The Pro Bono Program assists students in identifying areas of pro bono interest and finding projects that match their goals and skills. Stay alert and watch for pro bono opportunities advertised through email alerts and on GoodWorks.
The Pro Bono Program actively solicits, develops and administers various types of pro bono clinics and projects. Some of these opportunities are described below.
The Pro Bono Program has developed ongoing partnerships with various law firms and nonprofit and governmental organizations. These projects share many of the structures and learning goals of an academic clinic and they typically require a semester or year-long commitment. In-house pro bono projects provide the opportunity to engage in complex legal work with ongoing training, mentoring and supervision. The number of volunteers accepted is limited and the application process is competitive. Most in-house projects are filled early in the fall semester. Examples of these projects include:
Civil Rights Litigation Pro Bono Clinic
A generous grant from the Jesse Ball DuPont Fund, provides students with the opportunity to volunteer under the supervision of attorneys from the Legal Aid Justice Center on civil rights cases involving policing and race, criminalization of poverty and mental health. (More)
Hunton & Williams Pro Bono Partnership
Students work under supervision by attorneys from the firm’s Richmond office and the associate in the firm’s Charlottesville Pro Bono Office to assist victims of domestic violence with protective orders, child support and custody/visitation issues. Other projects include factual and legal research in cases for clients with immigration and/or housing law issues. (More)
Other In-House Projects
Other projects are available with the Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center, the Federal Public Defender, Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren program and the Virginia Innocence Project Pro Bono Clinic.
Ad-Hoc Pro Bono Opportunities
These are shorter-term pro bono opportunities with discrete time commitments. These projects are available on a first-come, first-served basis with a variety of local and national organizations.
Student Organization–Sponsored Projects
These are opportunities sponsored by student pro bono groups and approved by the Pro Bono Program. Such projects include the Migrant Farmworker Project, Virginia Employment and Labor Law Association (VELLA), StreetLaw and the Virginia Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA).
Winter Break Pro Bono Projects
With the support and guidance of the Pro Bono Program, students arrange short-term pro bono projects to be completed during the winter and/or spring break. These opportunities allow students to spend a concentrated period of time volunteering while also exploring potential career options. In 2017, 111 students participated in the Winter Break Pro Bono Program, volunteering over 5,000 hours at 95 organizations across the country.
Alternative Spring Break Program (ASB)
Coordinated by the Public Interest Law Association (PILA), ASB offers pro bono trips which involve projects in rural, inner city or other underserved areas. Previous ASB spring break pro bono projects have included legal aid, nonprofit and public defender organizations in Charlottesville; the Bronx; Richmond, Virginia; New Orleans; and Jackson, Mississippi.
This national database, designed to facilitate student public service and pro bono work, includes more than 200 law school members and more than 13,000 public service organizations. Students can visit psjd.org to open a free account and search for potential sponsoring organizations or pro bono opportunities in various geographic or substantive law areas.