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Connecting with Students Virtually: Highlights from the 2020 Law School Pro Bono Roundtable

On July 29th, law school pro bono leaders met remotely for the Law School Pro Bono Roundtable. This year, the group discussed engaging with law students remotely due to the pandemic.

Sharing an Update from PILI

Brent shared information from the 2020 class of Interns and Fellows as well as insights on how their work shifted this summer. He also let the attendees know that PILI would be hosting Explore the Possibilities remotely at the end of September and that PILI’s pro bono opportunities were continuing remotely.

Engaging Students and Alumni with Illinois Free Legal Answers

The group then went over Illinois Free Legal Answers and some of the attendees discussed how they used the virtual pro bono platform with students. Maureen Stratton from Northwestern shared that they recently hosted a clinic that paired alumni and current students. Lauren Worsek from DePaul shared that they had students and alumni sign up for the program and then she paired them to work independently on questions. Colleen Boraca of NIU shared how her clinic class had used Legal Answers over the summer to provide pro bono legal service remotely.

Using Technology and Finding Creative Public Interest and Pro Bono Opportunities

The group then discussed different pro bono opportunities available through technology including census and voting initiatives. They also discussed how “Zoom Fatigue” was becoming a challenge and creative ways to overcome that issue. The group discussed an initiative out of Nebraska and PILI said they would research possibly working on a similar program that would match law students with needed pro bono research opportunities.

Supporting and Communicating with Law Students During a Pandemic

Maureen Kieffer from Loyola led a discussion about how to work with students whose job search was not going according to plan due to the pandemic. The group also talked about how to engage with students virtually, such as a community circle conversation that Loyola had done recently. The group discussed how connecting during this time was more difficult, but not impossible.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Law School Roundtable. We look forward to seeing you at our Illinois Forum on Pro Bono on November 12, which will bring together pro bono leaders from law firms, corporations, agencies and law schools.

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Posted in 2020 Roundtables.

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