The UVa Law School has recently announced the formation of a new pro bono clinic for its graduate students. The clinic will encompass civil rights and racial justice cases that will help students gain experience in the area.
Formally called The Civil Rights Litigation Pro Bono Clinic, the clinic was made possible by a generous donation from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The fund gave the clinic a generous $80,000 grant that will allow students to work on many current civil rights issues. Additionally, it has helped to provide grants that supported the development of eight pro bono clinics since 1996. The UVA Law School has continually met the values of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund which include: maintaining the highest ethical standards in all that they do, respecting the wisdom and creativity of the organizations and communities with whom they work, acting with compassion, working for justice, and championing the rights of all people to share in the wealth and health of our nation.
The clinic will be partnering with Charlottesville’s Legal Aid Justice Center for the pro bono cases. Over winter break, nine law students worked at the Justice Center to work on cases that the clinic will be tasked with in the future. With the current political and social landscape, civil rights cases have increased in importance.
Legal Aid Justice Center Litigation Director Angela Ciolfi, a 2003 graduate of the UVa Law School who will co-direct the clinic expressed the significance of civil rights cases in American society.
“We hope the students will come away with a deeper understanding of the role of race and poverty in American life and the role of lawyers in challenging all the policies and systems that perpetuate poverty,” Ciolfi stated.