared me to become a more competent lawyer but a better-rounded and more balanced person."

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."

Doriane Steva Nguenang Tchenga

Doriane Steva Nguenang Tchenga

"I have been able to help in a meaningful way while also developing my legal research, writing and interpersonal skills."

 Wes Williams

Wes Williams

"Experiencing firsthand the power that lawyers can wield on behalf of someone who the system has treated unfairly reminded me why I came to law school in the first place."

Natalia Heguaburo

Natalia Heguaburo

"My pro bono work has allowed me to put the skills I acquired in the classroom into practice. "

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."

Henry Li

Henry Li

"When I wrote legal memoranda for the lawyers, I also had the amazing opportunity to apply and develop what I had just learned the semester before."

Kara Hafermalz

Kara Hafermalz

"When I decided to go to law school, I knew I wanted to engage in meaningful legal work as soon as I could. The program made it possible for me to participate in multiple projects at a pace that fit with my 1L schedule"

Ashley Cordero

Ashley Cordero

"Pro bono has acted as a constant reminder of why I came to law school and has informed me as to what I am striving to do as a lawyer."

Sara DeStefano

Sara DeStefano

"[The Pro Bono Program gave me opportunities to keep] my Spanish language skills sharp and [use] them to provide better access to legal services for Spanish speakers."

Warren Griffiths

Warren Griffiths

"I learned more from my year of pro bono with the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center than from anything else during 1L. "

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."

Andrew Broaddus and Kimberly Emery

Contact

The Pro Bono Program
probono@law.virginia.edu

(434) 924-3883