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Pro Bono Net

Lawyers serving the public good.

Oct. 27 - Unsung Heroes of Pro Bono, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Assn.

In honor of National Celebrate Pro Bono Week, Pro Bono Net has lined up a variety of guest bloggers from law firms, legal aid organizations and elsewhere to share their pro bono ideas and experiences. This post comes from the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association.

The Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association (VLP) held a pro bono celebration last week to honor the great work of our volunteer attorneys and law students and to welcome new volunteers. It is inspiring to see the pro bono commitment of small firm and solo practitioners and law students who may have few resources to support their pro bono work but are among our most dedicated volunteers. Following are the words of a few of these volunteers:

I enjoy doing pro bono work primarily to help clients in need. At the same time, I feel as though I get almost as much out of the experience as they do. Volunteering is an excellent way to learn about areas of the law to which you may not have had much exposure. My next opportunity will be the lawyer for the day project at Boston Housing Court. I have had the opportunity to observe those dedicated individuals and the feverish pace at which they help dozens of clients.

~ Larry O'Bryan, Esq., Gilbert & O'Bryan, LLP


I think Pro Bono work is a vital aspect of being a lawyer. Using the unique skills of a lawyer to help those less fortunate with complicated issues in the law is a most rewarding experience. Being someone who has needed such services in the past, I know that supporting someone with legal aid can be the lifeline to help someone who feels helpless. Advocating for someone allows you to help them in a way that not everyone can.

~ Darcy Smith, Student at Suffolk Law School


I volunteer with VLP a couple times per week during the "Lawyer for a Day" program. Typically, I work with the folks at Boston Housing Court and the Suffolk Probate and Family Court. Although I've been volunteering for several months consistently, I am often surprised at how appreciative the clients and court staff are at our presence in the courthouse. Often you will meet a client during the "Lawyer for a Day" program that you can assist more in the future. The VLP staff attorneys are a great resource for lawyers who may not feel comfortable in the legal field in which he or she has agreed to help. Since Massachusetts does not mandate pro-bono time for attorneys, working with VLP is a great way to give back to residents in your community as well as gain valuable litigation experience.

~ Heather Ward, Esq., Law Office of Heather M. Ward


I was really motivated to work on a Pro Bono project - asylum case for a refugee from DR Congo - when I heard about the struggle that the client's struggle and her hope to find a safety in the United States. Since I speak French I was able to interpret client meetings and help my supervising attorney put together the case. It was a very motivating experience that really made me realize how many people are in need of legal assistance, but would not be able to receive it without Pro Bono lawyers who volunteer their time.

~ Adelina Janiak, Student at New England School of Law


These are the unsung heroes of pro bono and we honor their commitment.

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Volunteer Profile

Neil Steinkamp

Rebecca Berlow, a corporate attorney, has worked as a volunteer with The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Unit Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") clinics and has assisted the Society with disaster relief efforts, greatly improving their Access to Benefits hotline by developing a new intake system. Learn more

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