Are you a fan of pro bono work? Then you’ll want to know about Law Students for Pro Bono, a campaign calling for the ABA to adopt an aspirational goal that all law students perform at least 50 hours of pro bono work during law school.
Today, we’re pleased to welcome back Radhika Singh Miller, Senior Program Manager, Law School Relations at Equal Justice Works, to explain how YOU can get involved!
What is Law Students for Pro Bono?
Law Students for Pro Bono is an exciting new initiative for law students who believe pro bono can make a difference. Equal Justice Works is supporting the hundreds of law students and graduates who are speaking up through the campaign, asking the ABA to adopt an aspirational goal for law students to participate in 50 hours of pro bono. The deadline for comments is this Friday, Jan. 31! There’s still time to add your support by signing the online petition today.
Participating in pro bono during law school is a great way to gain valuable real-world experience working with clients, and on real cases, while helping to increase access to justice to those who otherwise might be shut out. You not only get to add it to your résumé, you also gain the confidence you need to enter the world as a newly-minted lawyer.
One 2L’s Pro Bono Story
Law students like Nikita Floore, a 2L at the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law, have greatly benefited from pro bono work. So far, she’s completed more than 300 hours of volunteer legal services.
A veteran herself, Nikita, worked with LGB service members and LGBT veterans as an Equal Justice Works Summer Corps member at OutServe-SLDN and she currently serves as a student attorney at her school’s Civil Rights of Persons with Disabilities Clinic.
Nikita is a leading advocate for Law Students for Pro Bono. Here’s why she is encouraging her classmates to sign on:
I am supporting the Law Students for Pro Bono Initiative because, as a soon-to be lawyer, I believe that the legal profession is a noble profession and giving back is a way to keep the legacy of providing support and services to the community alive.
Often times, pro bono legal services are the only access some individuals have to gaining representation and advice for their legal matters.
Law students should care about pro bono because it is a way that lawyers as a profession can give back to the communities in which they serve, and it helps to instill the importance of providing low or no cost legal services to members of the community.
Opportunities to participate in pro bono and volunteer legal work are one of the reasons I chose to attend my law school.
One of the highlights of my volunteer legal experiences has been the opportunity to combine my personal interest in enhancing veteran services with volunteer legal work. As a veteran, I became interested in OutServe-SLDN because the organization provided legal services and support to gay and lesbian service members actively serving in the United States Armed Forces and LGBT veterans discharged from active duty. I was able to talk with service members about specific instances of inequality, and work to resolve them through various mechanisms including but not limited to referrals, discharge upgrade requests, and client information gathering.
I gained a level of knowledge and understanding of nonprofit legal organizations and substantive areas of the law that impact a specific segment of the population. Raising awareness about the issues that plague our nation’s heroes offered me an experience that I will never forget.
So many students come to law school to make a difference. But to be effective lawyers, we need training and experience. Pro bono gives us both, and helps us give back.
We want to tell the ABA, and everyone else, that law students — the next generation of lawyers — care about equal justice.
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Thanks for the info, and good luck with the campaign!
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Want more info on public interest options? Check out these posts:
- Thinking About Public Interest Work? Find Out About LRAP, Getting the Job You Want, and More!
- How Can Anyone Afford to Do Public Interest Work? Equal Justice Works Explains Some Options
- Want a Public Interest Job? Find Out How to Get One Here!
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Have questions about pro bono work or the campaign? Leave them in the comments!