Student Pro Bono Hours

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Students on Pro Bono Trip 2008, New Orleans

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 employer.

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 classes.

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:

  1. You must engage in law-related activities.
  2. Your work must be supervised or approved by a lawyer. This requirement includes, at a minimum, a lawyer's review of your work product.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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