October 22, 2018

For the Public Good: Pro Bono Work at ACS

Ashley Erickson Associate Director of Network Advancement


Why should people get involved in pro bono work?

An important aspect of the legal profession is engaging in pro bono work. Not only is it included in professional conduct rules, but more importantly, lawyers and law students have valuable skills that can improve the lives of those who would otherwise be unable to get the help they need. In the last two years especially, we’ve seen how lawyers doing pro bono work have reached an almost superhero status working on everything from immigration to voting cases. ACS members should be particularly motived to get involved because pro bono engagement aligns perfectly with ACS’s founding principle: that the law should be a force to improve the lives of all people.

What kinds of lawyers are needed for pro bono work?

All types of lawyers are needed for pro bono work. Depending on an individual’s skill set and interests, we can find the perfect opportunity for them to get involved. Some pro bono projects require prior experience, but many do not and supervision and mentoring are usually available. Opportunities range from doing legal research to taking on cases. If someone is unsure about where to start, I’m happy to chat about a range of available projects and find something that works specifically for them.

Can law students get involved?

Yes! Law students are some of our best volunteers. Because law students aren’t barred attorneys, the type of projects might be more limited, but we always have legal research opportunities available and often opportunities for law students to work with licensed attorneys.

How much time is required?

Pro bono volunteers can contribute anything from a few hours of work to much, much more. One of the first things I discuss with interested volunteers is their time constraints to make sure we find the perfect project to work with their schedule.

What opportunities does ACS offer in terms of pro bono work?

ACS has many ongoing projects where we need volunteer help. Some of those projects include our Notice and Comment Project, Constitution in the Classroom, Love our Constitution, voting projects, and more. We also work regularly with our coalition partners to find pro bono help for their efforts. New opportunities are constantly available and I’m always willing to chat about the exciting things we are working on. Those who are interested can also check out the volunteer opportunities section on ACS’s website. We regularly post selected opportunities there.

How can lawyers/law students get involved in ACS’s pro bono efforts?

Lawyers and law students who want to get involved can sign-in via our online form here or email LCEmails@acslaw.org. Once they reach out, we provide more information about specific projects and often set up calls to talk with individuals about finding the best fit for them.