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.”

—U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE LEWIS F. POWELL JR.

“I think lawyers who engage in pro bono service to protect those who cannot help themselves are truly the heroes and the heroines of the legal profession.”

—JANET RENO, THE FIRST WOMAN TO SERVE AS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Established in 1999, the Law School’s Pro Bono Program seeks to cultivate in students a lifelong commitment to the provision of legal services to communities in need. We believe that members of the legal community have a professional obligation to provide quality legal services to those who could not otherwise afford representation.

The program offers all students — from first-years to LL.M.s — the chance to use their developing legal skills to help clients in need and ensure access to justice for all. Opportunities range from providing in-person assistance to victims of violence seeking protective orders to working on impact litigation for civil rights and racial justice. By participating in the Pro Bono Program, students will engage in meaningful legal work and gain practical skills while providing critical legal services to underserved communities in Charlottesville, Virginia and beyond. 

More: Why Do Pro Bono?

Pro Bono Facts, 2019-20

Hours Logged

14,394

by 339 students

The Challenge

91

Class of 2020 graduates completed the 75-hour challenge

Winter Break

135

students logged hours at 98 organizations

Alternative Spring Break

60

students logged hours

The Pro Bono Experience

Students and alumni discuss their experiences volunteering to help others.

Kevin Jackson

Kevin Jackson

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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

 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."

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. "

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. The UVA Law Pro Bono Program is a great way to get involved in the community through interesting and engaging projects."

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."

 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."

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."

Andrew Broaddus and Kimberly Emery

Contact

The Pro Bono Program
probono@law.virginia.edu

(434) 924-3883