The Catholic University of America

 

Alumni Demonstrate Commitment to Pro Bono Service

Catholic University law students hear the message from the very first day they step into the building: Pro bono service to others matters, and it’s worth making it a career-long commitment.

Still, it’s always helpful to see concrete examples of how others put pro bono commitment into practice, especially by younger attorneys just starting out.
 
Such examples were the focus of a panel discussion, “Pro Bono: Good for the Public, Good for You,” held at Catholic University’s law school in late October in celebration of National Pro Bono Week, Oct. 23 to 29, 2011. 
 
Law school alumni returned to share tips with approximately 30 current students on balancing service to others with meeting the demands of daily legal practice:
 
  • Jon Labukas, 2010, an associate at DLA Piper, described how his active involvement in New Perimeter, the firm’s global pro bono initiative and nonprofit affiliate, positioned him to have direct client contact that he otherwise wouldn’t get so early in his career.
  • Kristin McGough, 2008, who practices at Coburn & Greenbaum PLLC, served as SPIL’s events coordinator and as executive director of Legal Services Society while in law school.  McGough said that learning how to make time for pro bono work while a student has served her well as a practicing attorney as she juggles many competing priorities.
  • Becky O’Brien, 2000, is a staff attorney at Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, where she supervises volunteer attorneys in addition to managing her own caseload and engaging in systemic advocacy. O’Brien explained the critical role that volunteer lawyers and students play in the clinic’s work, from performing intake to delivering community education presentations to representing clients in a variety of matters. 
Columbus School of Law Professor Fred Woods also described his own long history of pro bono involvement, emphasizing that taking up the causes of the disenfranchised benefits not only the client but also the advocate, from skills development and fulfillment to enhanced marketability. 
 
For further information about CUA Law’s Pro Bono Program, please contact Jen Tschirch at tschirch@law.edu.