How Virtual Reality is Helping Conquer Fears of Working Pro Bono

Fresh out of college you find yourself being stared down by an entire courtroom. Before you are the judges, whose blank expressions and narrowed eyes make the picturesque poker face. You wish you were playing poker right now too, don’t you? On the right is the jury, who seem to fade in and out of existence between your anxious glances. Behind you is a full-house of attendees, excited to hear the case briefing. Your client comes beside you, sliding over a manila envelope with your case notes. You reach over to grab it, but extend your arm too far, sending it straight through the desk. Good thing the desk doesn’t actually break, this is virtual reality after all.

Through the San Francisco Bar Association, volunteers can access virtual reality based court simulations. This technology is extremely revolutionary in the field of law as many lawyers who’ve recently passed the BAR still do not have actual courtroom experience. Consequently, they are anxious when they represent their first client. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who today is a Supreme Court Justice, reported that being “nervous was an understatement” in regards to her first courtroom experience.

It may seem surprising, but lawyers worry about the smallest details when it comes to being in a courtroom. For instance, even a detail as insignificant as where do I stand in the courtroom can strike anxiety in the heart of a young lawyer. But, with the power of simulated courtroom experiences, those small frets are resolved. This not only relaxes the lawyer, but opens up a door of possibility of pro bono work. Many amateur lawyers reject pro bono cases because they already possess a fear of the courtroom that stems from a lack of experience. Once you pair that with a lack of financial motivation, lawyers outright reject the ability to give back. But thanks to VR this fear is removed from the equation. As they say, practice makes perfect, and VR provides an incredible platform to practice without the real-world consequences of failure.

The opportunities for VR training programs do not just stop at legal aid, though. Imagine a world where a chef can practice on simulated cuisines, a surgeon on virtual bodies, policemen on mock crime scenes, and more. We can both explore new applications of VR, as well as enhance VR fields with the latest technology, making it more realistic and thus impactful.

Evidently, the world of pro bono work is growing. You can grow with it too by heading over to , where we pair you with a client in need of a pro bono work or a professional willing to offer it. While virtual experiences are cool, let us make your pro bono work a reality with Joe ProBono!

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