Pro Bono Fair Checklist

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.

Ten weeks before the pro bono fair:

  • Reach out to different locations that may be able to host your event. We have a sample e-mail you can use for this on the Home Safe Home website.

Eight weeks before the pro bono fair:

  • Confirm where you will have the event and select a date and time for the event in consultation with your host. Make sure your host knows that organizations will need access to the room before the start time so they can set up their tables. Remember to confirm the room location as well so you can put that on your flyers and other publicity for the event.
  • After you confirm the place, time, and date of the pro bono fair, begin reaching out to community organizations you want to invite. Remember that we have a sample e-mail for you on the Home Safe Home website. Keep reaching out until you have enough – at least three organizations – who have confirmed their attendance.
  • Remember to include organizations that may not need attorney volunteers, like animal shelters.

Six weeks before the pro bono fair:

  • Begin publicity efforts to alert fellow lawyers – your attendees – that the event is happening.
  • Create a schedule for your publicity efforts. Figure out how often you want to have e-mails sent to your young lawyer affiliate membership, and how often you want your young lawyer affiliate and your state bar to post about this event on social media.
  • Print your flyers (we have a sample for you to use on the Home Safe Home website) and post them.
  • Check to see whether your young lawyer affiliate or state bar organization has a publication, and if so whether a release form is required for photos to be published. You will want to make sure you have the release form at your event if you want to take photos.
  • Remember to utilize social media, including that of your state bar organization and your young lawyers affiliate. Also, if your young lawyers affiliate or your state bar has a calendar or other website to let members know about events, ask if your event can be placed on that calendar. 2
  • Let the ABA YLD know the details of your event so that we can help you publicize too. We can also answer any questions you have and help you with your planning efforts. The Public Service Team contact is Sonia Russo (soniarusso09@gmail.com). If you are planning this event in 2019 or later, reach out to whoever the Public Service Director is at the time, and that person will assist you in finding the right contact for publicity and assistanceFive weeks before the pro bono fair:
  • How many community organizations have confirmed their attendance at your event? Keep track of this, and make sure you continue to follow up with them.

Four weeks before the pro bono fair:

  • Follow up with your confirmed organizations. Make sure you communicate with them to let them know what you’ll have available at the event location (tables, chairs) and what they’ll need to bring (their own publicity materials, their own sign up sheets for volunteers to share their contact information, representatives from their organization who can staff the event).
  • Don’t lose track of your publicity efforts! Keep those going.
  • Keep reaching out to community organizations if you need more to confirm their attendance.

Three weeks before the pro bono fair:

  • Confirm that your host will have tables and chairs available for use during the event.
  • Confirm whether your host will unfold and set up the tables for the community organizations or whether you need to do that, and plan accordingly.
  • Confirm whether your host is okay with you providing refreshments, if you have funding for this program.
  • Start recruiting a couple of volunteers from your young lawyer affiliate to help you run this event.
  • Keep publicizing the event for fellow attorneys.

One week before the pro bono fair:

  • Follow up with all of your confirmed community organizations one more time, reminding their representatives about the date, time, and place of the event.
  • Place your catering order if you’ll be providing refreshments.

The day before the pro bono fair:

  • Print your own sign in sheets and make sure you have pens.
  • Don’t forget paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, cups, and anything else you need for the refreshments you’re serving (if you’re serving any).
  • You may want to make your own signs for the location itself to point people to the right room within the building. Don’t forget tape if you’re going to do this so that you can post your signs.

The day of the pro bono fair:

  • Consider asking a volunteer who isn’t you to pick up the food order, if needed. If you can’t ask someone else, don’t forget to do that!
  • Arrive at the venue early to post your signs directing people to the right room and to set up your intake table with your sign in sheets. You will also want to greet the community organizations who are arriving to set up their own tables.
  • Help set up tables for the community organizations if needed.
  • Set up your food table, if you’ll have one.
  • Take photos of your event for your young lawyer affiliate’s publication.

One week after the pro bono fair:

  • Send a thank you note to your host. You should also thank the community organizations that attended and your volunteers who helped you put on the event.
  • Update the ABA YLD on your event. We want to hear how it went, what you felt could have gone better, and what you felt went well. That information is valuable to us in updating the materials in our affiliate toolkit.