The Class of 2021 faced a fair share of challenges. The majority of their law school experience was conducted under pandemic restrictions and many experiential opportunities were converted to a virtual setting.
But that didn’t stop them from giving back to the community.
In total, the class of 2021 completed at least 45,863 hours of pro bono and public service work during their time at Albany Law School. They provided legal assistance to survivors of domestic violence, people navigating landlord-tenant issues, senior citizens, veterans, immigrants, nonprofits, and many more.
“We are thrilled to celebrate this tremendous accomplishment for the Class of 2021. Every student made an impact on our community through their admirable efforts, especially during a time in our history with an increased need for many underserved groups,” said Professor Ted De Barbieri, director of the Community Economic Development Clinic and the Pro Bono Program within The Justice Center.
The Justice Center administers the pro bono program and operates the law school’s in-house clinics, which provide free legal services to eligible Capital Region residents and offers students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with clients in need.
“The Class of 2021 demonstrated their commitment to serving clients in need throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Their service through The Justice Center programs, including Clinics, internships and externships, student-led Pro Bono Projects, and more during such a challenging time is demonstrative of Albany Law School’s commitment to educating public service-minded attorneys who give back throughout their careers," said Professor Sarah Rogerson, Director of The Justice Center at Albany Law School.
This is the fourth year the law school has calculated the hourly sum through a self-reporting platform. Awards are given to students who meet the following thresholds: Silver (more than 250 hours), Gold (more than 500 hours), and Platinum (more than 750 hours). Those who complete more than 100 hours of service to the student-run Pro Bono Society are also given Pro Bono Honors.
“This number tells the story of people in our community getting the help they need from our students. at the law school. They’ve helped in so many ways—anywhere from real estate closings, helping refugees navigate immigration policies, getting small businesses up and running, and providing veterans guidance through legal issues,” Professor De Barbieri said. “This experience not only provides tangible aid to our community, but it gives our students an opportunity to sharpen their client-facing skills, versatility, compassion, and see the direct impact a legal education makes.”