Reprinted with permission from KLEW-TV
MOSCOW, ID - University of Idaho law students were recently honored for logging nearly 12,000 hours of pro bono legal services. Palouse Reporter, Stephanie Hale-Lopez tells us how providing the free legal services enriched the experience of those who gave their time.
The 102 graduates who comprise the Idaho College of Law's class of 2011 donated a total of 11,795 hours of pro bono services over the course of their law degree programs.
"Being a law student and sitting in a classroom is necessary, you need to learn the basics and the fundamentals, " said third year law student Erin Agidius. "…but being able to go out and put them to practice is what you'll need to be able to do when you get out of law school."
While clients in the greatest need benefit from the time, talents and energies of lawyers and law students providing pro bono aid, those providing the free help say they also benefit from the work.
"They do realize that these people, whether it be adults or children, are placing their fortunes in the hands of these law students and oftentimes these people have nowhere else to go and that's why pro bono work is so important," said UI College of Law Dean, Don Burnett.
The University of Idaho College of Law has a long tradition of service, including pro bono service. In 2006, the completion of 40 hours of pro bono work became a graduation requirement of the college.
"It's a fundamental part of the profession of law to give back through pro boon work to help people that have limited access to court and to the justice system and we feel that students need to learn that as part of their education here at the law school," said Director of the UI Pro Bono Program, Trapper Stewart.
The National Pro Bono Commission recently signed a resolution declaring the last week of October as "Idaho Pro Bono Week," in recognition of the tens of thousands of hours of legal services provided free of charge by law students and practitioners throughout the state
University officials say it's important that students become practiced in the commitment of pro bono legal services, as it has long been a hallmark of the legal profession in Idaho as well as across the nation.