For law students
Being involved in pro bono work as a student can be a great experience.
You may be looking towards a career with a social justice focus (for example, working in a community legal centre, legal aid, pro bono clearing house or referral scheme, or a law firm pro bono practice), or you might simply have a passion for social justice and aim to incorporate pro bono work into your career on the side.
How can I get involved?
The Centre has published a Student Pro Bono Guide. This resource was prepared for Australian law students to encourage participation in pro bono legal work while studying and when pursuing careers as lawyers – whether in private practice, government, corporate or the community sector.
View the guide here.
How do I find social justice opportunities?
The Centre’s Social Justice Opportunities (SJOpps) website is a one-stop guide for students and new lawyers seeking to establish a social justice career or become involved in volunteering opportunities.
- a regularly updated jobs board, linking to ethical jobs and volunteering opportunities around Australia targeted at law students, law graduates and new lawyers
- guidance and information on getting involved in social justice at each stage of a law student’s journey, including when an undergraduate student, completing PLT, looking for graduate jobs, and undertaking postgraduate study
- a set of Student Pro Bono Questions which students can ask prospective employers when applying for clerkships and graduate roles to distinguish between the pro bono programs of different organisations.
You can also follow SJOpps on Twitter or like it on Facebook.
What is pro bono?
Pro bono means “for the public good” and is defined by the Centre here. Law students who get involved in pro bono provide a community service by:
- assisting in providing services to improve access to justice for people who can’t otherwise afford to pay for legal assistance, or
- assisting non-profit organisations that work on behalf of those people, and
- doing it without getting any kind of fee, reward or academic credit.
Undertaking pro bono is a great introduction for students on lawyers’ ethical responsibility to contribute their services for free or for a significantly reduced fee.
What are some of the benefits of getting involved in social justice?
The benefits of getting involved in social justice include:
- satisfaction from helping people to gain access to justice
- practical work experience that can’t be learnt in a classroom and looks great on your CV (e.g., how to communicate with clients and analyse real life legal issues)
- opportunities to network with like-minded solicitors and other law students, and
- making connections with your local community.
Page last updated December 2022.