20th Anniversary Celebration


20th Anniversary Celebration Committee


20 Things You Might Not Know


20 Things You Can Do


Where are they now?


History of the Pro Bono Program


For the Good of the Order


Pro Bono Program

Where are they now?


Valerie Cochran

What firm/organization are you working with now?
Georgia Public Defenders Standards Council

What kind of pro bono or volunteer work have you been involved in?
Girl Scouts- co-leader and volunteer

What are the main reasons why you would recommend that law students become involved in pro bono work?
First and foremost, law school is a self-centered exercise. Pro Bono is an excellent way to take a break from everything and not do more self-centered stuff like drink.

How would you encourage current law students to get involved with the Pro Bono program?

Has pro bono work contributed to your sense of career satisfaction?
It gives me a sense of connection to the community and since I'm so far from home and my people that's been important.

Did your experiences in the Pro Bono program at USC prepare you or benefit you in your career?
I have to remind myself sometimes that I'm not doing it for the money I'm doing it to try to help people. While that's not something I learned through the Pro Bono Program it's something I worked on making more a part of my everyday life, and that aspect has certainly been critical.

In your career, have you seen an overlap between your volunteer work and your sense of your own place in the community and the legal profession?
I'm not sure working with the Girl Scouts has done much for my sense of place in the legal profession. It connects me to the community but that's about it.

How do pro bono efforts fit in to the work of the South Carolina Bar?
Since I'm not an active SC bar member I don't feel qualified to speak to this.

What kind of perceptions, positive or negative, do you think that the bar as a whole has about attorneys who are actively involved in pro bono work?
In GA, I don't see a lot of attorneys volunteering on any level. I get the sense that because there's a public defender's office and a legal services program there's nothing left for them to do. There is a small minority who are active in the bar's legal services programs like for veterans but that's about it.

What is most memorable/best experience you had during your law school career through the Pro Bono program?
The Halloween party we did for the kids.

What does the 20th Anniversary of the Pro Bono program mean to you?
20 years of Pam's snacks and constant cheerfulness… oh, wait, you meant the program specifically! Well, it means thousands of meals for the less fortunate and huge numbers of kids who otherwise might not have had a safe Halloween, and lots of law students giving back.

What is your most cherished memory with Pam?
The frazzled, but excited, look she gets at food drive time. Those broken wheel carts. Race Judicata. I'm sure I'll think of more.