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Hand of a student holding a pencil, taking a standardized exam. (Photo by smolaw11, Adobe Stock)

Pro Bono Model

AFC’s Pro Bono model is unique both in the level of training and the degree of support we provide our volunteer attorneys. Before a pro bono attorney is assigned a case, he or she is generally required to attend a two-hour Pro Bono Training to understand the relevant federal and state special education laws as well as the administrative hearing process.

After training is completed, each pro bono attorney is provided with an AFC co-counsel. Although the pro bono attorney is the primary attorney throughout the case, the AFC co-counsel is available to answer questions and guide the pro bono attorney through the process. This level of support has proven to be ideal for ensuring that our pro bono attorneys are both well-trained and well- positioned to be successful in their representation of AFC clients. Pro bono partners almost always return to take on additional cases or mentor other attorneys in their firm.

Our pro bono attorneys represent parents and young adults in administrative hearings (called “impartial hearings”) and suspension hearings. Other attorneys help AFC in corporate, tax and real estate matters. Regardless, these experiences are personally meaningful to many of our volunteers because of the impact their work has on the children and families we represent.

Additionally, our pro bono program also provides a unique opportunity to gain professional skills, including the opportunity to:

  • Practice litigation skills;
  • Research and brief legal issues;
  • Interview clients and conduct client intakes;
  • Examine and cross-examine witnesses;
  • Make opening and closing statements;
  • Review and enter documents into evidence.

Pro Bono Flagship Firm Program

AFC is proud of our Pro Bono Flagship Firm Program. The program keeps all the benefits of the co-counsel model, with an increased focus on firms most able to develop and expand their pro bono capacity. Flagship firms provide a dedicated partner and coordinator and take on additional cases. As these firms develop expertise, AFC is able to represent more families.


We are always eager to speak with attorneys, paralegals and other legal professionals whose firms are interested in participating in our pro bono program. Please contact Allison Guttu at 212-822-9541 or Please be aware there is currently a waiting list for pro bono opportunities.