At the Celebrate Pro Bono Event on October 20, Pro Bono Law Student Award recipient Bill Scarber, a 3L, said that providing volunteer legal service to the underrepresented reminded him of why he was attracted to law school in the first place. “I love pro bono work because it keeps me grounded,” he detailed. “It keeps me remembering why I am in this profession and why I have joined it. It keeps me grateful for the things that we have learned here in law school. Having an advanced degree like this, and doing this work is pretty rare in the world. There are a lot of people who do not have access [to knowledge], to be able to read, or to have an education. We are blessed. So I think it is really important to show that we are grateful for that opportunity.”
Scarber was one of several award recipients at the ceremony. Judge George M. Harmond received the Pro Bono Service Award. Virginia Sudbury received the Pro Bono Attorney Award. Arnold & Wadsworth received the Pro Bono Law Firm Award.
Rod Snow, former president of the Utah State Bar and currently a shareholder and president of the law firm of Clyde Snow and Sessions, provided the keynote address. Other speakers included Jim D. Gilson (Utah State Bar President) and Judge Michelle Christiansen.
Jolynn Spruance, Director of the Pro Bono Initiative, said the annual Celebrate Pro Bono Event is important because “Each legal professional will, at one point or another in their career, have the opportunity to give back to the community through pro bono service. As a law student, engaging with the Pro Bono Initiative will give you the opportunity to develop legal skills in real-world situations. As a practitioner, you will be able to mentor law students while giving back to the community. Together, students and practitioners will provide valuable legal assistance to those in need.“
In keeping with the spirit of the event, Scarber thanked those who had helped him get to law school, including his wife. “I appreciate this [award] but there are some people here who really deserve this more than me. One of them is my wife. Some people drop their jaws when I say this, but we have six children at home and one on the way. Becoming a lawyer was a midcareer shift and some people say, ‘Oh my goodness!’ Yet she has never complained. For all the hours I spent trying to study, she has always been there for me. I am grateful for her.”
He also expressed gratitude to his fellow volunteers. “Last of all, are the many students who are here, who do so much pro bono work. There are many who are equally or more deserving of this award then I am. With all the hours they spend doing this, with all the things they have on their plate, I am grateful for that! Thank you very much,” he concluded.