LL.M. Pro Bono Fellows are required to take the course. It also is open to J.D. and other LL.M. candidates.
Students in the Externship on Pro Bono Practice and Design will have the opportunity to engage in critical reflection about the role of pro bono service by corporate lawyers, on the legal profession, and on broader societal issues, such as access to equal justice and social transformation, in the United States and other countries. Pro bono service increasingly is regarded as an important component of the provision of civil legal services to underserved populations in the U.S. and of the professional responsibility of U.S. corporate law firm lawyers. Lawyers and Bar associations in a few cities in Australia, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and South Africa have begun to explore how to adapt the U.S. model of pro bono service to their legal, social, and political cultures.
Closer examination discloses that there are several constituencies whose goals must be satisfied for a pro bono project to succeed and that these competing needs often create substantial tensions. To be successful, pro bono practice and design must mediate these interests and tensions. Pro bono service also should be evaluated against alternatives such as an increase in government funding for full-time legal services lawyers and the expansion of the legal services that non-lawyers are authorized to perform.
Through a weekly seminar and a field placement, the Externship on Pro Bono Practice and Design will encourage students to identify and learn deeply about the constituencies, their goals and the resulting strengths and tensions. Students also will focus on specific innovative and sustainable pro bono practices, as well as alternatives to pro bono, and think about their own postgraduate roles. This inquiry will culminate in the development of a concept paper to be based upon the readings, the seminar, and the field placement experiences.
The seminar will analyze the history, ethics, guidelines, practicalities, and critiques of pro bono practice by private law firms and corporate law departments. It also will explore alternatives to pro bono service. The readings and discussions sometimes will be enriched by reflective inquiry of practitioners from the various constituencies, who are experienced in the design and implementation of pro bono programs. The last two classes will be workshops in which the students will constructively critique the concept papers presented by their classmates.
A fieldwork component must be taken in conjunction with the externship. Field research will be performed by participant observation at an NGO in the metropolitan New York City area that provides high quality civil legal services and has a pro bono program for corporate lawyers. Students will be required to work for 10-12 hours per week, of which at least seven will be performed at the NGO. Depending on the NGO and the student's assignments, the other hours may be performed elsewhere. Each student will be placed at an NGO of interest to him or her, which commits to giving the student assignments that will teach about the design and implementation of its pro bono program, as well as allowing the student to perform pro bono service on behalf of its clients. Working at the placement will not satisfy the mandatory pro bono requirement for J.D. candidates.
Each student will write a concept paper of about 20 pages for either (1) a pro bono project designed to initiate or increase pro bono service that the author would execute at the law firm or NGO at which they expect to work after graduation, including a discussion of how the proposal addresses the competing interests and tensions identified in the course; or (2) an alternative means to expand legal services for currently underrepresented persons or issues, including a discussion of why it is preferable to the initiation or expansion of pro bono.
Section Offerings for 2012-13
There are no offered sections in 2012-13. Please choose a different year.