Why Do Pro Bono?

Why Do Pro Bono?

Serve Those in Need

“It is the daily; it is the small; it is the cumulative injuries of the little people that we are here to protect. If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice.”

—Chief Judge Learned Hand, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit

For those without the financial resources to hire an attorney there is no access to justice. A recent report on the “justice gap” released by the Legal Services Corporation found that almost 90% of the civil legal needs of low-income people are unmet. Pro bono service is essential to ensuring access to justice for all.

In addition to meeting critical legal needs, pro bono is a excellent opportunity for law students to work for a cause they are passionate about, explore new areas of practice, cultivate mentors, build a professional networks, and develop critical legal research and writing skills.

Develop Legal Skills

Pro bono provides the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with direct client service, impact litigation, policy advocacy and community education. Such skills allow you to stand out in a competitive job market. Additionally, you can create a dynamic writing sample to share with potential employers.

Pro Bono Builds Skills:

  • Client Counseling
  • Research and Writing
  • Oral Advocacy
  • Courtroom Procedure
  • Legislative Drafting
  • Community Education and Organizing
  • Policy Advocacy

Create a Professional Network

When you volunteer to do pro bono, you will be working under the supervision of expert attorneys. You will have the opportunity to develop the professional relationships critical for career advancement. Pro bono helps you to cultivate legal mentors and potential recommenders. Volunteering for a pro bono project in a new area of legal practice allows you test out a possible career choice while demonstrating your commitment to public service.

Engage in Meaningful Work

Finally, by engaging in pro bono service, you will experience the personal satisfaction that comes from making a real difference in someone’s life. (More) Pro bono offers a break from academics and the classroom while you help solve real world legal problems for clients in need.

Charlotte Bilski

Charlotte Bilski '22

"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."