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?

Rhodes Bailey

What firm/organization are you working with now?
Richland County Public Defender's Office

What kind of pro bono or volunteer work have you been involved in?
1) Indigent Defense, since 2007 at RCPD's Office. 2) I have spoken to high school kids about criminal justice in their classes 3) I have volunteered with a high school mock trial team. 4) I've also been doing election protection for the SC Democratic Party (though, that is arguably partisan).

What are the main reasons why you would recommend that law students become involved in pro bono work?
Because being a lawyer is most rewarding when you use your position and education to get involved in the community and make it a better place.

How would you encourage current law students to get involved with the Pro Bono program?
Get involved in whatever type of fundraising, food drives, or legal educational services you can. Even donating your old study aids for Pro Bono Board fundraising is an easy way to help. It will not only improve broader community relations, but also relationships within the legal community.

Has pro bono work contributed to your sense of career satisfaction?
Immensely. When I go home tired at the end of the day, I can rest knowing I touched someone else's life in some way. Whether it's getting a client drug treatment, mental health assistance, or putting them on the path to turning their life around - I get to see tangible, immediate results.

Did your experiences in the Pro Bono program at USC prepare you or benefit you in your career?
Yes. It gave me a window into the real world of practicing law. Additionally, I had a chance to see poverty and needy families in a new context (e.g. Holiday dinners projects at shelters, Ask a Lawyer Day, etc.).

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?
Yes, but that's easy for me since I do indigent defense for a living as a public defender. I am still involved in projects outside of work because of the relationships I have built in the office and the courtroom. I also recruit coworkers to participate in volunteer projects I am involved in.

How do pro bono efforts fit in to the work of the South Carolina Bar?
People turn to lawyers because they need assistance of some kind. Not everyone can afford this help. Even a little bit of your spare time can be a big deal to someone else.

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?
Although most perceptions of lawyers doing pro bono work are probably positive, I think lots of other lawyers don't think they have the time to do pro bono work themselves. I think they'd be surprised how easy it is to get involved if they just get started in some small way.

What is most memorable/best experience you had during your law school career through the Pro Bono program?
My favorite experience was helping serve dinner to children in a shelter a few years back (maybe it was Sistercare? Hard to remember because it was a while ago). The kids really loved the cupcakes - ask Joe Harris, if he remembers.

What does the 20th Anniversary of the Pro Bono program mean to you?
It means that every thing comes full circle. The torch is passed to new lawyers every year. My mother, Nancy Bailey, a family court lawyer, taught me the value of pro bono work at an early age. It was always an important part of her practice. She told me that the first thing I needed to do when I arrived at USC Law was to find Pam Robinson and get involved. Hopefully in 20 more years, a young lawyer can say that I inspired them to get involved like my mother and the Pro Bono Board inspired me.

What is your most cherished memory with Pam?
Probably just laughing and chatting in the Pro Bono office. Conversations were always fun because she has such an infectious enthusiasm.

What year did you graduate from the law school?