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Pro Bono Committee created to document, catalog and recognize volunteer efforts

Whether it’s providing free tax advice, acting as a guardian ad litem, tutoring children after school or helping at a food bank on the weekends, the students, faculty and staff at the Wake Forest University School of Law give freely of their spare time to pro bono and public service efforts.

Thanks to a newly formed committee of students and faculty, those efforts will now be documented, cataloged and recognized.

The Pro Bono Committee is planning an event for the fall semester showcasing the legal and non-legal charitable efforts of the law school’s students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Faculty and students will talk about how public service work furthers students’ development as lawyers and enriches the lives of everyone who participates.

“The Wake Forest School of Law has a long and distinguished history of service to community,” says Dean Blake Morant. “This special nature of our law school will now take greater prominence as we recognize the importance of the ‘citizen lawyer.’ ”

Professor Suzanne Reynolds is heading the Pro Bono Committee that plans to catalog all pro bono and volunteer activity being done by those connected with the law school.

By providing a catalog of opportunities, students can make more purposeful choices about where to commit their extra time.

“The committee will provide a great service by serving as a central repository for all the pro bono and volunteer work being done by the law school,” she said.

A central repository will also help students make informed choices, Reynolds said.

“By providing a catalog of opportunities, students can make more purposeful choices about where to commit their extra time,” she said.

In addition to surveying students and faculty about their current pro bono and volunteer work, the committee has surveyed alumni to find out about their pro bono and public service activities to include in the catalog.

“We hope that we can assist our alumni in their pro bono work by connecting them with students interested in their particular projects,” Reynolds said.

Information gathered in the surveys will be used to develop a catalog that students can use for Public Interest Law Organization grants, Reynolds said.

Plans also call for recognizing volunteer efforts with an award for student pro bono/pro humanitate work as well as highlighting some of the activities on the law school’s Web site, Reynolds said.

“I am thrilled to be part of a community that is both intellectually rich and uniquely compassionate,” Morant says.

“The law school will set the example for institutions that seek to instill in students the important goal of service to society.”