What Counts for Pro Bono Hours

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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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