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American Bar Association

International Pro Bono Legal Specialists

Volunteer with the ABA Rule of Law Initiative

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor

"[ABA] volunteers are an inspiring example of global community service. These splendid, dedicated, talented and selfless lawyers have interrupted their lives and careers to make a difference in the world… To meet them and talk with them always fills me with pride in the spirit of volunteerism in our country.”

Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor Former United States Supreme Court Justice Member and Special Advisor, Rule of Law Initiative Board

Since 1990 more than 5,000 volunteers—judges, attorneys, law professors and legal specialists—have contributed more than $200 million in pro bono assistance to promoting the rule of law throughout the world.

Requirements

For volunteer positions abroad, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative only considers professionals with a minimum of five years of relevant experience, a high level of energy and initiative, strong interpersonal skills, and relevant substantive legal expertise. International experience and foreign language skills are preferred, but not always required.

Support Package

All volunteer participants serving over 90 days receive a generous support package that covers travel, housing and general living and business expenses. In-country foreign language training and medical evacuation are also included. Participants serving for shorter periods will receive a similar, but less comprehensive, package.

Legal Specialists reside in host countries for varying periods of time, and work closely with legal professionals, local governments, non-governmental organizations, law schools, and other institutions to identify legal reform priorities and implement technical assistance projects.

To see a list of available Pro Bono Legal Specialist opportunities, and to apply, please visit the Current Opportunities page.

Support Package

Overseas Participants serving 90 days or longer receive:

  1. Living and Housing Allowance
    • A monthly allowance to cover ordinary in-country living expenses such as meals and incidentals, falling within the U.S. State Department per diem rates;
    • Rent payments for furnished apartments;
  2. Transportation
    • Transportation to and from overseas assignments and approved in-country business travel to regional workshops and conferences;
    • Reimbursement for excess airline baggage depending on length of term abroad;
  3. Medical Evacuation Coverage
    • Medical evacuation to cover the cost and arrangements of transport to the nearest medical facility adequate to address the medical emergency;
  4. Business Expenses
    • All allowable business expenses;
  5. Foreign Language Study
    • Reimbursement of up to $500 for language training and/or materials purchased prior to departure;
    • In-country study of the host country language with local language tutors;
  6. Student Loans
    • Public service deferments are usually available to those serving a minimum of one year;
  7. ABA Membership
    • Dues waivers are available to participants serving a minimum of one year;

Overseas Participants serving less than 90 days receive:

  1. Lodging, meals and incidentals
    • Reimbursement for meals and incidentals falling within the U.S. State Department per diem rates;
    • Reimbursement for lodging;
  2. Transportation
    • Transportation to and from overseas assignments and approved in-country business travel to regional workshops and conferences;
    • Reimbursement for excess airline baggage depending on length of term abroad (determined on a case-by-case basis);
  3. Medical Evacuation Coverage
    • Medical evacuation to cover the cost and arrangements of transport to the nearest medical facility adequate to address the medical emergency;
  4. Business Expenses
    • All allowable business expenses;

For more information about opportunities offered by the Rule of Law Initiative please send an e-mail to rol@staff.abanet.org.

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