The preparation of lawyers who recognize the significance of their public service obligations is an important objective of the William S. Richardson School of Law. In 1992, the William S. Richardson School of Law adopted a Law Student Public Service graduation requirement. The class of 1995 was the first graduating class obliged to fulfill the requirement. The Law Student Public Service (better known as "Pro Bono") Program introduces the concept of pro bono service to law students and is an integral part of the academic program at the law school. It provides law students the opportunity to address unmet legal needs in the community while enriching their legal education.
The Pro Bono Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law was one of the first law school pro bono programs in the nation and is believed to be the first student-initiated mandatory program in the nation. In April 1991, a student organization, Advocates for Public Interest Law, presented a formal proposal to the faculty. Recognizing both the long tradition in the legal profession to serve the under-privileged and to ensure legal access for all as well as a national movement in its infancy toward mandatory pro bono service in the legal profession, the student leaders wanted the law school to foster in all law students a life-time professional commitment to public legal service by creating a pro bono graduation requirement.
Students are required to locate and to provide law-related pro bono work under the supervision of an attorney, law school faculty or dean, or other supervisor, as approved by the Pro Bono Program Administrator. The definition of law-related pro bono work is construed liberally and includes law related work with any federal, state, or local government agency, court or legislature. Law students are encouraged to provide a portion of their pro bono service for indigent clients. The pro bono work is meant to be law-related in nature, not clerical or administrative. Additionally, an evaluation component that encourages the student to discuss and evaluate his or her experience with the Pro Bono Program Administrator is built into the program. Students are required to maintain their own copies of all paperwork submitted. All required forms can be found on this website.