The Pro Bono Project’s Mission
The Pro Bono Project’s mission is to provide assistance to attorneys who provide high quality, legal services, at no fee or at a substantially reduced fee, to individuals in need and to create a life long commitment to pro bono work among Wake Law students. In furtherance of our mission, we have adopted the following goals:
- Increase provision of high quality, low-cost legal services to NC residents in need
- Empower working attorneys to accept more pro bono cases
- Create a life-long commitment to pro bono work among law students
Wake Forest University School of Law students engaging in pro bono legal work are expected to act as professionally as they would in a summer internship or associate position and adhere to the ethical rules and standards of professional responsibility of lawyers. This memorandum will draw your attention to the standards of professionalism that may arise in pro bono legal work and ensure that you have the tools to handle ethical and professional issues.
1. Unauthorized Practice of Law. Law students shall not practice law, give legal advice, or draft legal documents unless they are under the supervision of a licensed attorney. If you are asked a question about a specific legal issue, do not try to apply the law to a particular set of facts without direct attorney supervision. Pro bono legal work that is not included within the prohibition on the unauthorized practice of law include, but are not limited to,
- Conveying legal information that a supervising attorney tells you to give to a client;
- Drafting legal documents under the supervision of a licensed attorney;
- Teaching a legal curriculum;
- Advocacy work that a non-lawyer could do; and
- Engaging in efforts to increase access to justice.
2. Client Confidentiality. Confidentiality rules are designed to protect the interests of clients. Confidentiality applies to direct client communication, documents, case files, intake memoranda, legal research, and interviews with other relevant parties. Law students shall not discuss or disclose any information regarding a client without express permission from your supervising attorney or the Director of Community Outreach. The only instance in which you should discuss any details of a client’s case is for supervision purposes.
3. Conflicts of Interest. It is important that law students engaging in pro bono legal work do not have any actual or potential conflicts with the specific matter assigned. If you think you might have a conflict, you should address the issue with your supervising attorney or the Director of Community Outreach immediately.
If you are unclear about your ethical obligations in any situation, please consult your supervising attorney or the Director of Community Outreach immediately.