The Pro Bono Program requires all students enrolled 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 expose them to careers through which they can serve the public. Pro bono work is also a means for students to gain practical legal experience and build a professional network.
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 from Leslie Becker Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Attend a professionalism workshop presented by the Career Services Office
- Complete 30 hours of pro bono work between the completion of the first two semesters of law school and the end of the third month of the student’s last semester of law school
- Submit a signed and completed Pro Bono Program Hour Log Form (PDF) to the Career Services Office
Securing a Pro Bono Placement
Students must obtain approval of their placements from Leslie Becker Wilson (email@example.com), the Director of the Career Services Office, and attend a professionalism workshop presented by 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 accumulate 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 Pro Bono Program Hour Log Form (PDF) to the Career Services Office. The student must sign the Pledge portion and, when the student has completed at least 30 hours of pro bono work or otherwise finished a project, the student’s supervisor must sign the completed Hour Log portion. Once the Career Services Office receives a completed Hour Log, it will contact the supervisor to verify the hours. When the hours are verified, the Law Enrollment Center will be notified that the student has satisfied the pro bono requirement.
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, 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 by selecting ‘Pro Bono’ under the ‘Position Type’ field. For assistance accessing Symplicity, contact Natasha Ostrowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
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 that 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.
Pro Bono Program Graduation Awards
At graduation, the law school will recognize students who perform pro bono service that significantly exceeds the 30 hours required. Students who perform 100 pro bono hours will receive the "Servant of Justice" award, and students who perform 200 pro bono hours will receive the "Leader for Justice" award.