USF Pro Bono Program

Pro Bono Program

At the University of San Francisco School of Law, we take seriously our responsibility to train students to become ethical lawyers who will help to make the world a better place.  We are committed to social justice and providing access to justice for those who remain marginalized in our country and around the world.'

  • What is Pro Bono?
  • Pro Bono Opportunties
  • Pro Bono Awards
  • Tracking Hours

The Student Pro Bono Coordinator Corner

What is Pro Bono?

The hours that qualify for USF’s Pro Bono Program must meet two requirements:

  1. Students must be:
    1. providing direct legal services to persons of limited means[1];
    2. helping groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights;
    3. helping charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations not able to afford legal representation;
    4. participating in activities providing information about justice, the law or the legal system to those who might not otherwise have such information; or
    5. engaging in activities to enhance the capacity of the law and legal institutions to do justice.[2]
  2. The work must be completed under the supervision of a licensed attorney or, under exceptional circumstances, a program director.

Certain activities do not qualify as Pro Bono for purposes of USF’s Pro Bono Program regardless of whether they meet the above requirements, such as work performed for academic credit, a salary, or a grant.  Additionally, work performed for law journals, writing competitions, symposia or conferences, judicial internships, fundraising, or electioneering activities do not qualify as Pro Bono.

Students who are uncertain about whether a particular activity qualifies as pro bono should inquire with the Office of Student Affairs at probono@usfca.edu before participating in the activity. 

Tracking Hours

Students should complete a separate time sheet for each organization that they are volunteering with each semester. Completed Hours Tracking 2020-2021 can be emailed to probono@usfca.edu

Tracking hours makes students eligible to apply for annual Pro Bono awards.

Pro Bono Awards

The University of San Francisco School of Law annually gives two different pro bono awards recognizing students for their exemplary service to the public interest community.  You may be eligible for two different awards, but only graduating students can receive both awards. 

Pro Bono Publico Award – For Commitment to Pro Bono During the Current Academic Year                                             

You are eligible to receive a Pro Bono Publico Award if you have completed at least 25 hours of pro bono service during the 2020-2021 academic year. There are three levels of recognition:

  • Bronze: for those who completed 25 to 49 hours of pro bono work;
  • Silver: for those who have completed 50 to 74 hours of pro bono work; or
  • Gold: for those who have completed 75 or more hours of pro bono work.

Pro Bono Excellence Award – For Sustained Commitment to Pro Bono During Your Law School Career

You are eligible to receive a Pro Bono Excellence Award if:

  • Your graduation date is December 2020 or May 2021; and
  • You received a Pro Bono Publico Award (at any level) each year you were a registered student at USF Law School and can provide proof of at least 25 hours of pro bono work from any year spent at another law school.

The hours that qualify for USF’s Pro Bono Program must meet two requirements.

Students must be:

  • providing direct legal services to persons of limited means[1];
  • helping groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights;
  • helping charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations not able to afford legal representation;
  • participating in activities providing information about justice, the law or the legal system to those who might not otherwise have such information; or
  • engaging in activities to enhance the capacity of the law and legal institutions to do justice.[2]
  • The work must be completed under the supervision of a licensed attorney or, under exceptional circumstances, a program director.

Pro bono work does not include any work in which you received academic credit, a salary, or a grant, and you may not have rendered the services as part of a full-time internship or externship. 

The deadline to apply will be in Spring 2021. Please keep checking this page for more information.