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. 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 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. In light of the roll out of the program with the entering class of 2011, students in the class of 2010 will graduate as members of the Pro Bono Society if they complete at least 30 hours of pro bono and will be recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono if they complete at least 100 hours.
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, Hastings encourages and recognizes the efforts or our students who strive to meet this need. For purposes of graduation recognition, 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. Student pro bono timesheets 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. 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 denoting membership in the Pro Bono Society. Special recognition will be given to students who have delivered 150 or more hours of pro bono services; this will be noted in the graduation program indicating Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono. Recognition and an explanatory note regarding pro bono achievement will also be included on a student’s transcript.