Dear Pro Bono and Public Interest Section Members,

2020 – What a year. This year has been everything – full of challenges and opportunities. It has brought home to many of us how important our work is to those in need. Our clients have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and its economic impact. Their problems have forced us to confront social and political injustices that communities of color and other disempowered communities have faced for years, decades, centuries. It has been hard. At the same time, the pandemic’s unavoidable realities have led many of us to redouble our commitment to meeting our clients’ needs. We must look forward to the new year with hope and optimism.

I want to encourage everyone to attend – virtually of course – the AALS annual meeting. You will need to register beforehand, but please note that many schools have paid a flat fee to allow members of their faculty to attend at no additional cost.  The Pro Bono Section’s amazing program is scheduled for Wednesday, January 6, 2021, 11:00 – 12:15 PM EST (8:00 – 9:15 AM PST): Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities, Co‐Sponsored by Clinical Legal Education, Leadership, and Poverty Law, Calling Out and Leaning In to Racial and Class Inequities in Experiential Learning Opportunities  

Immediately following the substantive program, at 12:15 – 1:15 PM EST (9:15 – 10:15 AM PST), will be our Section’s Awards Program.  This year, Dean William Hubbard will be giving the Father Drinan Award to Pam Robinson, and Professor Deborah Rhode will be giving the Deborah Rhode Award to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. Both honorees have done so much to help our law schools expand their pro bono services and work towards a more just legal system.

Our work, of course, continues. I want to encourage everyone to get involved. The wonderful Sue Schechter will assume the Chair in 2021; I know she has great plans for the Section. I encourage everyone to join her to help make our Section more meaningful, diverse, and impactful for all of us. What we do has real consequences for real people.

I wish everyone the best possible end of 2020 and the most hopeful New Year. Take care of yourselves and your families, your nonhuman companions, and your communities. With gratitude for all you do,

– Sande