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Law school celebrates Pro Bono Week

October 22, 2013

Seattle University School of Law celebrates Pro Bono Week this week by highlighting the school's steadfast commitment to equal access to justice and community service.

The American Bar Association launched Celebrate Pro Bono Week (Oct. 20-26) due to increasing need for volunteer legal services during difficult economic times.

Dean Annette ClarkDean Annette E. Clark, along with other leaders in the local legal community, accepted a proclamation by the King County Council Monday evening in recognition of Pro Bono Week. Offered by councilmembers Rod Dembowski and Reagan Dunn, the proclamation recognizes the crucial role volunteer attorneys play in helping low-income clients with legal issues.

"Seattle University School of Law is committed to providing equal access to justice, and we encourage our students and alumni to be leaders for change," Clark said. "I am very proud of the pro bono work done by our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. This week is a perfect time to celebrate the important role pro bono service plays in ensuring that the legal needs of our community are met."

Addressing those needs is key component of the law school's service mission. One of the ways the law school fulfills that mission is through the voluntary Pledge Pro Bono program, in which students complete and track their pro bono hours.

Diana Singleton"The law school's Pledge Pro Bono Program has encouraged hundreds of students to contribute thousands of volunteer hours," said Diana Singleton, Director of the Access to Justice Institute at Seattle University School of Law. "Through their pro bono work, law students play an integral role in the equal justice movement, which helps create an ethos of service that ultimately serves as a foundation for their legal careers."

Last year, law students taking the Pro Bono Pledge contributed more than 9,500 hours of volunteer time to the community.

Pro bono work doesn't just help clients. Volunteer attorneys also learn new legal skills, make important career connections, and find opportunities for professional growth. Employers also value attorneys who give back to their communities.

The Access to Justice Institute is sponsoring an In-House Pro Bono Fair this week, featuring a wide range of activities that students can participate in, such as Seattle Youth Traffic Court, the Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project, and the Food and Policy Coalition.

Next week, the Public Interest Law Foundation will sponsor an Evening With Equal Justice, where students can meet one-on-one with legal aid, government, and private attorneys who work on access to justice issues.