National Pro Bono Celebration Interview; Prof. Edna Udobong shares her efforts in Pro Bono workOctober 26, 2010
Upon graduation from the Nigerian Law School, and call to the Bar, I first registered for a job with the Nigerian Legal Aid Services where I represented clients in criminal cases. It was my first taste of pro bono legal work that revealed to me how much of an impact I could have on the lives of people who cannot afford to defend themselves. Since then, I have made pro bono legal work part of my legal career.
During my post graduate studies at Harvard Law School, I volunteered over 50 hours to the Cambridge Immigration Legal Services to process court papers for immigrant families. As a Professor at John Marshall Law School, I volunteered more than 200 hours at the Catholic Social Services in Atlanta, Georgia counseling and representing less privileged clients on asylum, immigration, and adoption cases.
While in Georgia, I visited New Life Pentecostal Church in Newnan City on the invitation of the Senior Pastor, to counsel the Spanish community and members of the church about their legal needs. It was a program targeted by the church to serve the immigrant community and to minister to those that have not known and accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, while meeting their legal needs.
It was a privilege for me to lead the program that brought great increase to the church as people from different backgrounds heard about what the church was doing. I have, through my pro bono legal work, introduced families to the community of Christ. My pro bono legal services have enabled me to also learn about the area of immigration practice as well as teaching a class on the subject.
From 2008-2009, during my Fulbright Award in Nigeria, I worked with senior counselors at the U.S. Consulate providing pro bono legal services to exchange scholars and ministers of God who desired to carry out missions in the United States.
The story of the great Apostle Paul tells us that though he was a lawyer, he used his craft-making skills to reach out to Jews and Greeks at the local Synagogue every Sabbath.
“And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.” Acts 18:3-4
Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 16:15: “And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”.
I believe that the best way to win souls and to fulfill the one great commission is to use the best gift that God has given to you. I am always happy when I serve humanity with the gift of God, as I believe that God multiplies those who give as well as those who receive.