Kelsey Peden ’21

Photo of Law Student Kelsey Peden, J.D. '21
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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