In the Fall of 1987, Tulane initiated the nation’s first mandatory pro bono program for the benefit of those members of our community who might not otherwise have access to justice–the underprivileged and the underrepresented. Currently, students are required to complete 50 hours of pro bono service for graduation. Of course, students are welcome to go beyond the minimum requirement! Since 1987, students have donated more than 600,000 hours of legal assistance to the local community and around the globe.
Goals of Pro Bono Service
The pro bono culture that Tulane Law fosters is one that fuses students’ talents and interests with compatible pro bono opportunities, engaging students in meaningful services benefiting those who are often the most at-risk in our society. In the process, students practice invaluable lawyering skills such as interviewing, counseling, and advocacy while learning about the needs and activities of non-profit organizations, local, state or federal government entities and pro bono practitioners. The pro bono requirement is designed to instill in each student a desire to volunteer and improve access to justice to the underserved members of the communities in which they will serve as members of the bar.
When Can Students Begin Pro Bono Service?
Students may begin earning pro bono hours during the second semester of the first year. Students volunteer for pro bono work during the fall, spring, and summer terms. The Office of Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs hosts the Annual Pro Bono Fair every September to assist in the placement of our students with the public sector and local Public Interest Partners. Stop by Suite 216 to learn more about the variety of pro bono opportunities available locally and around the globe. Visit this link for general info and prerequisites for volunteering at metro area placements. Or visit our office to discuss your options.
Types of Pro Bono Placements
Students may complete pro bono hours with public interest organizations, local, state or federal government entities and pro bono practitioners. Our office has a list of past and pre-approved pro bono placements on our Intranet page. You can also submit an “Independent Placement Request” through the intranet by providing some basic information about the proposed organization. Similarly, organizations and attorneys interested in having their pro bono work approved for inclusion in the Tulane Pro Bono Program should submit the Pro Bono Provider Application. Qualifying pro bono service must be law-related public interest service under the supervision of an attorney or faculty member. The work cannot be done for pay or academic credit.
Recording Pro Bono Hours
Our office has gone digital! Therefore, timekeeping and, as mentioned, independent placement requests, are made online via the Intranet. After placement approval, students may begin recording their time.
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF SUMMER PRO BONO HOURS IS AUGUST 30th. Failure to submit summer pro bono hours by the August 30th deadline will result in forfeiture of same, i.e., you will not be permitted to count these hours towards the pro bono graduation requirement.
Professor Tonya Jupiter
Associate Dean of Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs
Professor Saia Smith
Associate Director of Experiential Learning and Public Interest Programs
Senior Administrative Program Coordinator
Pro Bono Documents