Public Interest Law Initiative

Highlights from PILI’s 2015 Law School Pro Bono Roundtable

Posted on: July 13, 2015

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It’s not often that staff from law schools across the region have a chance to connect with each other and talk about what they’re doing to strengthen and grow their public interest and pro bono programs. PILI’s annual Law School Pro Bono Roundtable, held last week on July 9th at Seyfarth Shaw, was a unique opportunity for law school representatives to share, discuss, brainstorm and learn from each other.

With 13 law schools at the table, we had a rich and varied discussion about what these schools are doing with their pro bono programs, about how they have overcome obstacles, and about innovative ideas they’ve implemented to take their pro bono programs to the next level.

Engaging and motivating law students was one major topic of discussion. Here is a short list of strategies we discussed for helping students get plugged in.

1. Connect with Student Organizations

Work with a broad range of student groups at the law school and undergraduate campus to foster collaboration and community-building among public-interest minded law students.

2. Use a Targeted Outreach Approach

Take 1-2 students out to lunch with public interest attorneys, alumni or faculty with similar interests, and build relationships with natural student leaders who can help plan and champion activities.

3. Look to Your Alumni for Pro Bono Opportunities and Support

Ask your alumni at law firms or public interest organizations to pair with interested law students for a pro bono case or project. Don’t forget that alumni can support pro bono at your school by donating not just money but also miles or hotel points, which can be used for student pro bono trips.

Interested in joining this discussion? PILI holds this and other Pro Bono Roundtable events every year. Learn more about our Pro Bono Roundtables and Forums »

You can also join us for our Illinois Forum on Pro Bono in Chicago on October 8th.

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