Student Pro Bono Resources
Pro bono legal service is grounded in ABA Model Rule 6.1 of Professional Responsibility which states that:
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. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:
(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:
(1) persons of limited means or
(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and
(b) provide any additional services through:
(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources or would be otherwise inappropriate;
(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or
(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.
In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
Most law schools have formal pro bono programs and many require students to perform a certain number of hours of pro bono work in order to graduate. According to the ABA, “[i]n the law school setting, pro bono generally refers to student provision of voluntary, law-related services to people of limited means or to community-based nonprofit organizations, for which the student does not receive academic credit or pay.” Before performing pro bono service law students should understand what they can and cannot do under ABA Model Rule 5.5 prohibiting the unauthorized practice of law.
Resources for Law Student Pro Bono Leaders:
The best place for law students to start looking for pro bono opportunities is with their law school’s Pro Bono program staff. Most law schools have pro bono resources and can cannot students with a range of pro bono opportunities.
ABA Section of Legal Education and Bar Admission, Pro Bono site: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/pro_bono.html
ABA Center for Pro bono-Law Schools contains resources for students at: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/center-pro-bono/resources/directory_of_law_school_public_interest_pro_bono_programs/
National Center for Access to Justice:
Law Student Pro Bono Opportunities:
Connecting Justice Communities: http://www.connectingjusticecommunities.com/services/
Pro Bono Project: http://www.probonoproject.org/volunteering/
One Justice: https://onejustice.org/
Metro Volunteer Lawyers: https://www.denbar.org/mvl
Community Law Program: https://lawprogram.org/
Chicago Bar: https://www.chicagobar.org/chicagobar/
Legal Services NJ: http://www.lsnj.org/sjls/probono.htm
Law Students in Action Project: http://www.probono.net/oppsguide/organization.68013-Law_Students_in_Action_Project
Legal Aid Society of New York: https://www.legalaidnyc.org/
Public Patent Foundation: http://www.pubpat.org/Legal_Support.htm
Philly VIP: https://www.phillyvip.org/
DC Law Students in Court: http://www.probono.net/oppsguide/organization.147839-DC_Law_Students_in_Court_Program