The State Bar of Texas, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, the American Bar Association, and others proudly support National Pro Bono Celebration Week (October 20-26). Pro Bono week is an opportunity to educate the public about the good work the legal community does to improve the lives of vulnerable Texans and to encourage more individuals to get involved in pro bono support of the legal system. During the week, we will feature stories of pro bono volunteers.

Genesis Reed is a 3L at SMU Dedman School of Law and a native of Mesquite. She is president of the Health Law Association and chief of the civil/consumer clinic at SMU Dedman School of Law. Reed is open to all practice areas in the future.

What kind of pro bono do you do and how long have you been doing it?
The majority of my pro bono work has been civil. I have volunteered in various branches of legal aid for the past two years, and I have been active in SMU’s civil/consumer clinic for two semesters. Additionally, I have participated in a pop-up event at SMU sponsored by the Buried Alive Project and the Decarceration Collective to write a Motion for Early Termination of Supervised Release.

Why is pro bono important to you?
Pro Bono work is important to me because it is the main reason I came to law school. I wanted to learn the law so that I could help those who couldn’t afford representation. The law isn’t just for those who can afford to participate in the system; it’s for all of us. The need in the public interest sector is great and I hope to lessen that gap. Doing pro bono work helps to fulfill the interest I have in serving my community.

What have you learned from doing pro bono?
I have learned that pro bono work is a group activity. Sustainable service or help isn’t isolated, it takes a team, it takes a group, and it takes an organization.

What would you say to a fellow student who is thinking about doing pro bono for the first time?
I would tell them to go ahead and try it. Serving others always provides more than it takes away.

Share one of your favorite pro bono success stories.
This is hard, I don’t have just one. However, one of my favorite ways to serve is working at the clinics for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, or DVAP. This is a great way to learn about various areas of the law and the approaches different attorneys take to address issues. Those who come out to serve are always interesting and intriguing people.