I’m a firm believer in giving back to your community. Ever since I was little, I wanted to get involved and make the world a better place. I constantly told my mom I was going to change the world. I got mad I couldn’t volunteer with Habitat for Humanity when I was 9 or 10 and got mad again when I couldn’t volunteer at a domestic violence shelter when I was 16. Now, I’m in a position to change the world and I think the community that welcomes us with open arms deserves some help.
Pro bono work in law school is so important. Currently, I’m the Executive Vice President of Administration for the law school’s Volunteer Student Law Project. We work to pair students up with lawyer in the area through clinics and their regular offices and provide pro bono opportunities for students. I’m lucky with UD. For 50 hours of pro bono work, you get an award at graduation and a notation on your transcript. They truly encourage pro bono work here and I’m glad I’m at a school that does.
Doing pro bono work is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I’ve met people from all walks of life, helped solve problems, met attorneys, and saw different types of law I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. Not only is pro bono work good for the community, it gives you work experience without having to go through the process of finding a job. Most attorneys love to have students come in and learn from them and do some pro bono work. It’s a win-win. You meet attorneys and you get experience. I’m so grateful for the attorneys I’ve met through pro bono work and what they’ve taught me.
Another benefit to pro bono work is it just plain looks good on your resume. This is totally a superficial reason to do pro bono work but it is true. There have been OCIs on campus who want students that are highly involved in their community and pro bono work. I’ve been asked about it in every single interview I’ve done. Showing you have a commitment not only to your education but also to the community shows an employer a lot about you.
There are plenty of ways to get involved with pro bono work. See if there is a group that works with students like our VSLP group does. Reach out to the local bar associations or see if there is a local volunteer lawyers project. Talk to the public defenders office. Reach out to attorneys in general. Pro bono work isn’t just great for the community, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride doing work for people who need your help.