The Bonus of Pro Bono

Nicole Dela Rosa is an LLS student blogger.

I completed Loyola’s pro bono requirement working as a clinical student for Loyola’s Project for the Innocent during my 2L. It was such a unique hands-on experience that allowed me to work on actual cases of individuals who were asserting that they had been wrongfully convicted.

Each student was assigned two cases – one belonging to an existing client and the other belonging to a prospective client requesting our clinic’s services. With regards to the former, our assignment was to pick up where the previous student left off and establishing a working relationship with our client via letters and prison visits. With regards to the latter, our task was to sort through all the information the client sent over, pour over all the court transcripts, and communicate with the client to identify if there was a case that could be built and/or if the clinic could accept the case. The clinic’s resources are limited, and so the clinic supervisors relied on us students to make sure the cases were viable (meaning there was a strong possibility that there was a flaw in the case and as a result a wrongful conviction). Nonetheless, it was an eye-opening experience learning about the different issues that are prevalent in the criminal justice system.

Finally, pro bono work, although required by Loyola for graduation, has the added benefit of teaching us the importance of using our platform, skills, and knowledge to help others in any way we can. It reminds us that even as lawyers, there are opportunities and ways for us to give back to the community.

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