Pro Bono Hours

Kelsey Gitlin is an LLS student blogger.

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we are talking pro bono hours which is kind of perfect since I’m working on my pro bono hours right now!

LLS requires that all students complete 40 hours of pro bono work. Loyola has so many opportunities to complete pro bono hours from clinics to helping trial teams prepare for competition by being a witness. The way I am getting the majority of my hours is through Young Lawyers Program (YLP) which is a student run mock trial. Law students mentor high school students to help foster their interest in law as well as teach some basic legal skills.

My little YLP group is my mentee (who is a freshman in high school!) and a 1L who is starting his hours early. We are working on doing a direct examination of the primary defendant. Since I have the most law school experience as a 2L, most of my job is to explain principles in the simplest way I can. One thing I really feared when I learned we had a pro bono requirement was that I wasn’t going to be knowledgeable or prepared enough to actually do anything productive. But it really amazed me how much I have learned (and retained) in the last 3.5 semesters!

Pro bono hours give you a chance to exercise your knowledge. To make a cheesy analogy: pro bono is like going to the gym for your law brain, and your classes are your personal trainers. You know, the one who makes sure you stay in proper form. It’s actually really fun to get to use my knowledge outside of a class or an exam setting. And yes, I know that sounds nerdy, but if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re nerdy too.

If I don’t complete all my hours this year, I would love to do clinic work to complete the rest. I am planning on doing a clinic anyway next year to fulfill my experiential learning requirement, but I also am genuinely looking forward to doing more work!

To finish off this post I’ll say this: it’s hard to explain pro bono until you do it. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to foster someone’s interest in law (YLP) or help them with a legal problem (clinic). Those little moments of realization that you do remember what hearsay is AND can recall some of the exceptions. I know I’ve gotten a lot out of it, and I know you will too!

See you in the next one,


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