November 21, 2007
At the very heart of the College of Law's 25th Anniversary Year of celebration is its commitment to community service … a hallmark of the College of Law since its founding two-and-a-half decades ago.
In a year-long effort to showcase the importance of the law school's special connection to the community, our students, faculty and staff have committed to performing a total of 25,000 hours of pro bono service in metro Atlanta through next fall.
Pro bono service projects are already under way, as enthusiastic participants from the College of Law have been involved in various initiatives since late summer. The college is providing legal and professional skills to organizations that support civil rights and civil liberties, low-income families, neighborhood and community interests, legal advocacy, nonprofit causes and public education.
For example, a group from the law school took part in the annual Georgia State Law Day of Service Oct. 6 at Bright Futures Atlanta, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring, tutoring and a safe haven for at-risk adolescents. The project was coordinated in conjunction with Hands on Atlanta Day, the single largest day of community service in the Atlanta area. The COL community labored with the local teens on a variety of projects, including hedge pruning and landscaping, digging a drainage ditch, building a foundation for a volleyball court and the artistic assembly of a back-porch mosaic.
“This event was made even more special for the volunteers by the opportunity to work side by side with young people who are a part of the Bright Futures program,” said 3L Jen Kampsen, GSU Law Day of Service team leader and P.I.L.A. president. “It was a proud day for the College of Law. If it is true that a law school's maturity can be gauged by its dedication to service, then in my humble and certainly unbiased opinion, GSU Law has reached a new level of maturity. And what better time to show our dedication to the community than in the midst of our 25th Anniversary and our 25,000-hour pro bono pledge?”
Pro bono activities include not only those ensuring adequate legal services for moderate and low income individuals, but efforts that enhance the capacity of law and legal institutions to do justice, and activities in the local community that promote justice.
"Students here thrive on the college's many opportunities for applied learning – what they learn in the classroom is brought to life through their work and contributions in the Atlanta community," added Dean Steven Kaminshine. “This community offers us a venue for educating students about the fundamental values of the profession, including a commitment to pro bono service.”
The College of Law has developed a 25th Anniversary Pro Bono Pledge online reporting system, through which students, faculty and staff can learn about opportunities and needs for service. This system enables the college to tally everyone's pro bono hours and monitor the college's progress toward its goal of 25,000 hours.