These mountains that you are carrying,
you were only supposed to climb.

– Najwa Zebian, Lebanese-Canadian activist, author, speaker

Dear Law School Community Friends,

As we honor and mourn the year of living and working remotely, it has really dawned on me the load we are all carrying.  I will make the big leap and assume that everyone who is getting this newsletter is part of the AALS Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities Section because they care about students, their communities, and the legal profession.  I know more than a few of you have gone beyond the climb and have taken on the burdens of your students, your communities, and the profession to try and ease someone else’s burden and to meet an unmet need.  When I heard Najwa Zabian’s quote a few months into the remote world, I could not let it go – and to say it has supported, strengthened, and comforted me would be an understatement.  Many days over the last year, I have wanted to curl up in a ball, watch another television series, or go out for a long walk with a dog friend, but I have stayed in front of my computer for a student, a supervisor, a meeting, knowing that I was not alone and only by supporting each other would we be able to take get through this time.  We have so, so much work to do in meeting unmet legal needs, in beginning and continuing to raise the issues of racial injustice and the need for racial reckoning, and the critical need for having an earth that we can all live on – from climate change and the worsening of the ‘natural’ (National Geographic, that hotbed of radical theory, recently noted we needed to stop calling these natural disasters and recognize the role that man (sic) has played in these ‘man-made’ disasters. 

For this message, I wanted to call out 3 new endeavors our section is carrying on:

  1. Thank you to the Collaboration Committee which held its 2nd AALS National Law School Pro Bono Call – we had a zoom room full of people sharing ideas and energy – our next one is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, 11am/pst – thank you Anna Davis (UC Irvine) and Laura Worstek (DePaul)!
  2. Thank you to the Educational Enrichment Committee which held its 1st Inaugural Speaker Series with Alissa Rubin Gomez, from University of Houston, talking about her forthcoming article – Demand-Side Justice:  Legal Literacy to Close the Gap – we had over 30 people on the call, including a large handful of legal services practitioners – so great to have all listening and contributing to the conversation.  Thank you to Kelli Neptune (Howard) and Eliza Vorenberg (Roger Williams Univ.)!
  3. Thank you to the Membership Committee who are bringing up a resource to welcome new folks to our Section and provide them with some leads on resources, including people to help – thank you Pam Robinson (Univ. of So. Carolina) and Shawna Smith-Thornton (Texas A & M)

Wherever you sit, wherever you are, know you are not alone, know you have colleagues, allies, co-conspirators, and friends all across the country and world who are carrying this load with you….and please, please reach out – we are stronger, and we will have more fun doing this together!

– Sue Schechter