Planning a Pro Bono Clinic

Welcome! We are so glad you’re interested in planning a Home Safe Home pro bono fair with your affiliate. This page will provide you with general information about how to plan this event, which we will also pair with a checklist to aid in your planning.

What:  A Home Safe Home pro bono fair will connect attorney volunteers with non-profits, legal aid organizations, and other groups working on addressing home violence. The goal is to have an event that allows attorney volunteers to learn more about organizations that need volunteer assistance so that he or she can get involved with pro bono service to that organization.

Why: Organizations working to address home violence have a critical need for volunteer attorneys. This event will connect organizations that need volunteers with attorneys who want to volunteer. This is a great way for affiliates to connect their members with opportunities for pro bono work and community service.

Who: Your young lawyer affiliate, organizations in your community that work to address domestic and sexual violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and animal abuse. The organizations addressing animal abuse may not require attorney volunteers specifically, but may be interested in recruiting general volunteers. You can still invite animal shelters to this event, even if volunteers wouldn’t be providing pro bono legal services.

Where: Your state bar center, a local community center (including senior centers!), a law firm willing to open its doors after hours or on a weekend – anywhere with enough space for organizations to set up tables to display materials. You’ll also want attendees to be able to talk to the staffers from the organizations that attend.

Nuts and bolts of planning a Home Safe Home pro bono fair:

1) Figure out where you will have the pro bono clinic.

It’s important to figure out location first because picking the date and time will largely depend on that location’s availability. If you have to reach out to a community partner or your local state bar center to host the event, it’s important to do so early so that you can pick a date and time that you’re available, and so you can publicize that date and time to organizations that you invite. We have included a sample e-mail you can send to an organization as you are searching for your location host – download it and edit it as appropriate.

2) Choose a date and time for your event after consulting with your location host.

3) Start inviting community organizations to attend your event.

Recruit community organizations by having a short, one-sentence description of this event ready for when you call or e-mail them. We have provided a sample e-mail to send to a community organization on our website – download it and edit it as appropriate.

Throw out a wide net when you draft your list of organizations to invite. You should absolutely invite your state’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Every state has one. You can find a list of these coalitions at https://ncadv.org/state-coalitions.

Possibilities include:

  • Your state’s Coalition against Domestic Violence
  • You can ask your contact at the Coalition if there are any community organizations he/she is aware of that you should invite.
  • Legal aid organizations
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse
  • State Bar resources
  • For example, the State Bar of New Mexico has a Legal Resources for the Elderly hotline.
  • Your state’s Access to Justice Committee/Commission
  • Animal shelters
  • Your membership may include animal lovers who want to volunteer with a shelter – this isn’t pro bono legal services, but it’s still worthwhile volunteer service.
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Homeless shelters
  • Advocacy groups

    4) Publicize your event!

    When you have several community organizations that have agreed to attend your pro bono fair to recruit volunteers, you should start publicizing your event. Social media for your affiliate and e-mails to your members are the two most obvious ways to publicize, but you can also e-mail your young lawyer colleagues and friends directly. The important thing is to get the word out to as many attorneys as possible – not just young lawyers – that you’re hosting this pro bono fair. We’ve included a sample flyer for the pro bono fair on our website.

    5) Confirm logistical details with your location host

    You will need: tables for each of your community partners, chairs for the partners’ representatives, and a welcome/intake table where a volunteer from your affiliate will have a sign in sheet to keep track of attendees. That should be all you need in terms of physical equipment. 

    6) Let the Home Safe Home team know so that we can assist you.

    Let the Home Safe Home team know you are planning a clinic and keep them in the loop throughout your planning process. Contact the team through Public Service Coordinator Sonia Russo at soniarusso09@gmail.com.

    The Home Safe Home team is available to help you every step of the way and can even provide you with some free giveaways for your event. The Home Safe Home team will also help promote your clinic and give you and your volunteers credit on the ABA YLD’s social media pages. The Home Safe Home team can also put you in touch with the ABA YLD’s Affiliate blog to further publicize your efforts.

    7) On the day of the event, don’t forget your sign in sheet for attendees, and consider providing refreshments for all those who attend if your affiliate’s budget allows.

    Make sure you order any catered food at least five days before the event.

    We have provided a sample sign in sheet on our website.

    8) Don’t forget to thank the community partners that attended the pro bono fair after the event and your location host. You should also thank any volunteers you recruit from your affiliate to help you on the date of the event.