The American Bar Association developed the program several years ago as a time to celebrate different professions in the field, according to Alexis Martinez, assistant dean of Student Affairs. Pro Bono week is celebrated nationally.
“The week highlights different ways of social justice around Greensboro and around the country and also identifies gaps in legal terms,” Martinez said. “Students work with clients and agencies to see the power their degree has.”
Pro bono is defined by the ABA as the designation given to free legal work done by an attorney for indigent clients and religious, charitable and other nonprofit entities.
During the Law School’s Pro Bono week, there will be programs featuring numerous local and nationwide organizations, including Women’s Law Association, Humanitarian and Immigration Law Clinic, Public Interest Law Society and local attorneys.
The week’s events include panels, presentations and opportunities for anyone in the community to ask a lawyer legal questions and advice.
“Anyone with a legal issue can talk to a lawyer to get basic information for their specific problems,” Martinez said.
The goal for Elon Law School’s Pro Bono week is to introduce students to the great things community lawyers do and what they can do, according to Martinez.
The Pro Bono Board, which consists of seven members, organized the programs throughout the week. The student-run board works to unite individuals in the community in need of pro bono service with lawyers who are willing to help.
“For the Pro Bono Board, the week is a great culmination of the year for them,” Martinez said, “it provides service and connectedness to the community.”
Throughout the week, attorneys will be talking to students about their daily responsibilities, legal aid available for impoverished communities and a workshop giving information about getting restraining orders, which is open to the public. The week’s events are meant to celebrate service and offer opportunity.
Third-year law student Melodie Menzer served as program coordinator for the board.
“The week is a celebration of the people who have done pro bono work, for students who have been involved and want to get involved,” Menzer said. “We want to make students aware of pro bono opportunities in the community.”
According to Menzer, another purpose of the week is to introduce pro bono professionals to students and explain the purpose of their work to those who are unfamiliar with the field.
“There are a lot of clients who can be served and who need to be served,” Menzer said.