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American Bar Association

Pro Bono & Public Interest Committee



Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year.

ABA Model Rule 6.1

Welcome to the Pro Bono and Public Interest Litigation Committee Website. The Committee coordinates the pro bono efforts of the Section. Our mission is to:

  • Promote pro bono and public interest opportunities.
  • Highlight the outstanding work of individuals and firms that are providing pro bono services.
  • Foster and participate in special pro bono projects. 
  • Provide a gateway to pro bono and public interest litigation resources.

We invite you to join our committee and contribute by publishing an article in our newsletter, contributing content for the website, signing up for one of our volunteer projects, or assisting in selecting the recipients for the prestigious John Minor Wisdom pro bono award. We welcome young lawyers and experienced lawyers to partner with us as we seek to enhance the profession through pro bono and public service.



Ethical Game Show CLE: July 22, 2013

The Practising Law Institute presents:

This Really Happened: A Review of Real World Ethical Issues 2013 (the "ethics game show")

At this unique, 2-hour, interactive ethics program, its expert faculty will review a whole new set of hypotheticals based on some of the most outlandish cases recently reported. What did those attorneys do? What would you do? What do the experts say you should do? Test your knowledge of the pertinent ethical rules!

New York City and Live Webcast, July 22, 2013

9:00–11:00 a.m. ET

Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings 2013

The Practising Law Institute presents:

Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings 2013

Chair: Parisa Karaahmet—Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP

Immigrants without legal representation in removal proceedings face a much higher risk of removal, regardless of their eligibility for relief. The majority of immigrants facing removal go unrepresented and there izs a great need for knowledgeable attorneys to defend immigrants in these cases. At PLI's Defending Immigration Removal Proceedings 2013 program on August 12, panels of nationally recognized experts will provide updates on new developments in the law and a comprehensive overview of how to most effectively defend immigrants facing removal.

You will learn about:

  • Ethical issues
  • Special issues in representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender clients
  • Options available to clients with criminal convictions
  • Representing children and Violence Against Women Act claims
  • Recent developments in asylum law

Special feature—earn 1 Ethics credit!

This program is designed for both new and mid-level attorneys. All attorneys who attend will improve their advocacy skills on behalf of immigrants.

Scholarships are available for qualified applicants.

Want to attend the program with your colleagues and volunteers but can't make it in person? Schedule a PLI Groupcast to allow group viewing via live or on-demand webcast in your office! Contact the Groupcast Department via email at groupcasts@pli.edu for more details.

Civil Right to Counsel Video

Learn more about the latest developments on the civil right to counsel movement and how you can get involved. Watch now.

Note from the Editor

Please send us your ideas for new activities you would like the editorial board to pursue. If you are interested in submitting an article for upcoming newsletter issues, or offer comments, send an email to Rachel Pereira.

CLEs and Events

Our latest update of upcoming CLEs in pro bono and public interest law and programs offering benefits to public interest and pro bono lawyers is now available. We would like to thank YuShan Chang and Thornwell "Biff" Sowell, cochairs of the Programs and Materials Subcommittee, for their hard work in compiling and organizing this list by state. These updates will be posted here in the CLEs and Events section of our webpage for your easy reference.

Message from the Chairs

When the going gets tough, great pro bono volunteers get going! When you turn to the web, TV, or radio, and all you hear is bad news, it is difficult to take. Economic downturn, high unemployment, increased foreclosures, crowded shelters, and the list goes on. Sometimes it feels like our communities are crashing down around us.

It could be enough to give up hope but not for the legal profession.

In our profession, our ability to practice depends on one critical expectation of each attorney: Everyone contributes. Everyone does his or her part. Our profession requires those who are fortunate enough to complete a legal education still to meet several standards to receive a coveted license to put that legal education to use. Not only must one pass a bar admission test in any state where her or she expects to practice, but also one meet character standards and pledge to contribute pro bono time to the poor and those who lack access to justice.

Our committee is built around the idea that we are all at our best when we perform pro bono work. We explore new ways to do more, do it well, and encourage our colleagues to join us in pro bono work.

Thank you for being a part of this committee, which is so important to our profession. We encourage your activity in the committee. Bring ideas! Tell us about great projects! Write articles for our newsletter! Let us know how you want to work with the ABA to raise the bar when it comes to pro bono.

Together we can make a difference!

Angela C. Vigil

Randall (Randy) Chapman

Dawn Du Verney

Paul Sandars

Cochairs, Section of Litigation Pro Bono & Public Interest Committee


Our active subcommittees include:

  • John Minor Wisdom Award
  • Newsletter
  • Diversity
  • Website
  • Expert Witness Database Project
  • Membership
  • Public Interest

Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs:


Pro Bono & Public Interest Leadership
Cochairs Newsletter Editor Web Editors

Angela C. Vigil

Miami, FL

Randall Chapman

Austin, TX

Dawn Du Verney

Philadelphia, PA

Paul Sandars

Roseland, NJ

Rachel Pereira

Philadelphia, PA

Full subcommittee roster

Joy B. Tolliver

Parsippany, NJ

Alison Bain-Lucey

New York, NY

Kyana Woolridge

New York, NY

Jesse Horn

Denver, CO