Social Justice Monday – Going Pro Bono: Engage in Legal Work that Ignites Your Passion and Builds Your Career

Social Justice Monday – Going Pro Bono: Engage in Legal Work that Ignites Your Passion and Builds Your Career

January 23, 2017

This Social Justice Monday featured representatives from the Access to Justice Institute (ATJI) and the Center for Professional Development (CPD). The representatives outlined out why law students should integrate pro bono work their legal education, and the many options—open even to 1Ls—for doing so. Volunteer work not only gives context to what students learn in the classroom, but also enhances resumes and helps students find great jobs both during school and afterwards.

This presentation also included an introduction to fellowships. If you are a 2L or a 3L thinking about a summer or post-graduation fellowship, you are encouraged to reach out to CPD for additional information and personalized recommendations.

Attorneys and students from organizations that are currently doing exciting pro bono work were also on hand to discuss their organizations and ways to get involved.

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources from the Law Library:

Cover ImagePublic Interest Lawyering: A Contemporary Perspective

Alan Chen
Scott Cummings

Library LAW-4th Floor (KF299.P8C44 2013)

Public Interest Lawyering is the first comprehensive analysis of public interest lawyering that is suitable as a law school elective text and/or advanced legal profession courses and seminars. Drawing upon a range of theoretical and empirical perspectives, this timely textbook examines the lives of public interest lawyers, the clients and causes they serve, the contexts within which they work, the strategies they deploy, and the challenges they face today.

Hallmark features of Public Interest Lawyering are:

  • The first comprehensive overview of the broad range of contemporary issues faced by public interest lawyers in any American law school text.
    Thorough discussion of important theoretical issues about the scope and definition of public interest lawyering.
  • Addresses American public interest law from a historical perspective with focus on current issues.
    Expansive examination of the settings in which public interest practice occurs, including nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and private law firms.
    Presents the advantages and limits of different legal strategies in public interest practice, including lobbying, public education, community organizing, and community economic development.
  • Addresses contemporary challenges of public interest law in context, including economics and financing, legal ethics, the role of legal education, and the globalization of public interest practice.
  • Discusses critiques of public interest law, including a reflection about the role of lawyers in social movements that addresses contemporary critiques.
  • Ethical obligations of public interest lawyers.
  • Explores special issues related to lawyer-client relations in social change contexts.


Cover ImageStandards for Programs Providing Civil Pro Bono Legal Services to People of Limited Means

American Bar Association

Library LAW-4th Floor (KF336.A7165 2014)

Organized Pro Bono programs have existed in the United States for over a century, and provide options for those who may not have access to legal services. The number of pro bono programs is continually increasing however, not all pro bono programs succeed and are effective. Due the changing nature and the multiple types of Pro Bono programs the Standards for Programs Providing Civil Pro Bono Legal Services to Persons of Limited Means provides guidance on the necessary elements of an effective pro bono program. This includes, becoming effective and efficient in finding volunteers, meeting the clients’ needs, and providing high quality service for volunteer lawyers and clients.

The Standards have been crafted specifically for programs and components of programs which provide free civil legal services to persons of limited means through the use of volunteers. Even though this book is specific based, many other pro bono models can benefit from the standards and guidance this resource provides. This publication offers the “black letter” Standards adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in 2013 as well as updated commentary and practical resources for implementing the Standards. – From the American Bar Association

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To Establish Justice for All: The Past and Future of Civil Legal Aid in the United States

Earl Johnson

Library LAW-4th Floor (KF336.J64 2014)

American statesman Sargent Shriver called the Legal Services Program the “most important” of all the War on Poverty programs he started; American Bar Association president Edward Kuhn said its creation was the most important development in the history of the legal profession. Earl Johnson Jr., a former director of the War on Poverty’s Legal Services Program, provides a vivid account of the entire history of civil legal aid from its inception in 1876 to the current day. The first to capture the full story of the dramatic, ongoing struggle to bring equal justice to those unable to afford a lawyer, this monumental three-volume work covers the personalities and events leading to a national legal aid movement—and decades later, the federal government’s entry into the field, and its creation of a unique institution, an independent Legal Services Corporation, to run the program. The narrative also covers the landmark court victories the attorneys won and the political controversies those cases generated, along with the heated congressional battles over the shape and survival of the Legal Services Corporation. In the final chapters, the author assesses the current state of civil legal aid and its future prospects in the United States. – From the Publisher

If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.