UMass Law requires all students to complete at least 30 hours of pro bono service in order to graduate. The pro bono requirement is part of the law school's integrated approach to developing practice-ready, justice-centered attorneys.
The pro bono requirement :
- seeks to develop a commitment to pro bono service
- provides exposure to legal careers in the public sector
- creates opportunities to gain practical legal experience
- offers a platform to build a professional network
To satisfy the pro bono requirement, you must:
- Secure a placement that satisfies the four criteria listed below
- Obtain approval of the placement from the Director of Career Services
- Attend a professionalism workshop presented by the Career Services Office
- Complete 30 hours of pro bono service between the completion of the first two semesters of law school and the end of the third month of your last semester of law school
- Submit a signed and completed Pro Bono Hours Log Form to the Career Services Office
A placement will satisfy the pro bono requirement if it meets these four 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 as a public service (government agencies or offices), in the public interest (legal services and other nonprofits), or as 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
Students may accumulate their 30 hours over a period of months and from different organizations if they choose.
Students are encouraged to seek out opportunities that address the unmet legal needs of the surrounding community. The Career Services Office also encourages students to perform their pro bono hours at organizations that fit with their individual interests and career goals. Students can find placements that satisfy the pro bono requirement on Symplicity by selecting "Pro Bono" under the "Position Type" field, as well as through the other resources included in the Pro Bono Program guidelines.
At Commencement, UMass Law recognizes students who perform pro bono that significantly exceeds the 30 hours required. Students who perform 100 pro bono hours receive the "Servant of Justice" award, and students who perform 200 pro bono hours receive the "Leader for Justice" award.