BUFFALO, N.Y. -- National and local experts on providing legal
services to those unable to afford high lawyer bills will convene
in Buffalo this month for a three-day pro bono conference sponsored
by the University at Buffalo's Law School, the Department of
Sociology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences and local judicial
The conference, beginning at 5 p.m. April 24 in the Main-Seneca
Building, 327 Main St., will investigate new developments and
research in pro bono legal help, explore the relationship between
pro bono ideals and pro bono in practice, and examine the
opportunities and limitations of pro bono in expanding access to
Entitled "Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving
Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Profession," the conference will
feature two keynote addresses.
Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University and one of
the nation's leading scholars in the fields of legal ethics and
professional responsibility, will speak at 6 p.m. April 24. Rhode
is the author of numerous books, including "Pro Bono in Principle
and Practice: Public Service and the Professions" (2005) and
"Access to Justice" (2004). She will explore ways to make the best
use of private lawyers' pro bono efforts in collaboration with
public interest organizations.
The conference continues April 25 in the UB Law School with five
panel presentations by scholars from across the country, and a
second keynote address to be given at 1 p.m. by Karen Mathis.
Mathis is immediate past-president of the American Bar Association,
the third woman to serve as president and a partner with McElroy,
Deutsch, Mulvaney, and Carpenter, LLP, in Denver. Her presentation,
"A Second Season of Service," will explore ways in which senior
attorneys can contribute their expertise pro bono.
The conference will conclude April 26 with a morning training
session on matrimonial law for local practitioners. The session is
designed to train attorneys with little or no experience in
matrimonial law on how to handle a divorce case efficiently from
the first meeting with the client to the signing of the final
Free and open to the public, the conference is organized by
Robert Granfield, professor and chair of the UB Department of
Sociology; Lynn Mather, professor and director of the Baldy Center
for Law and Social Policy in the UB Law School; Anthony Szczgiel,
UB law professor; Robert Elardo, managing attorney with the
Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Bar Association of Erie County;
and Amanda Warner, Eighth Judicial District pro bono coordinator
with the Volunteer Lawyers Project.
CLE credits are available for attorneys and will be offered for
both days; six on April 25 in the area of professional practice
(non-transitional only) and four on April 26 in the areas of skills
and professional practice. Saturday's training is free in exchange
for a commitment to handle a pro bono divorce case within one year.
Full program and registration details are available on the Web site
The conference is part of UB 2020's commitment to civic
engagement and public policy.