Why Do Pro Bono?

Why Do Pro Bono?

"Lawyers have a license to practice law, a monopoly on certain services. But for that privilege and status, lawyers have an obligation to provide legal services to those without the wherewithal to pay, to respond to needs outside themselves, to help repair tears in their communities."

—former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A Professional Duty: Serve Those in Need

The American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rule 6.1 establishes the professional responsibility of  members of the legal profession to provide pro bono service.

Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.

For those without the financial resources to hire an attorney there is no access to justice. It is estimated by the Legal Services Corporation that over 80% of the civil legal needs of low-income people are unmet. The provision of pro bono services is essential if access to justice is to be a reality for all.

Every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay, and personal involvement in the problems of the disadvantaged can be one of the most rewarding experiences in the life of a lawyer. - ABA Model Rule 6.1, Comment 1

In addition to serving those unable to afford legal services, pro bono prepares you to practice law by building legal skills.  Volunteering also allows you to develop a professional network,  cultivate legal mentors, and explore new areas of law.  Most importantly, pro bono is routinely cited as one of the most rewarding parts of practicing law.

Develop Legal Skills

Pro bono provides the opportunity to gain practical experience and develop the skills necessary to succeed in a competitive job market.

Pro Bono Builds Critical Skills:

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

Create a Professional Network

As a pro bono volunteer, you will work under the supervision of expert attorneys and have the opportunity to develop the mentor relationships necessary for professional advancement. Pro bono supervisors are also an excellent resource for letters of recommendation and networking contacts.

Engage in Meaningful Work

By volunteering to do pro bono, you will experience the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference in someone’s life. (More) Pro bono provides a break from the classroom and is an opportunity to solve real world legal problems for clients in need.

*Pro Bono Students Help Client Save $10,000 in Court (11/6/20)
*How Law Students Helped Others During The Pandemic (1/1/21)
*Student Wins Virginia State Bar Pro Bono Award (5/12/21)
*Students Support Effort To Get Afghan Family Members Into U.S. (10/25/21)

Evan Carcerano

Evan Carcerano '24

"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."