The Pro Bono Challenge encourages every law student to volunteer a minimum of 25 hours annually (though you can certainly volunteer more!). Students who log the required hours receive a certificate of recognition at the end of their first (25 hours) and second (50 hours) years. This recognition is a valuable addition to your resume. Graduating students who log at least 75 pro bono hours (25 hours for LL.M.s) will be recognized in the commencement brochure and will receive the Dean’s Certificate of Completion. The graduate(s) who best demonstrate(s) an “extraordinary commitment to pro bono service” will be honored with the annual Pro Bono Award.
In order to log hours for the Pro Bono Challenge, the work must be:
- law-related necessitating the use of legal skills
- supervised by a licensed attorney or faculty member
- on behalf of a nonprofit organization, governmental agency, or a private law firm providing pro bono legal services
- uncompensated (financially or by academic credit)
- completed while the student is enrolled at the Law School
The Pro Bono Program qualifies the following types of work for credit toward the Pro Bono Challenge:
- client interviewing/counseling
- legislative drafting
- legal research and writing
- case investigation
- legal and/or policy advocacy
- community legal education
- oral advocacy
Non-legal public service work (e.g. home building, food drives, or tutoring) does not qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge. Such work may count as public service hours for purposes of the PILA Grant application process.
To log their hours towards the Pro Bono Challenge, student volunteers must complete the online work log at the completion of a project. Attorney supervisors will be asked to approve all hours submitted by student volunteers.
Please note that not all projects that are certified for the Pro Bono Challenge will qualify for the New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement.