The Class of 2017 contributed a cumulative total of 28,183 hours of volunteer service while attending Alabama Law. Each year the American Association of Law Schools asks member institutions to calculate the number of hours their students have spent in providing free legal help in their communities.
This number includes time spent working in the law school’s clinical programs, which serve the elderly, indigent criminal defendants, and victims of domestic violence, among others; externships and internships with nonprofit or governmental legal offices; and local pro bono projects such as the Free Legal Advice Clinic, Veterans Legal Assistance Clinic, Wills for Heroes, and Project Homeless Connect.
“Our students are eager for opportunities to help provide access to legal services to those in their community who are in need of assistance,” said Glory McLaughlin, Assistant Dean for Public Interest Law and Director of the Public Interest Institute. “I am continuously impressed with the capacity of law students to demonstrate creativity, compassion, and a real desire to make a difference.”
Engaging in pro bono work not only serves the needs of the surrounding community, but also helps law students develop critical professional skills, such as interviewing clients, drafting documents, and making legal arguments.
“It’s a win-win situation,” McLaughlin said. “Our students help to close the justice gap, and at the same time, get experience putting their classroom learning to practical use. We want to ensure that they get the most out of their legal education, and that we are sending the best new lawyers out into the world that we possibly can.”