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What attorneys or organizations may participate in the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program?

Any attorney or organization that performs legal work at a free or reduced rate may receive student assistance from the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program on a project. Whether you are a private firm, non-profit legal organization, judge, or government organization, you may participate if the work being done by the student is pro bono work.

What is pro bono work for purposes of participation?

The following criteria must be met for a student's work to qualify as pro bono for the purposes of recognition by the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program:

  1. The law student must engage in law-related activities;
  2. The law student’s work must be supervised and/or approved by an attorney where supervision and/or approval includes, at a minimum, attorney review of student work product;
    1. If a student is certified in a special area of law that allows them to perform law-related activities then they need not be supervised by an attorney as long as their activity is within the scope of their certification;
  3. Receiving, or expecting to receive, class credit for law-related activities precludes these activities from qualifying for pro bono credit. Receiving monetary compensation for law-related activities precludes these activities from qualifying as pro bono credit;
  4. The law-related services must be provided to the client for free or at a substantially reduced rate (whether reduced rate work will qualify as pro bono may depend on several factors, including the actual rate being charged the client, whether or not the attorney would bill for work performed by students, the economic factors preventing the client from obtaining full-rate services, and the population affected by the legal issues involved); AND
  5. The law related activities must be on behalf of:
    • person(s) of limited financial means; OR
    • person(s) with limited access to legal representation; OR
    • nonprofit, civic, community, religious, or governmental organizations

What does not count as pro bono work?

  1. Work done on law journals;
  2. Work resulting in submission of writing into competition or other journals;
  3. Work on law related symposiums, conferences, and panel discussions;
  4. Work performed as a result of work required for enrollment in a clinic or externship for credit,
    1. Except that a student who has successfully completed an summer externship and then elects to continue working with the externship employer may count the additional hours of work performed as pro bono credit consistent with this Article;
  5. Any and all fundraising activities; AND
  6. Electioneering work performed for a partisan organization during a political campaign where the main objective of the work is to elect a specific candidate or candidates into office.

What if my organization does not have any attorney to supervise the student’s work?

In order to participate, your organization must have an attorney to supervise the student. If you do not have a supervising attorney at your organization or elsewhere, please contact the Attorney Projects Coordinator at In certain instances, we have been able to find attorneys at the law school willing to supervise the student. There is no guarantee that this will be possible, but it should not prevent an organization that wants to participate from asking.

What resources does the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program offer?

Students are allowed to use the pro bono office to send and receive faxes, make long-distance phone calls, send mail, and use office supplies. Additionally, students are able to use their student Lexis-Nexis accounts during the school year, as well as the law school library for research. If a project requires unreasonable expenses, the Pro Bono Program reserves the right to request that the expenses be covered by the attorney's organization.

What are the qualifications of students who participate in the program?

Students who participate in the program vary in skill level and experience, but each student who works on a project will be enrolled at the University of North Carolina Law School. If you have projects that require certain skills (i.e., language, 2L or 3L only, certain classes), please indicate them on the project request form.

What does my organization gain from participating in the program?

By participating in the Pro Bono Program, you will receive student assistance in performing pro bono work. Our students can do a variety of tasks, such as research, writing, client intake, litigation preparation, investigation and community education. By performing these assignments, students allow organizations to commit more time to pro bono work in their communities and beyond. In addition, all attorneys who participate (even by simply submitting a project) will receive a thank-you letter at the end of the semester, as well as an invitation to attend our annual Pro Bono Program reception in the spring.

What if I have trouble contacting the student who is working for me?

What if I have problems with the student’s performance? If you have any concerns or questions about the project and its performance, please contact the Attorney Projects Coordinator or our advisor, Director of Pro Bono Initiatives Allison Standard.

If I submit a project, am I guaranteed to find a student to complete it?

Many attorneys and organizations submit projects to the program each year. As a result, unfortunately, not all of the projects are filled each year. The Pro Bono Program spends a lot of time advertising these projects, but cannot guarantee that your project will be filled. However, regardless of whether the project is filled, we promise to be in regular communication with you about the status of your project.

What are some types of projects that may be submitted to the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program?

Projects may range from research to writing, client intake, litigation preparation, investigation, community education and advocacy. You may be as general or as specific as you would like in your description. However, we do find that more specificity in the project proposals helps students who are looking for work in a certain area of law.

Is there an opportunity to give feedback to the student and the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program regarding the project?

The Pro Bono Program encourages open communication. If you have any questions, concerns, or complaints, please feel free to email the Attorney Projects Coordinator, the Pro Bono Board Director, or Director of Pro Bono Initiatives Allison Standard.

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