5/9/14: Brian Justice breaks pro bono service record
Release Date: 5/9/2014
Brian Justice looked at Charleston Law’s 30-hour pro bono requirement as an opportunity—he never set out to break a record. In the process of learning and volunteering, Justice performed 1,747 hours of pro bono work and set a new school record for individual student pro bono service. The previous record was set by Peter Kaufman, a 2011 graduate at 1,550 hours.
“I wanted to learn as much as I could about different practice areas,” explained Justice, a May 2014 graduate. “Seeing the practical side of the law was very beneficial for me. Most importantly, I learned there are a lot of people out there who need help. I felt like I was able to impact people’s lives while learning.”
Classmate Jenny Pittman performed 1,569 hours of pro bono service, which also beat the previous record. As part of the Charleston School of Law's mission to instill within its students a commitment to public service, the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono develops and assists in coordinating a variety of pro bono opportunities for students. These placements allow students to work with attorneys practicing in the public interest legal sector and meet or exceed the 30 hours of pro bono work the School of Law requires for graduation.
Justice did pro bono work with four different sites and gained a broad array of legal experience. He spent most of his hours with S.C. Court of Appeals Judge Paula Thomas. He also worked in South Carolina for the 12th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant, and Catholic Charities Office of Immigration Services.
His most memorable experience occurred at Catholic Charities Office of Immigration Services. He helped a young woman get the documents needed for her to accept a scholarship and attend college.
“He is an independent, creative thinker,” said Emily Guerrero, his supervising attorney at Catholic Charities Office of Immigration Services. “He was always eager to learn new things and very compassionate to the needs of our clients.”
Justice was so dedicated to his immigration work that he completed a seven-week Spanish immersion program in Mexico last summer so he could become proficient in Spanish.
“It seems that in life, as with my pro bono work, one thing just leads to another,” Justice explained. “I worked so hard and did so many hours because I truly appreciated all the opportunities everyone gave me. It was important for me to give to others who may not have been as fortunate as I have been.”
Justice plans to take the South Carolina Bar in July and practice in South Carolina. He predicts his approach to life after law school will mirror his approach to his pro bono work as a law student.
No matter where his practice takes him, the spirit of giving back that Justice embraced at the Charleston School of Law will be an important part of his legal career.
For more information, contact Michelle Condon, Director of Public Service and Pro Bono.
Written by: Michelle Condon
Photo by: Kat Drerup