Monday, June 21, 2021

Pro Bono Work, An Ethical Obligation

Loyola Law School is unique in that it requires students to complete pro bono hours. This is meant as a means by which the law school and its students give back to the community which it serves. Yet, there is a bigger reason. The American Bar Association holds in its Model Rules that lawyers shall aspire to render at least 50 pro bono hours per year in a manner which the lawyer does not expect to receive payment for the services rendered. While California rules do not echo this requirement and pro bono hours are not mandatory, it is generally accepted that lawyers will either provide pro bono hours or provide funding to an organization that represents underprivileged groups.

Returning to Loyola Law School, I have opted to complete the requirement by volunteering my time in the Young Lawyer Program. This program reaches out to high school students in the surrounding Los Angeles area to immerse them in a mock trial. The students are split into teams and within those teams, high school students are paired with law students that act as mentors to guide them in their legal endeavors. The trial is then run by the high school students, as they present opening and closing statements, as well as conduct direct and cross examinations of the witnesses in the case. The end result is to expose the students to the legal process so they themselves may seek a legal education. That is one way by which I give back to the community.