Pro Bono Requirement
Western New England University School of Law has long been committed to principles of public service and professional education in preparation for the practice of law. The School of Law seeks to train students to enter into a profession in which pro bono service is highly valued, instilling the principle that members of the legal community and those aspiring to enter the legal profession have an obligation to assist in providing legal services to persons of limited means. In the spring of 2011, the faculty of WNE Law acknowledged the importance of this service by adopting a pro bono graduation requirement. In order to graduate, students must complete 20 hours of pro bono service.
What is pro bono service?
Pro bono service is uncompensated. Pro bono service is defined as the provision of law-related services to:
(1) persons of limited means.
(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means.
(3) individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights.
(4) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes, where the payment of standard legal fees would significantly deplete the organization's economic resources.
Pro bono service also includes:
(5) activities for improving access to the law, improving the legal system or improving the legal profession.
(6) educational activities for improving the public's understanding of the law, the legal system, or the legal profession."
Pro Bono Information for Students
PRO BONO REGISTRATION
Pro Bono registration is done through Symplicity. Once you log into the program, please register by clicking “Pro Bono Registration,” on the lower right hand side of the front page. You must agree to the Pro Bono Pledge. Check the "I agree" box and then click "Save Changes."
Types of Pro Bono Opportunities
You may apply to participate in a number of pre-approved pro bono opportunities on Symplicity. To find these opportunities, click the “Find Pro Bono Opportunities” link on the Symplicity home page. Click on a pro bono experience that appeals to you and apply as instructed.
STUDENT SECURED PRO BONO OPPORTNITIES
Students may secure their own pro bono project or placement. However, all student secured projects and placements must receive prior approval. An important question to be considered in the approval process will be whether you are appropriately supervised. Rules of professional responsibility prohibit practicing law without a license. All students engaged in legal work must be supervised by a licensed attorney. In order to receive pre-approval, please complete and submit an Application for Pre-Approval to Sam Charron.
Pro Bono hours are logged in Symplicity. To enter pro bono experience hours, click on the “Pro Bono Tab” and then click "Add New." Type in the name in the "organization" field. If the organization is not in the system, please enter it in the "New Organization" field. To enter hours, click "Add Hours." You will need to click “Add Hours” each date that you worked. Continue filling in the requested information.
Pro Bono Information for Employers
Pro Bono Definition
The definition of law-related pro bono work includes legal services provided by non-profit or public interest organizations and by private practice attorneys performing pro bono work as well individuals, groups, or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights. This list, however, is not exhaustive, and students are encouraged to seek placements addressing the needs of the community.
Students must be supervised directly by a licensed attorney. Work assigned to the students under this program should be law-related and not simply clerical or administrative. Students may not be compensated nor receive any other academic credit for pro bono work done under this program. Each student will be required to log hours completed, and upon completion of a placement, he or she will be required to prepare a written evaluation of the placement and submit it to the pro bono program administrator located within the School of Law’s Office of Career Services. Supervisors may be asked to confirm students’ completion of hours.
Requesting Student Volunteers
Nonprofit legal service providers, community organizations or private attorneys engaged in pro bono service may request student volunteers to provide law-related service. While we cannot guarantee the availability of volunteers, the Pro Bono Program will publicize all appropriate opportunities to the WNE Law community and will assist interested students in contacting placements. To request student volunteers, please complete the Volunteer Students Request Form and return it to Sam Charron.