Student pro bono leaders with trustee Dianne R. Phillips ’88 (C) and Professor Ted De Barbieri (L) at the Celebration of Public Interest and Pro Bono on May 1, 2019.
On Wednesday, May 1, Albany Law School celebrated the public service and pro bono contributions of the Class of 2019, which saw its members—during their time at law school—perform more than 52,000 hours of legal work for the public good.
At the annual Celebration of Public Interest and Pro Bono, Albany Law School also recognized the tremendous contributions of all classes during the 2018-19 academic year.
Albany Law School trustee Dianne R. Phillips '88—a past winner of the Charitable Service All-Star Award from Holland & Knight, where she is a partner in the Boston office—spoke of her own pro bono practice during the keynote address. She stressed the importance of public interest and pro bono activities, explaining that giving back makes an impact not only on the clients and communities receiving services, but also on the law students and attorneys doing the work.
"It's the most rewarding work you will do, no matter what you do with your life," she said. "And for young associates, this is a fabulous way to build skills and to be involved."
Albany Law School's Celebration of Public Interest and Pro Bono was organized by The Justice Center, which administers the pro bono program and recently received a transformative $15 million gift from an anonymous donor.
Students Devote More than 33,000 Hours to Justice Center Activities in 2018-19 School Year
The Justice Center at Albany Law School reported that, during the 2018-2019 school year, students devoted more than 33,000 hours to serving the unmet legal needs of clients in the Capital Region and beyond.
Approximately 11,000 of those hours were performed via The Justice Center's in-house clinics, through which students have represented entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses; immigrants and asylum-seekers; people with chronic health conditions; and survivors of domestic and family violence.
The remaining hours were contributed through field placements, including the Semester- and Summer-in-Practice programs, and the student-led Pro Bono Society.
Class of 2019's Impact: More than 52,000 Hours of Legal Services
The graduating class contributed more than 52,000 hours of pro bono and public interest legal services during their time at Albany Law School. Students completed work for nonprofits; municipal, state or federal government agencies; legislative bodies or court systems; the Pro Bono Society; and The Justice Center, which oversees the law school's in-house clinics, hybrid clinics, field placements, Semester and Summer in Practice, and other experiential learning programs.
The total includes work done for credit, volunteerism, work-study, and by way of grant or fellowship.