The Pro Bono Program requires all students enrolled as of August 2010 to complete at least 30 hours of pro bono work in order to graduate.*
The Pro Bono Program seeks to develop students’ commitment to pro bono work and to expose students to careers through which they can serve the public. Performing pro bono work is also a means for students to gain practical legal experience and build a professional network.
*SNESL Transfer Students who voluntarily perform 20 hours of pro bono work during an academic year can receive a recognition certificate
Pro Bono Program Student Required Actions
In order for their hours to count toward satisfying the Pro Bono Program, students must do the following:
- Secure a placement that satisfies the four criteria listed below
- Obtain approval of the placement by contacting Leslie Becker Wilson
- Complete 30 hours of pro bono work between the completion of the first year curriculum and the end of the third month of the student’s last semester of law school
- Submit the signed and completed Pledge and Hour Log Form to the Career Services Office
Securing a Pro Bono Placement
Students must obtain approval of their placements from Leslie Becker Wilson, the Director of the Career Services Office, before starting to earn hours that count toward satisfying the Pro Bono Program.
A placement will satisfy the Pro Bono Program if it meets the four following criteria:
- The student will be performing legal or law-related work
- The work will be performed under the supervision of a licensed attorney
- The attorney is performing the work either as public service (government agencies or offices), public interest (legal services and other nonprofits), or pro bono (law firms handling non-fee generating matters that the firm takes on a pro bono basis not expecting to receive payment for the services it provides)
- The student will not receive payment or academic credit for the work
NOTE: Students may accrue their 30 hours over a period of months and from different organizations if they choose.
If the above criteria are met, students must submit to the Pledge and Hour Log Form to the Career Services Office. The student must sign the Pledge portion and, once the student completes at least 30 hours of pro bono work or otherwise finishes a project, the student’s supervisor must sign the completed Hour Log portion.
The Career Services Office encourages students to perform their pro bono hours at organizations that fit with their individual interests and career goals. Government agencies and offices, including legislative bodies and courts, as well as legal service providers and other nonprofits, are excellent organizations at which volunteer opportunities exist that would likely satisfy the Pro Bono requirement.
Students can find placements that satisfy the Pro Bono Program on Symplicity, the law school’s web-based online job posting system, by selecting ‘Pro Bono’ under the ‘Position Type’ field. For assistance accessing Symplicity contact Legal Placement and Recruitment Coordinator Kelley Doherty at 508.985.1165.
Traditional online job search resources geared toward public interest positions that may satisfy the Pro Bono Program, include:
Other sources include the Massachusetts Bar Association’s online Pro Bono Opportunities Guide, which allows students to search for placements by county and practice area. Similarly, students can search the Massachusetts Service Alliance’s Connect and Serve website for placements that seek volunteers with legal skills.
Additionally the Career Services Office maintains a comprehensive listing of nationwide government and public interest organizations, organized by state, at which students may find suitable placements.
Pro Bono Placement Help
Students are always welcome to visit the Career Services Office for additional guidance on securing acceptable pro bono placements.
During the school year students can learn about specific opportunities that satisfy the Pro Bono Program at the Pro Bono Program Volunteer Fair, through the On Campus Summer Interviewing Program, as well as from announcements by law school staff and faculty of special projects.
The Career Services Office recommends students attend the various Career Services Office programs offered throughout the year to network with the speakers and inquire about available placements within their organizations.