This past Friday, Marquette Law School held a celebration of hope – hope for our community, hope for the legal profession, and hope for our institution. The 2011 Posner Pro Bono Exchange between Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J., director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University in New Orleans and Mike Gousha, Distinguished Fellow of Law and Public Policy at Marquette Law School, followed immediately by the induction of 91 new law student members of the Pro Bono Society (bringing the total to 103 for the academic year), was bounded by hope.
How could we alumni, staff, faculty, and donors in attendance not find hope and admiration for so many law students who committed themselves to placing their legal education at the service of those in need, without credit or compensation, even in the midst of a difficult economy and increasing academic competition? There is no requirement to perform such voluntary service, yet, each year, an increasing number of our law students choose to perform more than fifty hours of supervised, law-related, volunteer service in our community. Whether at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, the Legal and Medical Partnership for Families, the Marquette Foreclosure Mediation Program, the Marquette Legal Initiative for Nonprofit Corporations, or any of a dozen other programs or placements, these students render a real service to those in need – and in so doing, begin a career commitment to the principal of pro bono publico – service for the good of the public.
Fr. Kammer reminded us that service to others, particularly service to the most vulnerable among us, is at the heart of Catholic Social Teaching and thus, a central theme of Jesuit education. Continue reading “Law Students of Hope”