Additional Event Ideas

Either alone or in collaboration with each other, all segments of the legal community can implement programs to highlight the importance of pro bono work and to enhance the provision of pro bono services. This section lists programs and resources to stimulate your planning.

Bar Associations
Law Firms
Law Schools
Legal Services and Pro Bono Referral Programs and Partnerships

Bar Associations

Bar President Op Eds

Writing Effective Bar President Pages: A Resource Guide
ABA Division for Bar Services

Tip for Organizing Your State!

The Alabama State Bar developed the goal of having celebration events in every judicial district in the state. Working with local bar presidents and state bar commissioners, the ASB utilizes the districts as identifiable units in which to plan and implement more localized events.
Contact: Linda Lund, Director, Volunteer Lawyers Program of the Alabama State Bar,

Bar Sponsored Legal Clinics: One-day clinics in an area of legal need in your community:

Advocacy and Justice Clinic
By: District of Columbia Bar Association, local law firms

Legal Advice Live: A two hour, in-person free legal advice event on Independence Mall
By: Philadelphia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division

Law Jam 2

Law Jam 2 is a Battle of the Bands to raise funds to provide free legal aid to the poor and increase community awareness about the need for legal aid. All Bands selected to compete have at least one attorney in them. Net proceeds from Law Jam benefit Dallas' most comprehensive provider of free legal aid to the poor -- the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, a joint pro bono program of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. Created in 1997 when the Dallas Bar and Legal Aid merged their previously separate pro bono programs, this unique partnership brings together the volunteer and fund raising resources of the Dallas Bar Association with the legal aid expertise of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas. DVAP and the work of its outstanding volunteers have received local, statewide, and national recognition for their efforts.

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program provides legal help through the use of volunteers on civil, legal matters, including benefits, consumer, employment, family, housing, landlord-tenant, probate, real property, tax, and wills cases. Assistance ranges from advice to full scale representation in court. The program sponsors an average of 16 clinics per month, including its Neighborhood Legal Clinics, Pro Se Clinics, and Wills Clinics.

For more information on the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, visit To view the Law Jam 2 website, click here.

Champions of Justices Booklet: Past award recipients provide their thoughts on why they do pro bono work.
By: North Carolina Bar Association
Contact: Michelle Cofield;

Statewide Pro Bono Day of Service: In North Carolina, volunteer attorneys, supported by legal assistants, law students and staff members, provide free legal information over the phone at five locations throughout the state.

By: North Carolina Bar Association

Website to Publicize Your Celebration Events: By: Chicago Bar Association

Bar Sponsored Free Continuing Legal Education Courses for Pro Bono Volunteers

Assorted Topics: Foreclosure Relief, Protection Orders
By: Allegheny County Bar Association, Pennsylvania

Story /Testimonial Boards

Prepare large, poster-size boards highlighting the experience of local pro bono attorneys. Prominently display these boards at all national celebration events.

Story/Attorney Testimonial Boards
By: Chicago Bar Association:

Chancellor's Forum: Sponsor a panel of prestigious speakers on the importance of pro bono.
By: Philadelphia Bar Association
Contact: Merril Zebe;

Bar Association Pro Bono Wine and Cheese Open House: Pro Bono Fair introducing attorneys to the many public interest organizations offering pro bono volunteer opportunities.
By: Philadelphia Bar Association
Contact: Merrill Zebe,

Pro Bono Volunteer Appreciation Events

By: Columbus Bar Association:

Outstanding Volunteer Appreciation Party
By: San Francisco Bar Association Volunteer Legal Services Programs
Contact: Tiela Chalmers:

Awards Banquet at City Hall
By: Philadelphia VIP
Contact: Sara Woods;

Highlight Pro Bono Efforts on an Issue of Local Importance or Urgency

Plan a summit, forum, community education program, or other event focusing on a local issue that is being successfully addressed by pro bono attorneys. For example, in 2009, spotlight efforts to address:

The Foreclosure Crisis:
By: Philadelphia First Judicial District

Assistance to Veterans:
By: New York City Bar Justice Center

Pro Bono Convention: A half-day event ending in lunch with a name speaker.
By: Ohio State Bar Association; Judicial Appellate District Pro Bono Project, Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation
Contact: Jane Taylor

Educational Brochures for Low-Income Clients: Develop and distribute educational materials through appropriate court, public and community sites.
By: New York City Bar Justice Center

Law Firms

Announce and Celebrate a New Signature or Collaborative Project: Work closely with a local legal services provider to identify either a substantive project you can tackle together, or a major piece of impact litigation on which you can co-counsel.

Hold your annual awards ceremony during National Celebration of
Pro Bono Week.

Pro Bono Breakfast:Law firms and Corporate Partners housed in the Bank of America Building hold a Pro Bono Breakfast. Posters and informatio are displayed all week in the building lobby. The event provides recognition of volunteer lawyers and improves public awareness of the valuable pro bono work done by the Firms and its corporate
By: Troutman Sanders LLP , Hunton and Williams LLP, and The Bank of America Legal Department
Contact: Dorothy Jackson-Stallworth:

Business law assistance for non-profits and start-up businesses:
By: Goodwin Proctor, New York

Legal services for veterans
By: DLA Piper, San Diego

Neighborhood Legal Clinic: located at a medical clinic in a poor Minneapolis neighborhood to provide legal services to the local community.
By: Leonard, Street and Deinhard
Contact: Theresa Hughes:

Fellowship Program: provides an opportunity for associates to do several years of full-time pro bono before working as litigation associates
By: Holland and Knight: Chesterfield Smith Fellowship Program
Contact: Stephen F. Hanlon;

Funding Opportunities

Fund fellowships for Minority Legal Services Attorneys
By: Blank Rome LLP, Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN)

Pro Bono Awards: make awards an opportunity to make donations to legal services or other public interest organizations designated by awardees
By: Baker Botts
Contact: Bill Kroger:

Host a Pro Bono Open House to recruit volunteer attorneys. Invite all local public interest and legal service organizations to have tables and posters.
By: Duane Morris LLP, Philadelphia, PA

Host Pro Bono CLE's: In collaboration with legal services and pro bono groups, sponsor a training CLE in specific substantive areas.
Sponsor: Pepper Hamilton LLP
Contact: Joseph Sullivan:


The last day of the 2009 National Celebration of Pro Bono week will fall on Halloween. Use your creativity to plan a themed closing celebration.

  • Hold a pro bono recruitment fair with Halloween treats for those volunteering to take a pro bono case
  • Firm attorneys go trick-or-treating with bags or donation canisters marked "Donate to Pro Bono" Or "Legal Problems for the Poor are Scary. Give a Treat: Support Pro Bono"
  • Create a short video. Post it on YouTube. Then send the link to all prospective donors.

Suggested Screenplay

The doorbell rings on Halloween, door after door is opened to reveal:
o banker with foreclosure,
o sheriff's police ready to evict,
o process server waving paper work,
o creditors dressed as vampires, spouse demanding divorce
Each moment is punctuated by the scream of the resident.
o At the last door, the camera views the group of trick-or-treaters from the back as the door opens; this time they all scream and the vampires hide their faces.
o Last shot reveals a lawyer warding them off with his briefcase that has the words "Pro Bono Legal Help" on it.
o End with a donation plea.

Law Schools

Public Interest Career and Fellowship Symposium:
Global Social Justice Lawyering : Two day symposium focusing on post-graduate fellowships and public interest careers in a variety of potential practice areas.
By: Stanford Law School and Seattle University's Access to Justice Institute.
Contact:Susan Feathers,

Law Student Pro Bono Fair:
Provides an opportunity for law students to learn about public interest organizations for whom they could do volunteer projects.
By : University of Washington School of Law
Contact: Ann Spangler;

Prisoner Re-entry Project:
The Prisoner Re-Entry Project is an opportunity for law students from all the Delaware Valley law schools to assist with legal intake for former federal prisoners working to put their affairs back in order. Together with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Magistrate Judges Timothy Rice and Felipe Restrepo of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania have developed a unique and innovative prisoner re-entry program called the Supervision To Aid Re-Entry (STAR) court program. The STAR program provides help to former inmates through a 52-week program in participants report twice-monthly to the Court, in addition to working with probation officers. Many of the participants in the Re-entry program have civil legal issues that they need help resolving. Law students conduct intake system to clarify legal issues and financial eligibility. Eligible clients are then represented by pro bono attorneys through Philadelphia VIP, pro bono legal services. By: Drexel University School of Law Contact: Karen Pearlman Raab:

Leadership in Public Service: Pro Bono Speaker Series
By: University of Maryland School of Law
Contact: Teresa Schmiedeler:

Alumni/ae as Pro Bono/Public Interest Resources:
Invite distinguished alumni/ae to meet with students
By: Duke University

Public Interest Film Festival:
Plan a film series providing students with an opportunity to discuss contemporary films within the context of their pro bono work.
By: University of Pennsylvania Law School
Contact: Arlene Rivera Finkelstein;

Auctions to Benefit Student Public Interest Work:

Public Interest Coalition Auction
By: Pierce Law Social Justice Institute
Contact: Megan DeVorsey;

Equal Justice Foundation Auction
By: University of Pennsylvania Law School

Student Public Interest Network Auction:
By: Temple University, Beasley School of Law


The University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law hosts a Battle of the Bands to raise funds for student public interest fellowships. All of the musicians in the featured bands are lawyers. Hear one of the bands here.

This year, the winning band will perform at an event during the National Celebration of Pro Bono Week


Court Recognition Programs: Plan your program to coincide with the National Celebration of Pro Bono Week.

Court Pro Bono Program

Advertise and promote court sponsored pro bono programs and policies

Pass or Publicize an Existing Resolution or Statement supporting pro bono involvement:



Publicize Successful Judicial Pro Bono Initiatives

Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Project
By: First Judicial District Of Philadelphia

Pro Bono Expo A court-sponsored event to highlight volunteer opportunities in the Civil Court of the City of New York
Sponsor: Civil Court of the City of New York
Contact: Rochelle Klempner

Teach a CLE for pro bono attorneys on topics of significance to the Court

Tangled Title Issues

By: Honorable Anne Lazarus, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia ,
Philadelphia VIP
Contact: Sara Woods:

Legal Services and Pro Bono Referral Programs and Partnerships

On-Line Free Pro Bono CLE Programs
Free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) events offered via video conferencing and live web streaming to pro bono attorneys .
By: Legal Services of Southern Missouri
Contact: James Spencer;

Pro Bono Opportunities Day: A half-day training event for new associates as well as seasoned practitioners, PBOD introduces attorneys to pro bono work and provides 2 credit CLE courses in four substantive areas.
By: Philadelphia VIP
Contact: Sara Woods;

Pro Bono Recruitment Video: Before Atticus Said, "Yes" A theatrical presentation for pro bono program recruitment emphasizing Atticus Finch's decision-making process in accepting the case in To Kill A Mockingbird.
By: Legal Aid of East Tennessee
Contact: David Yoder;

Half-Day Clinics

Hispanic Senior Law Clinic : Preparation of Living Wills and Medical Power of Attorney documents were prepared for 75 Hispanic senior citizens
By: Senior Legal Center, Philadelphia, PA
Somerset Villas
PECO and Excelon Corporation Legal Department
Contact: Karen C. Buck;

Personal Identification Documentation Clinic: Attorneys provide information and forms assisting individuals needing to obtain personal identification records such as birth certificates, school records, Social Security Number documentation, and non-photo ID's.
By: Homeless Advocacy Project, Philadelphia, PA
Contact: Marsha Cohen;

Family Fun Day: A picnic for pro bono volunteers, staff, and clients in Fairmount Park, complete with clowns, jugglers, games, and entertainment.
By: Philadelphia VIP
Contact: Tanya Rambert;

Homeless Connect: a two day event during which attorneys provide free advice on myriad issues including child support, arrrearages, visitation, and tenant's rights.
By: Northwest Louisiana Pro Bono Project
Contact: Ruth Moore:

Corporate Counsel

In-house Pro Bono Roundtable and Ethics CLE
By: Association of Corporate Counsel, Greater New York Chapter

The Power of Partnerships: Merrill's Economic Stimulus Plan

The Merrill Corporation, a deposition service organization, established a program whereby a $25 donation is made to Atlanta Legal Aid in the name of a retaining law firm for completed depositions scheduled within a certain time frame.

Try this in your locale.

Corporate Counsel Pro Bono Initiative Reception & Dinner
Event to help foster a coordinated approach to pro bono work and support for the access to justice community by corporate and in-house legal departments.
By: Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee
Tennessee Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section
Association of Corporate Counsel
Contact: Becky Rhodes,

Corporate Pro Bono Day: provides microentrepreneurs the opportunity to discuss immediate and ongoing legal matters with corporate counsel from various businesses. Includes attorney training followed by meetings with pro bono clients.
By: Philadelphia VIP
Peco Energy, Excelon
Glaxo Smith Kline
The Enterprise Center
Dechert LLP
Contact: Stefanie Fleischer Seldin: