The Law School encourages all of its students to engage in law-related volunteer service. The Pro Bono Challenge recognizes those students who complete 75 hours or more of pro bono during their three years at the law school (25 hours for LL.M. students). Students who volunteer at least 75 hours will be honored at commencement and will receive a Dean-signed certificate of recognition. This past year, 91 graduates completed the Challenge (Class of 2020). 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 will also be commended for their service.
The Pro Bono Project matches students with legal services providers, government agencies and other nonprofit organizations where volunteers can 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 break and spring break projects provide the chance to take a deeper dive with a full-time 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 the pro bono service and logging hours toward the Pro Bono Challenge, students can help a client 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 faculty member;
- provided to a nonprofit organization (501(c)(3) or (4)), legal services, 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
Student volunteers need to log their hours in GoodWorks and have them approved by the project supervisor before they can be counted towards 75-hour Challenge.