Going Pro: Pro Bono and the Legal Professional

Arlington, VA

November 15, 2007

VBA Pro Bono Society

The newly-created VBA Pro Bono Society is dedicated to promoting public service among the students and faculty of George Mason University.  We aim to provide an arena where students can begin to explore the ABA-recognized responsibility to provide legal services for those unable to afford them.  We believe that by giving back to our community, we uplift both the law and the legal profession and help to create a better future for ourselves and those that follow.

This year the VBA Pro Bono Society has implemented its GMU-LSNV Intake Initiative to expand the pro bono options available to our law school community and help LSNV better serve their clients.  Together we have established a program to provide intake interviews for the family law division of LSNV.  We have fully staffed this GMU-LSNV Intake Initiative for thirty hours each week and provide intake interviews for LSNV clients in the areas of family law, consumer law, bankruptcy law and housing issues, and serve clients in several languages.  We are able to do this because of the support and dedication of our student volunteers.

In the future, we will be expanding the pro bono opportunities we offer our volunteers.  We already are working on several upcoming projects, including providing legal help to Louisiana residents affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Association for Public Interest Law (APIL)

APIL is an organization at George Mason University School of Law affiliated with Equal Justice Works.  Our mission is to encourage and afford law students the opportunity to dedicate their careers to serving the public interest.  Whether it be through pro-bono work, careers in non-profit organizations or legal endeavors in the public sector, APIL encourages all its members to give back to their community through legal expertise.

APIL hosts service projects and events throughout the course of the year.  Every year, APIL has actively participated in Habitat for Humanity projects in the local D.C. area and has assisted with several Food Drive events.  Each spring APIL hosts a charity auction to raise scholarships to support law students in unpaid or law-income jobs over the summer that cater to the public interest.  The auction is completely run by APIL and is supported by donations from the surrounding Arlington community.  It is a way to get the community and student body out for an enjoyable evening to support a great cause.

Dan Press, our Pro Bono Coordinator at Van Ness Feldman spoke at this event.