The Pro Bono Collaborative was launched in response to:
• The desperate need for additional legal services for low-income Rhode Islanders.
• The national crisis in legal services for low-income people.
• A 2004 Racial Justice Colloquium held at RWU Law which identified the overwhelming need for pro bono
legal services in Rhode Island.
• The findings of a 2005 pro bono survey conducted by RWU Law and funded by the Rhode Island Foundation
that demonstrated a lack of pro bono services from attorneys employed at larger law firms in Rhode Island.
With these Goals:
• To directly and effectively meet the legal needs of low-income Rhode Islanders.
• To complement the work of both the RI Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) and RI Legal
Services, Inc. (RILS) by providing pro bono legal services in areas in which VLP and RILS are not permitted
to practice, e.g., legal services to undocumented individuals, legislative advocacy, etc.
• To increase the number of law firm attorneys in Rhode Island doing pro bono work by developing volunteer-friendly,
issue-based projects and providing substantive training, experienced mentorship and law student assistance.
• To forge and support collaborations among law firms, community based organizations and RWU Law students on
specific pro bono projects.
• To assist law firms and their community based partners in developing strong self-sustaining relationships by
working with them to develop effective systems of communication and structures of mutual support.
• To facilitate conversation and collaboration among law firms, community organizations and RWU Law about
the access to justice crisis locally and nationally.
in rhode island, there are
1.33 attorneys available for every
10,000 people in poverty