Kelsey Peden ’21

Photo of Law Student Kelsey Peden, J.D. '21“I do pro bono to use my legal studies to fight against injustice in the world. I came to Berkeley as a public interest student, and pro bono was my way of grounding what I learned in an academic setting to the realities of the world. Berkeley Law pro bono has given me the resources to be a change maker, the constant support to learn and grow in my field, and the peace of mind knowing I am doing all I can to make the legal field and my own community a better place.

My most recent work has been with the Gun Violence Prevention Project. I joined this year because I, like many others, have struggled with the prominence of gun violence in America, and I wanted to use my time and skills to make a positive change. It’s been an incredibly eye opening experience – Every time I wear my GVPP shirt someone tells me about their own personal experiences with gun violence, opening my eyes to how large of a problem this is. Through GVPP I learned about gun laws all over the US, as well as studied how they are tied to election suppression in a really interesting way. More importantly, I know I am making a change in a crucial field.

Pro bono work has been the most important part of my law school experience. It gave me the chance to learn a variety of topics, engage in actual meaningful legal work, meet new wonderful people, and give back. It can seem overwhelming at first, but I have never regretted engaging in pro bono (and I’ve done a ton!). If you are wondering if your pro bono work is important, know it is – Pro bono work at Berkeley not only helps improve the world we live in but also improves you as a future lawyer.”


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