Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Frequently Asked Questions

  • Students may not commence satisfying the forty-hour (40) pro bono requirement until the first semester of studies is completed.  Upon completion of the first semester, students are eligible to get up to ten (10) hours of pro bono credit during the time remaining in their first year.  (Students cannot get any credit for pro bono work performed before the end of the fall semester of the first year, and students cannot get credit for more than 10 hours of pro bono work performed prior to the end of the spring semester.)  Any remaining hours of pro bono work must be completed in subsequent semesters.  Legal services performed to complete the requirement cannot be work for which a student receives compensation.  Upon securing an approved public interest position, students should file a Statement of Intent.

  • Yes. You must have the placement approved as a Special Placement by the Public Interest Law Department Director.

  • Yes. Private attorney placements may be available as Special Placements, so long as students work on pro bono cases under the supervision of an attorney, do not receive pay for the work performed and receive approval from the Public Interest Law Department Director before the work begins. 

  • Yes. As long as the placement meets the criteria to be a "QPIO," and is approved by the Public Interest Law Department Director in advance.

  • No.  Government agencies do not qualify as "QPIO's,” nor do Judge's chambers.

  • No.  Day students may complete the requirement during two consecutive semesters.  Evening students may take longer, as long as the requirement is completed prior to the last semester. 

  • Yes, in some circumstances.  You will not satisfy the pro bono requirement if you do a judicial field placement or if you do a field placement with a governmental agency such as the office of the district attorney or public defender.  However, if you complete two units in a qualified public interest agency, you not only get academic credit for the field placement, but you automatically complete the pro bono requirement. For further information, please go to the Field Placement Department website or contact the Field Placement Department at 213.736.1103.

  • Yes.  A field placement at a Qualified Public Interest Organization automatically fulfills the pro bono requirement provided you enroll in at least a minimum of two-unit or greater and receive a passing grade is received.

  • Yes.  Students may complete their pro bono hours at more than one agency.  Students must submit a Statement of Intent and a Student Log/Supervisory Report form for each agency with whom they work.

  • Yes.  All clinical courses that satisfy the pro bono graduation requirement will be coded with a "P" on the course offering list on the Office of the Registrar webpage of any given semester.  Students must be enrolled in a 2-unit or greater clinical course and receive a "pass" grade in the course in order to satisfy the requirement.  Once a student receives a "pass" grade in the course, they will automatically be cleared for fulfilling the requirement.

  • That information will be maintained on your official law school transcript.  You must file a Statement of Intent form with the Public Interest Law Department before you begin the requirement.  When you have completed the requirement, a Student Log/Supervisory Report must be submitted to the Public Interest Law Department, FH227.

  • Drop by the Public Interest Law Department and speak to Professor Sande Buhai, the Public Interest Law Department Director, or call her at 213.736.1156. You'll be amazed at the range of opportunities.

  • No. The Pro Bono Graduation Requirement must be completed before you start your last semester of law school.

  • You will not graduate. There are no exceptions or waivers.

Note: The answers to these and other questions are in the Pro Bono Program Handbook.  Students must read the handbook in its entirety.