KeAndra Hollis ’24

“I engage in pro bono work because I believe every individual should feel confident in accessing justice and the legal system no matter their socio-economic status or background. I grew up in a low-income community where navigating the legal process or affording an attorney seemed impossible for almost any matter. Through pro bono work, I have the ability to help families and individuals overcome legal barriers while reassuring them that they, too, no matter their circumstances, deserve justice and equal access. 

I am currently a part of the Startup Law Initiative (SLI), where I assist in providing incorporation services to underrepresented entrepreneurs and startup knowledge to local community members. Early on, I recall being frustrated that the businesses operating in my community were not representative of the residents who lived there. How can we improve a community that has struggled with economic mobility for decades if our dollars are not circulating back into our neighborhoods? My passion for increasing diversity among businesses and improving access to capital thus began with this question. After seeing the impacts of COVID-19 for minority-owned companies, my desire for helping underrepresented entrepreneurs further ignited and led me to apply for the Startup Law Initiative. This pro bono opportunity has not only allowed me to grasp the legal aspects of businesses and startups to assist clients, but has also provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as a student to listen to passionate, innovative entrepreneurs about their goals and how they may impact society.

 I would strongly encourage current and future students to engage in pro bono opportunities! Engaging in pro bono work is essential for law students because we can create meaningful impacts through the privileges and resources allotted to us while being reminded of our unique positions to advocate and advance justice as future lawyers. For me, pro bono work is an enlightening experience as 1L; I can give back to communities while working with peers outside of the classroom. Moreover, I can apply the knowledge gained from my doctrinal courses to pro bono work and further identify my strengths as an advocate and areas where I wish to improve as a future attorney and leader.”

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