View from the Bench: Hon. Elizabeth S. Stong, U.S. Bankruptcy Court – Eastern District of New York


ess-bio-photoThe bankruptcy court has a fascinating mix of cases, from the largest and most sophisticated Chapter 11 corporate restructuring case to the Chapter 13 case where a family is trying to save their home from foreclosure to a no-asset Chapter 7 liquidation where an individual is simply overwhelmed by consumer debt that he or she can’t possibly repay. Continue reading

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In A Blender: Pro Bono Service, Mentoring, And Legal Tech

What do you get when you combine a client in need, a website, an attorney, a laptop, and a law student? An ultra-productive opportunity for service, networking, and learning!

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Pro Bono Surveys

Have you seen an email, Facebook post, Tweet or blog post like this one recently? If you have, you may live/practice in one of the 24 states currently surveying its lawyers about their pro bono participation.

We’re excited to see what lawyers have to say about whether they do pro bono, why they do it, and why they don’t. Hopefully, this data will help us all to craft opportunities and strategies that facilitate higher levels of involvement and more services to persons unable to otherwise access legal help.

If you want to see which states are participating, and how the survey is doing, check out this cool map.


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Harnessing In-House Pro Bono

By: Manasi Raveendran

Manasi Raveendran is a Cybersecurity Attorney with IBM Corporation. The views in this article are her own and do not necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

As a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, I was taught to be “a different kind of lawyer.” To me, that means that I always look for ways to give back through pro bono. Continue reading

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Pro bono Volunteers Mobilize to Assist Immigrants at Airports with Legal Questions and to Staff the California Justice Bus, Courtesy of One Justice.

By: Jason Dominguez

What’s the funnest thing you can imagine? Pro bono legal work! What is more fun than that? Pro bono legal work on a bus? Continue reading

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Pro Bono Reporting Comes to North Carolina

Jennifer Lechner, Executive Director at the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission reports on the introduction of a voluntary pro bono reporting in North Carolina.  North Carolina joins twenty-two other states that currently track pro bono participation! Great news!  Read her article here.

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The Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service Year-in-Review


George T. “Buck” Lewis, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service

Needless to say perhaps, 2016 was a whale of a year. Events have cascaded daily right into our living rooms and mobile devices. The need for access to justice resources, of course, remains unabated. So, the work of our Committee and of our collaboration partners is as critical as ever. Our work together gives me great pride in our profession. There is simply no other profession more committed to helping those in need. Continue reading

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National Celebration of Pro Bono


The 8th Annual National Celebration of Pro Bono was a huge success!

Over 1,150 events – from clinics and CLEs to pro bono award ceremonies, fundraisers, and Veterans events- were held in 49 states across the country, the District of Columbia, and Chile!

We had 600+ event sponsors including bar associations, courts, legal aid and pro bono programs, law firms and law schools.

Thank you to all who participated and for all that you do every day to increase access to justice.


ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative

The featured event for the 2016 National Celebration of Pro Bono was the ABA Veterans Legal Services Initiative. During the National Celebration of Pro Bono, over 90 events related to veterans’ services were held.  This year’s initiative was a huge success and demonstrated the commitment of America’s lawyers to pro bono service and veterans legal services.

We encourage you to continue the celebration by planning or participating in services to veterans on or around Memorial Day (May 29) 2017. We will continue efforts to recognize the valuable pro bono contributions of lawyers across the country through a little friendly competition and a social media blitz using the hashtag #ABAServingVeterans.

Submit your videos. The ABA is collecting short, informal videos to spotlight your efforts to support pro bono legal assistance for our nation’s veterans. Please learn more here.

For additional information, please visit

Save the Date!

 Mark your calendars! The 9th Annual National Celebration of Pro Bono will be held October 22-28, 2017.

 Do Good. Do Justice. Do Pro Bono.

 The National Celebration of Pro Bono is sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. For guidance and resources to improve your pro bono program year-round, contact the Committee’s Center for Pro Bono.

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Could This Simple Idea Solve the Justice Gap?

“On Friday morning last week, a dozen lawyers sitting in cubicles took calls in a downtown Chicago office. A video screen on the wall tracked the activity: 34 people had called in the first hour asking for free legal help. Six callers were waiting in the queue, and the longest waiting time in the queue was 12 minutes and 46 seconds. “Friday usually starts off slow,” said Allen Schwartz, the executive director of CARPLS, which stands for Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services. This pioneering legal aid hotline, now in its 23rd year, handled roughly 50,000 free consultations for 28,000 clients last year.”
Read the rest of the article here.
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Raging for Pro Bono: Using Post Election Energy to Recruit Pro Bono Lawyers

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead.

It is no secret that the recent presidential election has invoked a strong reaction from many citizens of our country. Protests have broken out across the country, social media is inundated with groups wondering what they can do, and a new form of donating has hit the scene.  Called “rage donating”, websites are encouraging people who are motivated by the recent presidential elections to donate to non-profits that defend women, Muslim Americans, free speech, immigrants, and people of color.  Donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have skyrocketed in just the past week.

How do pro bono programs tap into that energy and encourage attorneys to use pro bono to assist marginalized groups in this country? Now is the time to do it, so organizations who need pro bono attorneys should take advantage of the frustration by reaching out to attorneys to get involved.

If you are interested in reaching attorneys, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms seem to be great starting points. If you are on a Facebook group with attorneys, reach out to them and let them know what pro bono opportunities are available for them.  Come up with a clever hashtag to get people motivated an involved.  For example, the hashtag  #TransLawHelp has been trending on Twitter, and links to the website links users to attorneys around the country who can assist transgender individuals with name and gender marker changes before the new administration takes office.  We suggest using the hashtag #ProBonoNow as a united hashtag that organizations can use to drum up support for pro bono involvement now.  Also, make sure that you are on the ABA Center for Pro Bono website in our directory of programs.  If you need to be added or update your information, contact us at  Beyond social media, schedule volunteer orientations to train interested attorneys on taking cases with your organization. Or schedule a brown-bag lunch forum for attorneys to come together to discuss pro bono opportunities with your organization and how those opportunities relate to the election outcome.

Remind attorneys that it isn’t only the groups above that need help. Those living in poverty still need help from pro bono attorneys to secure benefits and housing, and to assist in family law cases or protect them from domestic violence.  Non-profit funding could potentially be in danger under a new administration, so remind attorneys that pro bono support is needed in all areas of the law.  Send out emails to your volunteers and encourage them to assist in recruiting other attorneys. If there are group meetups to discuss the election outcomes, go and take the opportunity to talk about your program and how attorneys can contribute pro bono to make a difference!

For volunteer attorneys wondering how to get involved, visit the ABA Center for Pro Bono website. We have a map that connects you to pro bono opportunities in your state.  You can also reach out to groups on Facebook or other social media platforms.  Contact your local bar association, they should know of pro bono efforts in your area.  Or go online to your state’s legal aid or volunteer lawyers program information site if you have one (i.e. Illinois Legal Aid Online).  Those websites typically list volunteer opportunities in the state.  If your time is limited, check out – if your state is participating and live, it’s a great way to fit pro bono in to your busy schedule. There are many opportunities to devote your skills to those in need, and now is the time to do it!





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