Pro Bono Service Recognition—Policy and Process

Purpose

To encourage participation in and commitment to an attorney’s professional responsibility for pro bono legal service from the beginning of each law student’s career.

Practice

To recognize those University of San Diego School of Law students who complete a minimum of 100 hours of pro bono legal service during their law school career.

These students receive our gratitude and thanks for their service to the community, a listing in the annual honors brochure, a certificate denoting their achievement, and the right to wear a white cord signifying this accomplishment at commencement.

Parameters

To qualify as pro bono service, a student must do one or more of the following:

  1. Work in a legal position providing legal services to those unable to pay for them. To qualify under this section, the student must work:
    • In a legal position (as a legal intern, clerk, or legal clinic personnel) under the supervision of a practicing attorney;
    • Without receiving any kind of compensation (including a community service grant) or academic credit for the work. If receiving academic credit, hours in excess of those required to receive academic credit may be counted as pro bono service. For example, extra hours worked in the USD Legal Clinics above those necessary for academic credit can count as pro bono service. No paid positions will be considered pro bono service.
  2. Work in a legal position seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or for a charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organization on matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes. To qualify under this section, the student must work:
    • In a legal position (as a legal intern, clerk, or legal clinic personnel) under the supervision of a practicing attorney;
    • Without receiving compensation (including a community service grant) or academic credit for the work. If receiving academic credit, hours in excess of those required to receive academic credit may be counted as pro bono service. For example, extra hours worked in an Agency Externship above those necessary for academic credit can count as pro bono service. No paid positions will be considered pro bono service.
  3. Work in one of the legal clinics organized and administered by the student organization Pro Bono Legal Advocates (PBLA). To qualify under this section, the student must:
    • Make at least a semester long commitment to the clinic; and
    • Fulfill his or her obligation by working the hours/schedule committed to, unless a change to the schedule is requested and approved by the clinic chair due to unforeseen circumstance, such as illness or family emergency. Note: A high volume of homework does not qualify as an unforeseen circumstance; or
    • Work as a PBLA clinic chair coordinating and supporting a PBLA clinic.

Procedure

To get recognition for pro bono service, students must:

Find a project or opportunity that meets the requirements of sections A-C above.

If your pro bono service does not fall under Section A, B, or C, and you would like to know if your hours can be applied toward your pro bono recognition, please contact the Office for Law Student Affairs at lawstudentaffairs@sandiego.edu.

Hours Documentation Process for Sections A and B

  1. Fill out the Supervising Attorney Verification Form and obtain your supervising attorney's approval and signature; and
  2. Fill out and submit the Pro Bono Service Hours Documentation Form. Please note, you will be prompted to attach a JPEG or PDF version of the completed Supervising Attorney Verification Form.

Hours Documentation Process for Section C
If the work falls under Section C above, the PBLA clinic chair will record each student's volunteer hours during the semester. The total hours will be made available to volunteers at the end of the semester for students to confirm that the figures are correct. Clinic chairs will be responsible for submitting these hours to the Office for Law Student Affairs at the end of each semester. Please contact chair.pbla@gmail.com with any questions regarding your clinic hours.

Contact:

Law Student Affairs
Warren Hall, Room 218
Phone: (619) 260-4651
Fax: (619) 260-7715

Hours

M-F: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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