Here are five questions we recommend law students ask prospective employers to help you hold more meaningful conversations about their pro bono programs.
What are the pro bono opportunities for vacation clerks and graduate lawyers at your organisation?
What support is provided to vacation clerks and graduates to do pro bono work? Is there training and mentoring? Does the firm/organisation provide fee relief for pro bono work? And are pro bono contributions considered in performance reviews?
What are the key focus areas and clients supported by your firm’s pro bono legal work?
(For mid to large size firms/organisations) Does your firm/organisation employ dedicated pro bono staff?
These questions are particularly helpful to ask when you are being interviewed for a clerkship or graduate role.
The answers may help you to better distinguish between the pro bono programs of different organisations, allowing you to choose an employer that shares your values. We recommend you research each prospective employer before an interview to better tailor your questions to that particular organisation.
Why should I ask my prospective employer pro bono questions?
Asking these questions in a thoughtful, considered manner can bring various benefits to students, prospective employers, and the social justice sector as a whole:
Making informed decisions about workplaces
Junior lawyers can often gain a lot of experience working on pro bono matters. Choosing a workplace with a genuine commitment to involving law graduates and new lawyers in pro bono means choosing a workplace with more learning opportunities! And if you’re passionate about social justice, finding a role that allows you to incorporate pro bono work into your day job will keep you feeling motivated and connected to your community. You can find out more about the benefits of pro bono here.
Engaging in meaningful conversations
Asking pro bono questions shows that you have a genuine interest in your prospective employer’s work and demonstrates your desire to make a positive contribution to society.
Genuine interest creates positive change
The more interest jobseekers show toward pro bono work, the stronger the motivation will be for organisations to maintain and improve their pro bono programs.