Lawyers Journal

Law students available to help on pro bono cases

Are you in need of law student assistance on a pro bono case?
New MBA Web page features local law schools willing to help

If you are presently working on a pro bono case and are looking for additional assistance from law students, the MBA’s Web site is hosting a new page that lists several local law schools that offer pro bono assistance to attorneys through their law students. The law schools currently participating are:

• Boston University School of Law;
• Harvard Law School;
• Northeastern University School of Law; and
• Suffolk University Law School.

Attorneys are welcome to submit a request to one or more law schools. You can access the full law school profiles by going to www.massbar.org/probonolawstudents. Or contact them directly. See the profile snapshots below for further information:

Boston College Law School
Public Interest Programs
Associate Director Freda Fishman
(617) 552-4345

As a Jesuit institution, Boston College Law School prides itself on its commitment to public service. Many BC Law students participate in pro bono work each year. They do so for leadership development, academic training, career preparation, and community service.
The optional Pro Bono Program supports pro bono activities at BC Law, encourages more students to explore pro bono opportunities, and provides much-deserved recognition for those students serving the community through pro bono work.

Boston University School of Law
Pro Bono Program
Director Jennifer Perrigo, Esq.
765 Commonwealth Ave., 13th floor
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 353-3141

Through the BU Law Pro Bono Program, law students dedicate their developing legal skills to unmet legal needs in the Boston area, throughout the United States and around the world.
The program is voluntary. Students must pledge to perform a minimum of 35 hours during their three years in law school.

Pro bono work, for the purposes of the BU Law Program, must be unpaid and not for academic credit. To meet the goals of the program, student pro bono work should involve the rendering of meaningful law-related service to persons of limited means or to organizations that serve such persons, or to other organizations dedicated to underrepresented groups and/or social issues.
The program partners with a number of organizations and law firms through which students may find individual or group pro bono projects. Students are available to complete short-term or long-term projects.

Harvard Law School
Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs
Assistant Director Lee Branson
Austin Hall, Room 102
1515 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: (617) 495-5202
Fax: (617) 496-2636

Harvard Law School students must complete a total of at least 40 hours of law-related public service pro bono work as a condition for graduation. The hope is that by giving back to the community, Harvard Law School graduates will develop a lifelong professional vision of how they can contribute to the public good.

Students may work in programs that offer legal services to persons who cannot afford, in whole or in part, to pay for services, including nonprofit organi-zations, government agencies and law firms doing pro bono work. Summer public interest work funded through the summer funding program can also count towards the requirement.

Work at a law firm qualifies as long as all hours are on a pro bono case and is uncompensated. Since this pro bono requirement is intended to teach law by experience, the student’s work should involve the application or interpretation of law, the formulation of legal policy or the drafting of legislation or regulations. Work should have an advocacy or representational component. It should not be primarily clerical in nature.

Eligible tasks include: assisting an attorney at trial, client and witness interviewing and investigation, drafting documents, preparing a case for trial, assisting pro se litigants in court, community legal education and research and writing. All work must be supervised by a licensed attorney or a law professor. Supervision can be by a lawyer in the organization or by a faculty member at the law school with an on-site supervisor.

For more information about the program, go to:
www.law.harvard.edu/academics/clinical/.

Northeastern University School of Law
Cooperative Legal Education Director of External Relations Jeff Smith
Phone: (617) 373-4942

All students at Northeastern University School of Law must successfully complete four full-time legal intern-ships of at least 35 hours a week for at least 11 weeks each. These internships can meet the law school’s public interest requirement if the student is engaged in employment/service with a government agency, legal aid, legal services, public defender, victim advocate or similar agency; an organization or attorney advocating law reform or performing pro bono legal representation; or any placement the dominant characteristic of which is service to underrepresented groups.

Northeastern also offers a unique yearlong course which introduces first-year students to some of the central skills of effective lawyering. The course, Legal Skills in a Social Context, involves a variety of instruction, including a group project under the supervision of upper-level teaching fellows and supported by faculty and other experts. Student groups plan and execute a social justice project — an extensive real-world legal research project on behalf of a community-based or public-service organization client.

Each group participates in a closely supervised clinical experience, representing and assisting a nonprofit community-based or advocacy organization in solving a societal problem involving issues of diversity, the law and social justice. Northeastern encourages all nonprofit community-based or advocacy organizations to apply to work on a social justice project. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis beginning March 1 each year.

Suffolk University Law School
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs Director Michelle Harper, Esq.
120 Tremont St., Suite 110
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 573-8644
Fax: (617) 305-1681

Suffolk University Law School is committed to the principle that members of the legal community and those aspiring to enter the legal profession have an obligation to assist in providing legal services to persons of limited means and to individuals, groups or causes that are under-represented in the legal system.

Through our voluntary Pro Bono Program, Suffolk Law School seeks to foster in every member of the law school community a moral and professional obligation to ensure access to justice for all citizens. In furtherance of this principle, Suffolk Law School encourages all law students to participate in law-related volunteer work during their academic enrollment.

To count as pro bono, students may not receive pay or credit for their work. In addition, students must be supervised by an attorney and Suffolk Law students may not use 3:03 certification to perform pro bono work.

©2014 Massachusetts Bar Association