Pro bono programs help students develop professionalism and an understanding of a lawyer's responsibility to the community.
Participation facilitates student involvement in the community and increases the availability of legal services to needy populations.
Students also benefit by increasing their knowledge and marketability, gaining practical experience, developing skills, enhancing their reputations and exploring alternative career opportunities.
Principal benefits that can derive from a pro bono program.
Helps Fill Gaps in the Availability of Legal Representation
A well-organized pro bono program can enhance lawyers’ ability to fill the gaps between the legal needs of the most disadvantaged in society and their ability to find counsel. It can also enhance lawyers’ ability to fill in other gaps, such as when nonprofits or public interest law groups cannot afford counsel, and need legal help to handle matters effectively on behalf of public interest litigants.
The responsibility to perform pro bono services sets the legal profession apart from other societal roles. Pro bono opportunities offered by law schools teach students that for the economically disadvantaged, the inability to obtain legal services for basic needs, can have dire consequences.
Students learn firsthand that for many people, pro bono legal assistance is vital to maintaining minimum levels of basic needs such as government benefits, income, shelter, utilities, child support and physical protection.
The special skills they develop during law school can significantly benefit the underprivileged.
Both law students and lawyers need to place greater emphasis on their ethical responsibility to provide pro bono services, in order to bridge the rapidly growing gap between the legal needs of those who cannot afford legal services and the resources available to meet those needs.
Who is entitled to a free lawyer?
The Constitution guarantees free legal help for people who are charged with a crime which might lead to imprisonment and who cannot afford a lawyer. If you find yourself in this situation, request the appointment of a public defender when you first appear in court.
In the United States, law is primarily taught at law schools.
In the United States law schools are graduate/professional schools where a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission. Most law schools are part of universities but a few are independent institutions.
Law schools in the United States award graduating students a J.D. (Juris Doctor / Doctor of Law) (as opposed to Bachelor or Laws) as the standard law degree.