Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program
PROGRAM OVERVIEW INFORMATION
Washington College of Law was founded on the principle of advancing the causes of low-income and underrepresented people. The Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program furthers this goal by recognizing the voluntary, uncompensated work on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations undertaken by WCL students while at the law school. The program is also designed to encourage students to continue carrying out pro bono service in their careers as attorneys after graduation, and is a great way to get experience in a field in which you may be interested.
Through the program, students pledge to complete a minimum of 75 hours of pro bono and community service projects at organizations working on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations. At least 50 hours of the pro bono work completed must be with an organization engaged primarily in law-related or legal work. However, students may complete up to 25 of their 75 hours in non-legal community service work. This allows first year students to participate immediately. Students who decide to pledge and participate in the program after their first year must complete all their 75 hours by doing law-related work.
Students who complete the pledge prior to the end of their final year at WCL will be listed in the honors section of the graduation bulletin. They will also receive a certificate indicating the different level of honors based on the total number of hours completed: Honors (75-125 hours), Outstanding Service Honors (125-175 hours) and Exceptional Service Honors (175+ hours). Additionally, students will be recognized at a public service awards ceremony each spring.
The Office of Public Interest maintains a listing of pro bono placements in the metro Washington, DC area (available below). Student organizations and individual students are welcome and encouraged to create their own pro bono projects. The Public Interest Coordinator is available to answer questions about the Pro Bono Honors Pledge program and to meet with students one-on-one to discuss potential pro bono placements and projects.
- Pro Bono FAQ
- Pro Bono Opportunities for WCL Students (a blog listing current pro bono opportunities)
- Public Interest Organizations in the DC Area
- Pledge Form (to sign up for the pledge)
- Time Log (Legal)
- Time Log (Community Service)
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE
Let other students know about your experience performing pro bono work by entering information into the Student Employer Evaluation Network (SEEN). Housed on CareerLink, SEEN facilitates student-to-student interactions by inviting students to share feedback and other information about their employer experiences, both prior to and during law school. To become part of the SEEN community, follow these instructions: Log on to CareerLink; go to the Profile tab and click Edit in the personal box on the left side. There should be a number of subtabs visible under Profile; click on the one labeled SEEN. Under the My Surveys subtab, click the “+ Add New” button at the bottom of the page. Details on desired input information are available on CareerLink.
If you have questions concerning SEEN, please contact the Office of Career and Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK BAR REQUIREMENT
On September 14, 2012, the New York State Court of Appeals adopted a new rule establishing a pro bono requirement that affects admission to the New York State bar. Effective January 1, 2013, all candidates who will be admitted to the NY bar after January 1, 2015, with the exception of admission on motion candidates, will need to fulfill the new pro bono requirement. Pursuant to 520.16 of the Rules of the Court of Appeals, applicants who successfully pass the NY bar examination must demonstrate that they have performed 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service prior to seeking admission to the NY bar.
To learn more about the requirement, please visit the the information page of the New York State Unified Court System.