Pro bono has been lexically and legally defined as being, involving, or doing professional and especially legal work donated especially for the public good. In the judicial system of the Philippines, however, the noble pro bono service has earned a notorious and tarnished connotation of being poor and mediocre lawyering service which are provided and paid for by the government to the least fortunate and indigent populace who needed legal representation but are not capable of hiring one at their own expense. The issue of whether pro bono service is tantamount to a meager kind of service should be addressed, amended and rewritten in both papers and mindset of the people because certainly pro bono is not a lowly and deprived service but one of the most important, self-sacrificing and honorable practice and service anyone from the legal system can actually offer. And for that I say it is high time to redefine pro bono.
The International Volunteer Leadership Program (IVLP) of the State Department of the United States of America has been such a great help to us who participated in the said program. The program covered much related issues, topics and discussions which the legal system in general often encounters and offered the most effective if not the best remedy to battle up those issues. Among the long list of topics and concerns included in the program, the subject that most concerned and challenged me as member of a legal aid and that being an aspiring lawyer is the Pro Bono service.
Pro Bono service in the perspective of lawyers and those who are involved in the legal system of the United States is a booming and flourishing trend. It is neither lowly nor meager. It is now being considered as a constructive rivalry of competent, successful and kind hearted lawyers who amidst they practices and busiest schedules are still able to share some hours and live up in the spirit of free service and volunteerism. Lawyers who engaged in Pro Bono services are not mandated nor obliged to serve. It is in their purest intention of assisting those who are in need. They constructively brawl up against each other to defend the rights of their clients. They do free legal consultations and empower those who knew least of their rights by sharing their legal knowledge. They strategized and positively compete with other firms who too are engaged in Pro Bono service. Pro Bono in the modern sense is a clash of clans between the rock star lawyers and I strongly believe that this up-to-the-minute trend should also be greatly considered in our judicial system as well.
Lawyering, as often as we are being told is a noble profession and not a business; it is our service to mankind that deserves the best succor to the least of our brethren. What better way to serve than serving and taking part in the front row of the toughest, sharpest, bravest and kind-hearted defenders and advocates of justice? What better way than live up to the challenge of pro bono and set the trend of being the new rock stars of our legal system?
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Liceo Legal Aid Center (LiLAC) doing business under the name and style of Center for Alternative Lawyering of Liceo is the legal aid center of Liceo de Cagayan University, a privately owned university based in Cagayan de oro City. The group is composed of law students, alumni of the College of Law of the University, and lawyers who are passionate in the practice of alternative lawyering. LiLAC is guided by its vision of a holistic formation of law students committed to the transformation of society by promoting justice, empowerment, unity and peace, through helping the marginalized sector of the depressed areas here in Mindanao, in the Philippines and in the world. While the group was registered only this year with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it has been providing services to marginalized communities in partnership with NGOs for more than 8 years now. LiLAC has more than 50 members, 15 of whom are taking the active role of running the groupís activities.
The Mindanao State University Legal Aid Clinic or Mindanao SULAC for brevity, is the Legal Aid Clinic of Mindanao State University College of law. It is the first and currently the only one of its kind to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It strives to cater the legal needs of the underprivileged and/or indigent clients of the Region and to help promote the proper administration of justice as a key to lasting peace in the region and in the country as a whole.
Office Address: 1F MSU College of Law Bldg.,
MSU Main Campus, Marawi City 9700 Philippines
Mobile No.: (+63) 907 336 7762
The Notre Dame university is a Catholic Institution in Cotabato City run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and member of the Notre Dame Educational Association Philippines.The Notre Dame University Legal Aid Center started sometime in 2009. Its members are the officially enrolled students of NDU-College of Law.
The following are the official pages and e-mail address of the group:
The Palawan Cradle of Rights is a unified composition of law students from Palawan State university school of Law, established last August 26, 2013 after the culminating activity of the Basic Orientation Seminar by the US Embassy in partnership with the MYVC.
Through our linkages and with the help of the different Government and Non-government organizations we aim to provide free access to people who need legal assistance.
The University of Mindanao Legal Aid Network (ULAN) is a non-stock, non-profit, and service institution of the University of Mindanao. As a service institution, it provides legal assistance, advocates human rights and social justice, and facilitates the formation of law students for alternative lawyering. It consists of law students and alumni of the College of Legal Education of the University of Mindanao committed to provide an adequate and greater access to justice of the community through its programs.
The CENTRO ADVOCACIA LEGAL is organized exclusively for charitable, socio-cultural and educational purposes, more specifically to serve the needs of the marginalized communities specifically children and youth and the minorities in Zamboanga City through Legal Aid Assistance and Human Rights Based Advocacies.