Students are strongly encouraged to volunteer for one or more pro bono projects. The Law School’s Pro Bono Challenge recognizes those students who complete 75 hours or more of pro bono before they graduate (25 hours for LL.M. students). Students who have logged at least 75 hours are honored at commencement and receive a Dean-signed certificate of recognition. In 2022, 99 graduates completed the Challenge (Class of 2022). In addition, the graduate who best demonstrates an “extraordinary commitment to pro bono service” is honored with the annual Pro Bono Award. 1Ls who log at least 25 hours in their first year and 2Ls who log at least 50 hours by the end of their second year are also commended for their service. (Class of 2023 - 2L Update/Class of 2024 Update)
The Pro Bono Project matches students with legal services providers, governmental agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, where they can volunteer to assist with a variety of law-related work, including, conducting intakes, drafting legal documents, preparing community education materials, or doing policy advocacy. Time commitments for pro bono projects vary from short-term opportunities of 5-15 hours to semester or year-long projects with a weekly hours requirement. Winter and spring break projects provide students the chance to take a deeper dive into pro bono service with a full-time volunteer experience over the course of one to two weeks. Pro bono projects are designed with student class schedules and other commitments in mind.
By participating in pro bono service and logging hours toward the Pro Bono Challenge, students help clients in need, gain practical legal skills and build professional networks.
To qualify for the Pro Bono Challenge, the pro bono work must be:
- supervised by a licensed attorney or law school faculty member;
- provided to a nonprofit organization (501(c)(3) or (4)), legal services organization, governmental agency, or a private law firm engaged in pro bono;
- uncompensated (financially or with academic credit);
- completed while the student is enrolled at the Law School
Hours for the Pro Bono Challenge must must be logged in GoodWorks and approved by a project supervisor.