During winter and spring break, UNC Law students go on trips outside the Triangle to offer pro bono services across North Carolina.
Why Log Your Pro Bono Hours?
It Helps You
ABA Model Rule 6.1 encourages all lawyers to commit at
least 50 hours per year to Pro Bono work. When you do Pro Bono work as a
lawyer, you will have to keep track of those hours – start practicing now
while you are a student! This practice will mean that upon graduation, you
will have a written record to point to if needed by your future state bar or
Furthermore, students who log more than 50 hours of Pro Bono
work will receive a notation on their transcript. Students who perform
more than 75 hours by the end of the third year receive an award during the
Pro Bono Publico Awards and students who perform more than 100 hours
by the end of their third year are recognized at graduation. Finally, Pro
Bono work gives students practical experience often not found in doctrinal
It Helps the Community
There is a great need for free legal
services in the North Carolina community and beyond. Knowing how
students are consistently participating in Pro Bono work allows area
attorneys to confidently offer more Pro Bono projects, projects that reach
unmet legal needs in our own backyard.
It Helps the Pro Bono Program
Having an accurate record of
student involvement lets the UNC Pro Bono Program better evaluate
student opportunities for involvement, enabling us to provide even more
meaningful student Pro Bono experiences in the future.
It Helps UNC Law
Being able to point to an accurate record of
student participation lets UNC Law better communicate with attorneys and
alumni, which in turn provides more opportunities for student networking
and professional development. Additionally, a strong showing of Pro Bono
hours helps the school continue to encourage qualified, compassionate
students to apply.
What Counts for Pro Bono Hours?
There are four requirements for your project to qualify as Pro Bono:
You must engage in law-related activities.
Your work must be supervised or approved by a lawyer. This requirement
includes, at a minimum, a lawyer's review of your work product.
The services must be provided to the client for free or at a substantially reduced
rate (whether reduced rate work will qualify as Pro Bono depends on several
factors, including the actual rate being charged the client, whether the attorney
would bill for work performed by law students, the economic factors preventing
the client from obtaining full-rate service, and the population affected by the
legal issues involved).
The activities must be on behalf of person(s) of limited financial means,
person(s) with limited access to legal representation, or a nonprofit, civic,
community, religious, governmental or community organization.
You may log hours for trainings, but only after work for a client or the organization
has begun. Furthermore, travel time to and from a Pro Bono site and time spent
doing research for a project may also be counted.
In addition, there are certain activities that do not qualify as Pro Bono regardless of
whether they meet the above requirements. Work done for law journals, work
resulting in submission of writing into a competition or a journal, work relating to
symposiums, conferences and panel discussions, any activities pertaining to fundraising,
work required for enrollment in a clinic or externship, and any
electioneering activities done for a partisan organization where the main objective
is to elect a specific candidate, do not qualify as Pro Bono.
Finally, during the summer, you may receive up to 25 hours of Pro Bono credit for
law-related activities provided for free or at a substantially reduced rate to clients
of limited financial means, limited access to legal representation, or non-profit,
civic, community or governmental organizations. You must earn less than one and
a half times the minimum wage of the jurisdiction where the work is being done for
the time in which you are providing Pro Bono services.