TRAINING Legal Training

All organizations must be able to demonstrate measurable results. A significant aspect of the Alliance Defending Freedom mission is to mobilize Christian attorneys to impact the culture by engaging the legal system. Tracking pro bono hours provides tangible evidence of the progress being made toward this goal. It also creates opportunities for Alliance Defending Freedom to inform the public about the challenges facing people of faith, and how the Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Network is responding to those challenges.

Additionally, the more pro bono hours reported, the greater the opportunity for Alliance Defending Freedom to demonstrate to our Ministry Friends a good return on the investment of their sacrificial gifts. Finally, continued reporting encourages other Allied Attorneys engaged in this ongoing cultural battle.
The goal of Alliance Defending Freedom is to create a long-term relationship with Allied Attorneys. When attending an ADF Academy, attorneys are simply asked to commit to report qualifying pro bono service. ADF Freedom suggests voluntary short-term targets for the amount of this service, depending upon the attorney’s circumstances.

The suggested target for most attorneys is 450 hours within the three years following an ADF Academy session attendance. Alliance Defending Freedom suggests a five-year target of 150 hours for attorneys who work for the government and are prohibited from representing private clients.

ADF encourages ongoing reporting of pro bono services, even if an attorney commits to a short-term target. To that end, Alliance Defending Freedom recognizes significant milestones in reported pro bono service. ADF Allied Attorneys become members of the Honor Corps upon reporting 450 hours of pro bono service. A series of Service Recognition Awards recognize members of the Honor Corps who report far more than 450 hours of service.
In addition to participating in litigation or an amicus effort on a case within the scope of the Alliance Defending Freedom mission, many other activities qualify for pro bono commitment credit, including:

(a) Performing research on specified topics;

(b) Performing specified services, such as collecting information, for one or more Alliance Defending Freedom strategic projects;

(c) Joining and being active in bar association activities that impact the mission areas of Alliance Defending Freedom;

(d) Publicly speaking about Alliance Defending Freedom or about one or more of the ministry’s mission areas;

(e) Serving on boards or otherwise being involved in organizations that are dedicated to Alliance Defending Freedom mission areas; and

(f) Writing and publishing articles related to Alliance Defending Freedom mission areas.

For additional information refer to the “Pro Bono Hours” memo or contact us at ADFAttorneyNetwork@ADFlegal.org to discuss whether an activity will count toward your pro bono service commitment.
Pro bono work need not involve litigation or even the representation of a client. It may involve legal research, educational presentations, or other types of work related to Alliance Defending Freedom mission areas.
The easiest way to report is via our secure Allied Attorney website.

The specific format of the report is not critical. It is not necessary to provide detailed billing records, but we do need general information on the type of work performed. If you are able to provide this information through your normal billing program, we will gladly accept those time records. Be assured that Alliance Defending Freedom will not reveal the details of your specific service without your permission, so client identities and attorney-client matters that we become aware of through this reporting will remain confidential.

To assist in identifying the specific information needed and to help you provide information in a simplified manner, Alliance Defending Freedom has also developed a reporting form that will be provided upon request.
No. You may find pro bono opportunities in a variety of ways. You may serve individual clients, other faith-based legal organizations, churches, etc., in areas related to the mission of Alliance Defending Freedom. See memo on qualifying pro bono hours. (Additional information is available upon request at ADFAttorneyNetwork@ADFlegal.org.)
While Alliance Defending Freedom may make occasional referrals or suggest projects in which you could be involved, the most successful allies are those who find their own creative ways to invest their legal skills in the service of others. Indeed, Alliance Defending Freedom depends upon its network of attorneys and others to bring appropriate matters to our attention.

That said, one of the primary goals of the Alliance Defending Freedom team is to help you succeed, both in finding pro bono opportunities, and also in winning your legal battles. While the team cannot promise to find cases for you, the Alliance Defending Freedom Allied Attorney Community website offers a number of interesting projects for your consideration as you look for pro bono opportunities. The Allied Attorney Community Discussion Forums are also used to locate volunteers for specific projects or cases. The Alliance Defending Freedom team is always willing to consult on potential cases in our core areas and to provide resources for litigating them.
Yes. Alliance Defending Freedom has allied with a number of attorneys contributing their services in efforts to dramatically increase Christian legal aid to the poor. However, qualifying legal aid efforts should be directed in a manner that helps advance religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. Some alternative programs established to aid the poor do not always support or promote biblical principles; legal aid to these programs may be reported for up to 50 hours of a 450-hour pro bono target.

 

Yes. Education relating to areas of the Alliance Defending Freedom mission is critical to awakening Christians to the dangers that threaten religious liberty in America and around the world. Many good opportunities for both litigious and non-litigious resolutions of religious discrimination have resulted from the alert actions of educated laypersons. Please contact us at ADFAttorneyNetwork@ADFlegal.org to find out about materials and resources we can provide to help your audience know and protect their personal rights, as well as those of their families and churches.

The program is named for Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), a contemporary of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. An English judge who went on to become the first Vinerian professor of law at Oxford University, Blackstone is best known for his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

The 
Commentaries were the original foundation for legal education in America and a work that would dominate the common law legal system for centuries. Indeed, they had a pervasive and profound impact on the United States Constitution and whose concept of absolute rights formed the basic premise of our Declaration of Independence.

In the 
Commentaries, Blackstone explained that the basis upon which English Common Law resides is a higher law, the law written by God and found in His scriptures and the created order. Blackstone says, “when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be.” Because of this, William Blackstone argues, “the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain . . . these absolute [i.e. God-given] rights of individuals.” Accordingly, man lacks authority to write a law that contradicts God’s law. Blackstone called this concept “ultra vires,” which means it is beyond the authority of man to write a law that violates God’s law. Blackstone also said that law is fixed, it is uniform, and it is universal. It does not change based on who the President is, or who holds judicial positions. It is the same law for everyone at all times and in all places.

Blackstone’s influence on American law can hardly be overstated. His writings trained nearly every American lawyer until the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, his influence and the Christian worldview have since been virtually eradicated from American law schools. For this reason, Alliance Defending Freedom named its prestigious law student program the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, representing a new generation of lawyers, men and women of Christian conviction, passion, and intelligence, being equipped to serve as leaders within the legal culture, proposed by Blackstone’s vision of the law to foster legal systems that fully protect our God-given rights.

The Blackstone Legal Fellowship seeks accomplished law students who are committed to their faith and are dedicated to impacting the law-profession culture.  To learn more and apply, visit www.BlackstoneLegalFellowship.org.

Criteria for selection include: strong academic performance; leadership skills, both exhibited and potential; maturity of faith and character; and commitment to legal and cultural engagement.

The 2017 class included 160 Interns. We anticipate the 2018 class will be a similar size. To learn more and apply, visit www.BlackstoneLegalFellowship.org.

The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a ministry of Alliance Defending Freedom.
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