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 can be no access to justice. A recent report on the “justice gap” released by the Legal Services Corporation found that more than 80% of the civil legal needs of low-income people are unmet. Pro bono is essential to increasing the capacity of the legal profession to meet the needs of indigent clients.

In addition to serving under-represented populations, pro bono prepares you to practice law by cultivating mentors, building professional networks, enhancing your legal skills and working for a cause you are passionate about. You can also explore new areas of law outside of academics and summer internships. We encourage you to make a pro bono a regular part of your professional life.

Develop Legal Skills

Pro bono provides the opportunity to gain practical experience and develop legal skills that will allow you to stand out 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 critical for career advancement. Pro bono supervisors are also an excellent source for recommendation letters and job search 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 offers a break from the classroom and allows you 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)

Jennifer Kelso

Jennifer Kelso '21

"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."