The American Bar Association Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service launched the National Celebration of Pro Bono in 2009, and every October legal organizations across America participate to draw attention to the need for pro bono participation and to thank those who give their time year-round. Harvard Law School celebrates the pro bono work of its students and its alumni. Since the HLS Pro Bono Service Program and requirement began in 2005, J.D. students have contributed over 6,000,000 pro bono hours in Student Practice Organizations, clinics, and outside organizations on campus and around the world.
Harvard Law School and the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs celebrate Pro Bono Week 2022: Protect! Participate! Pro Bono! Our programming highlights the many avenues through which lawyers can contribute to efforts to protect and empower their local and global communities. Students will engage in hackathons and voter protection efforts. We will hear from practicing attorneys including several alumni about how they advance civil rights through working at private public interest law firms and through their pro bono work at large law firms. Finally, we will celebrate our students, along with all the honorees, who are being recognized in the Massachusetts SJC Pro Bono Honor Roll for their time devoted to pro bono work.
Models for Change: Private Public Interest Firms
Watch the discussion with three HLS alumni about the models, practices, and missions of their private public interest law firms. Katie Ali ‘11, a former partner with deep experience in pro bono work at Hogan Lovells, left Hogan Lovells to start her own civil rights boutique firm – Ali & Lockwood – earlier this year with another former Hogan partner. Tara Ramchandani ’08 is a partner at Relman Colfax, representing individuals and organizations in housing, lending, and public accommodations discrimination cases as well as advising non-profits and other organizations on civil rights issues. Anand Swaminathan ‘06 is a partner at Loevy & Loevy. He represents clients on a broad range of constitutional and civil rights cases, including wrongful convictions, police shootings, the denial of medical care to inmates and detainees in jails and prisons, and retaliation for exercising free speech rights. In addition, he has successfully exonerated multiple innocent people wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit as well as representing whistleblowers in need of legal advice and assistance. The panel is moderated by Deepak Wessler of Gupta Wessler. Mr. Gupta is teaching a reading group at HLS this semester on Entrepreneurship in the Public Interest.
Law Firm Pro Bono: Protecting Civil Rights
As a part of Pro Bono Week, OCP hosted vibrant discussion with a group of large law firm partners who are all working to advance civil rights through their pro bono work. Jennifer Wu and Lawrence Wee ’94 of Paul Weiss share how they have advocated for and represented Asian victims of hate. Diane Lucas ’07 talks about how she leads the racial justice work at Davis Polk as pro bono counsel. Karen O’Malley of Goulston Storrs talks about the contributions she has made on behalf of domestic violence survivors and to advance women’s rights and reproductive justice. The panelists share their reflections on how they are both representing individual and organizational clients and working to advance social change and community progress more broadly. The panel is moderated by Assistant Dean Meredith Boak of the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.
EDP x Black Voters Matter Postcard Party
Black Voters Matters’ mission is to increase civic engagement and power building in predominantly Black communities. The Equal Democracy Project at HLS is proud and excited to be partnering with them on one of their core volunteer opportunities: a Postcard Party, this Thursday, October 20th, at 7pm in WCC 1015. This is a virtual volunteer opportunity for anyone who likes to write. You will create personalized messages to remind individuals of the POWER that they hold in their communities, specifically around the importance of voting. No prior experience is required. We will provide you with training and postcard templates.
If you’d like to join us, sign up using this form! If you join us in person, dinner will be provided.
EDP x Common Cause Poll Monitor Training
Let’s protect the vote! Join the Equal Democracy Project and Common Cause Massachusetts to monitor high risk polls in the Boston area on Election Day!
Poll Monitor Training will be October 24, from 6-7:30pm in WCC 3016. Dinner will be served. Please sign up at this link (https://www.mobilize.us/protect-the-vote/event/525331/). At the training, you will learn how to be a poll monitor and be able to sign up for different polling locations and shifts throughout the Boston area. If you can’t make it to the training, you can still volunteer! We’ll have a video available for you.
Poll monitoring will include working with students from BU Law- and if you participate in poll monitoring, you will be invited to a mixer with those students too! (date TBD)!
Pro Bono Recruitment Fair and Open House
This event, sponsored by the Boston Bar Association and Suffolk University Law School, provides attorneys and law students with a range of pro bono opportunities. The fair is held as part of the National Pro Bono Celebration sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. Attendees will have the opportunity meet representatives from local legal services organizations and to learn more about the pro bono opportunities in our community.
This event will be held at Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108.
OPIA Spotlight Series: Civil Rights
OPIA’s Spotlight Series provides students with an informal overview of public interest practice areas. This session will focus on civil rights, exploring the variety of legal work in this area and where it happens: from non-profits to government, from litigation to policy, and across sub-issue areas. Pick up some summer internship application tips and discover entry routes into this field after graduation. An OPIA adviser will lead a brief presentation and then open up the conversation to Q&A. Lunch will not be provided, so students are encouraged to eat before or after the event!
Pro Bono Week Hackathon
The Harvard Law School and Reproductive Equity Now Pro Bono Hackathon gives students an opportunity to come together and conduct research for reproductive justice advocates working to expand access to abortion in Massachusetts and beyond. Students can sign up to engage in research related to federal and state legislation and regulations that could be relevant to mailing abortion medication across state borders. Research collected will include the specific language and citations for current and proposed laws; previous versions of statutes; citations of legal challenges, etc. The Hackathon will be accompanied by a conversation on how this information will be used by REN and activists in other states, as well as a career chat with Sarah Lee Day, Esq., a Justice Catalyst Legal Fellow at REN. Students can volunteer for additional pro bono work after the event.
Congratulations to the 2022 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll recipients!
To learn more about how to engage with pro bono at HLS, explore these pages.
Find a Pro Bono Placement
Browse pro bono opportunities available during the fall and spring semester.
Student Practice Organizations
Explore the 11 Student Practice Organizations, run by students and supervised by expect attorneys, where students can do volunteer pro bono work.
Pro Bono Resources
HLS students have many choices if they choose a career at a law firm. The following links offer some resources to evaluate law firm pro bono.
Pro Bono Graduation Requirement
For JD students, there is a requirement of 50 pro bono hours.
Securing housing stability, growing along the way
As a member of the Tenant Advocacy Project, Alison Roberts ’22 worked with a local mother over the course of her 3L year, ultimately reinstating her Section 8 housing voucher.
Making connections—and a difference—through Student Practice Organizations
Ask students involved with any of Harvard Law School’s 11 Student Practice Organizations (SPOs) why they participate, and one word comes up again and again: community. Community—of friends, of peers, of clients. Of like-minded people looking to make a difference.
Advocacy across the globe with Ha Ryong Jung (Michael), JD ’18
Jung’s dedication to pro bono work resulted in a contribution of over 2,000 pro bono hours during his time at HLS. We caught up with Jung to learn more about his path since HLS, his experience serving as a mentor for current law students, and his continued commitment to advancing children’s rights.