Welcome to the website of the Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono at Duke Law School. The purpose of this site is to acquaint students, prospective students, alumni, potential pro bono supervisors, and the general public with the goals and resources provided by this office.
Public interest is broadly defined at Duke Law School. Our office is for all the students of the school whether or not they expect to spend any part of their professional career in the public sector. Lawyers are looked to as leaders in their communities and most are called upon frequently to serve their communities; indeed, they are exhorted to do so by the codes of professional responsibility of state bars.
Lawyers have many opportunities to serve. The two most obvious examples are careers in the public sector - government and non-profit legal advocacy - and law firm pro bono work. However, lawyers also serve as legislators crafting laws, as advisors on non-profit boards, as members of public commissions, and in countless other ways. This public spiritedness of the profession is encouraged and cultivated among Duke Law students.
In fall 2003, we introduced the Pro Bono Pledge, which all students are invited to sign to signify their commitment to contribute at least 50 hours of law-related service to the community while enrolled at Duke Law School. The 50 hours exhortation is inspired by the ABA's Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 that states, in part: "Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal service per year."
Enjoy these pages that celebrate the public commitment of the Duke Law community. If you need more information or are seeking additional resources, please contact us so that we may be able to assist you.
"Altruism combined with realism; knowledge of fundamental principles and capacity to apply them; courage to insist on the right and patience to achieve it; understanding of the timidity of the weak; fearlessness of the domination of the powerful; sympathy for the mistakes of the indiscreet; caution of the craftiness of the unprincipled; enthusiasm for that which is fine and inspiring; reverence for that which is sacred; these are some of the attributes of great lawyers." - Justin Miller, Dean, 1930-34