As part of the Charleston School of Law’s mission to instill within its students a commitment to public service, the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono develops and assists in coordinating a variety of pro bono opportunities for students. These placements allow students to work with attorneys practicing in the public interest legal sector and meet or exceed the pro bono work the School of Law requires for graduation. Student matriculating on or after June 2019 must complete 50 hours or pro bono work. Students matriculating before June 2019 must complete 30 hours of pro bono work.
The Director of Public Service and Pro Bono works to provide students with the opportunity to experience meaningful pro bono service in a broad range of contexts. Students begin fulfilling their pro bono requirement after they have completed one semester of law school. During their first semester, students may earn pro bono credit for specially designated programs the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono has approved.
Each student is responsible for selecting a placement, contacting that office, arranging to do the work, completing the work, and submitting the required pro bono certification form. To qualify for credit, the work must be law-related and supervised by a licensed attorney. Clerical work is appropriate only to the extent needed to carry out the overall legal task.
Generally students will receive pro bono credit when a student works without pay or academic credit for a public interest attorney or for a private attorney when he or she has taken a case on a pro bono or appointed basis. A public interest attorney is an attorney employed by an organization that is educational, charitable, governmental or nonprofit in nature.
The Director of Public Service and Pro Bono has developed a list of approved pro bono sites. The supervising attorney at these sites has agreed to allow students to contact him or her to inquire whether the student might be able to perform pro bono work for the attorney. To receive credit for performing work at sites not on the approved pro bono site list, students must obtain approval from the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono prior to beginning any pro bono work at that site.
Public interest attorneys or private attorneys with pro bono or court appointed cases should contact the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono if they would like law student assistance.
Read more about different pro bono opportunities here.
Students also can gain practical legal experience through the Externship Program (note: you may not count Externship Hours towards your pro bono hours).
Additionally, the American Bar Association has compiled information on bar pre-admission pro bono requirements.
Pro Bono Student Resources
- Charleston County Magistrate Court Bond Hearing Project, Monday, August 26, noon – 1 p.m.
- Charleston County Probate Court Adult Guardianship Assistance and Monitoring Program, Tuesdays, August 27, September 3, September 10, noon – 1 p.m.
- Charleston County Magistrate Court Pilot Housing Court, Thursday, August 29, noon – 1 p.m.
- South Carolina Legal Services Domestic Violence and Veteran’s Clinics, Thursday, September 5, noon – 1 p.m.
- Pro Bono Orientation, Wednesday, October 30, noon – 1 p.m., rooms 332 and 333, 385 Meeting Street
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Wednesday, November 6, noon – 1 p.m., Room 224
All programs except Pro Bono Orientation are in Room 224, 385 Meeting Street. Students should sign up to attend on Symplicity by going to events and then workshops.