Short abstracts of the presentations were submitted by many of the speakers in advance of the conference. The titles of those that were submitted are underlined; to view those abstracts, click on the title.

Title: Creating & Critiquing A Pro Bono Culture: Islamabad, Pakistan & Minnesota, US

Lead Presenter: Ann Juergens


  1. Aleena Zainab Alavi
  2. Mian Sami ud-Din

Session Abstract: This session will explore the challenge of creating a pro bono network and a culture of pro bono publico work. We will also ask a few questions about the theoretical model underlying an already developed pro bono culture and see if that can help in growing a (better) new one. Aleena Zainab Alavi and Mian Sami ud-Din are young Pakistani lawyers who seek to develop a pro bono network in their country where there is little volunteer culture within the private bar, few law student legal clinics, and few or no legal aid offices. The Bar Association of Pakistan is not happy with the idea of pro bono work; it wants to protect the livelihoods of those lawyers who offer cheap but usually low quality legal services. In Pakistan, people who are affected by poverty and lack of privilege are often taken advantage of by low cost legal service providers. Developing some alternatives for access to justice is the mission of a growing group of lawyers. In Minnesota, USA, in contrast, a pro bono network has grown steadily over the three decades that Ann Juergens has taught law there. An increasing number of lawyers contributes time to client matters referred through the network. Large firms and other lawyers apply for recognitions—both local and national—that are given to those who give the most hours. Nevertheless, access to justice is elusive for all but the wealthiest 10 or 20% of Minnesotans, as is the case in other states. Funding for free legal services has decreased as government increasingly relies on volunteers to provide essential legal services to people of limited means. The presenters will explore these two sides of pro bono and ask the group for discussion and potential recommendations. How can Pakistan develop a group of volunteer lawyers? While they do so, shall the usual theory of pro bono service be altered? If access to justice goals require that we find ways to offer both free and lower cost legal services, might some models of pro bono encourage a culture that actually reduces the bar’s efforts toward justice? How might professional rules governing pro bono be crafted to motivate every lawyer to appraise her work in light of its contributions to the quality of justice?

Session Material:

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See full list of abstracts here.