Pro Bono Graduation Requirement
Loyola Law School has a strong tradition of supporting student interest in exploring career opportunities in public interest law. In October 1992, the law school faculty instituted a pro bono graduation requirement with the purpose of exposing students to their professional and ethical obligation to perform public service work. The pro bono graduation requirement reflects the commitment of Loyola's faculty and student body to providing legal services to those in need while adhering to the highest standards of the legal profession. Pro bono work is legal work provided without compensation as part of a lawyer's professional responsibility.
Before graduation, each student must perform 40 hours of uncompensated, legally related public service work under the supervision of an attorney in order to fulfill the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement.
All students must, without exception, complete the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement prior to the beginning of their last semester of law school before graduation.
Beginning Fall 2018, students may not commence satisfying the pro bono requirement until the first semester of studies is completed, after the last day of the fall final exam period. Upon completion of the first semester, students are eligible to earn up to ten (10) hours of pro bono credit during the time remaining in their first year. (Students cannot receive any credit for pro bono work performed before the end of the fall semester of the first year, and students cannot receive 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. All upper division students must complete the forty-hour pro bono requirement prior to the first day of classes of the last semester before graduation.
Legal services performed to complete the requirement cannot be work for which a student receives compensation. The pro bono requirement may be fulfilled by working with more than one approved qualified placement and may be completed in one semester or over the span of two consecutive semesters.
Unpaid work with government, judicial chambers, private placements, or entertainment agencies cannot be used and DO NOT QUALIFY for fulfillment of the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement.
What Satisfies the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement?
Students may elect to fulfill the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement in one of the following ways:
Provide 40 unpaid hours of legal services in an approved public interest agency from the Approved Pro Bono Organizations List or the Approved Out of Area Organization List.
Provide 40 unpaid hours of legal services at a qualified placement that is not currently on the Approved Pro Bono Organizations List only after receiving advanced approval from the Public Interest Law Department Director. In these instances, students must demonstrate that the proposed placement is a 501(c)(3) organization, that the work is legal in nature and will be performed under the supervision of an attorney.
Provide 40 unpaid hours of legal services through a "special placement" with a private attorney working on pro bono cases. Students must receive advanced approval from the Public Interest Law Department Director.
**Enroll and receive a passing grade in an approved public interest field placement of two units or greater (no government, judicial chambers, private law firm field placement or entertainment field placement may be used to fulfill the requirement).
Enroll and receive a passing grade in a clinical course or practicum that satisfies the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement.
Procedures for Fulfilling the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement
- Secure a position with a nonprofit agency using the Approved Pro Bono Organizations List or the Approved Out of Area Pro Bono Organizations List.
- *Complete and submit a Statement of Intent Form to the Public Interest Law Department once a position is secured.
- *Upon completion of 40 pro bono hours of work, complete and submit the Student Log/Supervisory Report, which must be signed by the supervising attorney confirming the number of hours worked, to the Public Interest Law Department.
*Students electing to fulfill the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement through a two-unit or greater public interest field placement or a clinical course or practicum DO NOT NEED to submit any forms to the Public Interest Law Department. In these instances, students will automatically receive credit for satisfying the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement upon successful completion and passing of the course or practicum.
**The Pro Bono Graduation Requirement cannot be satisfied by a judicial field placement, a field placement in a governmental office such as the district attorney or public defender, or an entertainment field placement. However, completing a 2-unit or greater field placement in a qualified public interest agency will gain students both academic credit and fulfillment of the Pro Bono Graduation Requirement once a passing grade is received.
For further information regarding externships, please go to the Field Placements Department website.
- Pro Bono Forms
- Approved Pro Bono Lists
- Pro Bono Program Handbook