Don't Do it Alone: A Community-Based, Collaborative Approach to Pro Bono

30 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2009 Last revised: 24 Sep 2015

See all articles by Laurie Barron

Laurie Barron

Roger Williams University School of Law

Suzanne Harrington-Steppen

Roger Williams University School of Law

Liz Tobin-Tyler

Brown University - School of Public Health and Alpert Medical School

Eliza Vorenberg

Roger Williams University School of Law

Date Written: November 20, 2009

Abstract

As discussions are taking place in every corner of the legal profession – the ABA, state bar associations, legal services programs, law firms, and law schools – about how to engage more lawyers in pro bono work, there is a growing call for innovative collaborative approaches to the delivery and expansion of pro bono legal service which may provide a more supportive and satisfying framework for lawyers, clients, and the community. Collaborative models seek to complement the traditional individualized one attorney-one case model, with an alternative model that forms strategic alliances among community-based organizations, law students and lawyers in order to leverage the resources of each partner. This article traces recent commentary on the need for expanded pro bono service, the barriers that prevent some lawyers from taking on pro bono matters and suggestions for overcoming those barriers. It then describes the development of the Pro Bono Collaborative, a three-way partnership model created by Roger Williams University School of Law in 2004, to expand service to low-income clients and communities, engage law firms in pro bono projects in community-based organizations, and educate law students about the ethic of pro bono service. This collaborative model highlights both the benefits and challenges of a collaborative model of pro bono legal service.

This article was first presented at New York University School of Law’s Dwight D. Opperman Institute of Judicial Administration’s Research Conference on Access to Civil Justice: Empirical Perspectives, held on November 14 & 15, 2008. The article will be published in 23 Geo. J. Legal Ethics 323 (2010). It will also be published with the proceedings of the Research Conference on Access to Civil Justice at a later date.

Suggested Citation

Barron, Laurie and Harrington-Steppen, Suzanne and Tobin-Tyler, Liz and Vorenberg, Eliza, Don't Do it Alone: A Community-Based, Collaborative Approach to Pro Bono (November 20, 2009). Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 23, p. 323, 2010 , Roger Williams Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 87, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1510378

Laurie Barron (Contact Author)

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

Suzanne Harrington-Steppen

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

Liz Tobin-Tyler

Brown University - School of Public Health and Alpert Medical School ( email )

Providence, RI 02912
United States

Eliza Vorenberg

Roger Williams University School of Law ( email )

10 Metacom Avenue
Bristol, RI 02809
United States

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