Pro Bono Program Overview
The provision of pro bono legal services is an integral component of a legal education and to the practice of law. UC Hastings encourages and fosters pro bono participation by all members of our community in an effort to improve access to justice for all.
The Pro Bono Pledge
Students are asked to commit to deliver 45 hours of pro bono services over the course of their three years at UC Hastings by signing the Pro Bono Pledge. The hours may be satisfied in a gradually increasing manner (10 hours in first year, 15 in 2nd and 20 in 3rd) or may be satisfied in a single year. Those students meeting the 45 hour goal prior to graduation will be inducted into the Pro Bono Society and recognized in the graduation program. This achievement will also be noted on the student's transcript.
Definition of Pro Bono
The legal needs of low-income Californians have increased in complexity as well as scope; the recent economic downturn has only served to magnify the impact of these unmet needs. Legal services organizations, already unable to meet the demand for services, are more challenged than ever to protect the legal rights of the clients they serve.
In recognition of the overwhelming need for civil legal assistance in California, UC Hastings encourages and recognizes the efforts or our students who strive to meet this need. For purposes of graduation recognition, UC Hastings defines pro bono as volunteer work in law-related services provided directly to or on behalf of under-represented individuals or communities.
Examples of what counts as Pro Bono
Students providing pro bono legal services in a wide-variety of settings and contexts will be recognized for their efforts:
Exceptions to what counts
External verification of the pro bono work performed is required. UC Hastings is converting to an online system for tracking pro bono hours, beginning with the class of 2018. These students may enter their hours on Kscope which sends an email to the supervisor of the pro bono placement. The supervisor verifies the hours and the student's pro bono record is updated. Upper class students will continue with the paper pro bono timesheets, which must be signed by a supervising attorney or student coordinator of the organization or group with whom the services were performed. Timesheets may be submitted to the Externships and Pro Bono Programs office, 100 McAllister St., Rm 350 or submitted electronically to Jayme Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who have signed the Pro Bono Pledge will receive periodic email reminders regarding their status toward completion of their pledged hours.
Pro Bono Recognition
Students who have delivered 45 hours or more of pro bono services prior to graduation will be recognized in the graduation program and on their transcripts as members of the Pro Bono Society. Students who have delivered 150 or more hours of pro bono services will be recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono; this will be noted in the graduation program and on the students’ transcripts.