Pro Bono Program
Pro Bono Program
To promote pro bono and public service work amongst our law students and to publicly show the School of Law’s commitment to such work.
This will be a voluntary program.
Students who engage in at least 50 hours of pro bono and/or public service work prior to graduation will be recognized with a notation on their transcripts. Of these 50 hours, at least 30 must qualify as “pro bono” per the definition below. Up to 20 hours may be fulfilled by participation in other public service.
The graduating student who engages in the most qualifying pro bono work, as defined below, prior to graduation will receive an award at the graduation banquet and recognition in the graduation program.
Pro Bono Definition
Whether an activity is pro bono will be evaluated in light of ABA Model Rule 6.1 and Standard 303(b), interpretation 303-4 (see “Related ABA Standards, below”) and may include both legal representation and law-related public service work. School of Law externship or other academic-credit-bearing experiential work hours may count for up to 15 hours of pro bono work. Students who work on pro bono matters in the course of paid employment may receive payment for their services, so long as the supervising attorney certifies that the clients were charged no fee or a substantially reduced fee.
The School of Law will actively work to assist students in finding pro bono opportunities by providing lists of suggested organizations and opportunities and providing guidance to students or student organizations that would like to create their own.
The School of Law will provide students with a structured way of officially reporting and tracking their pro bono hours.
Related ABA standards
A law school shall provide substantial opportunities to students for:
(1) law clinics or field placement(s); and
(2) student participation in pro bono legal services, including law-related public service activities.
Rule 6.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct encourages lawyers to provide pro bono legal services primarily to persons of limited means or to organizations that serve such persons. In addition, 17 ABA Standards and Rules of Procedure for Approval of Law Schools 2018-2019 lawyers are encouraged to provide pro bono law-related public service. In meeting the requirement of Standard 303(b)(2), law schools are encouraged to promote opportunities for law student pro bono service that incorporate the priorities established in Model Rule 6.1. In addition, law schools are encouraged to promote opportunities for law students to provide over their law school career at least 50 hours of pro bono service that complies with Standard 303(b)(2). Pro bono and public service opportunities need not be structured to accomplish any of the outcomes required by Standard 302. Standard 303(b)(2) does not preclude the inclusion of credit-granting activities within a law school’s overall program of law-related pro bono opportunities so long as law-related non-credit bearing initiatives are also part of that program.
Law-related public service activities include (i) helping groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights; (ii) helping charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, and educational organizations not able to afford legal representation; (iii) participating in activities providing information about justice, the law or the legal system to those who might not otherwise have such information; and (iv) engaging in activities to enhance the capacity of the law and legal institutions to do justice.
ABA Model Rule 6.1
Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono publico legal services per year. In fulfilling this responsibility, the lawyer should:
(a) provide a substantial majority of the (50) hours of legal services without fee or expectation of fee to:
(1) persons of limited means or
(2) charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters which are designed primarily to address the needs of persons of limited means; and
(b) provide any additional services through:
(1) delivery of legal services at no fee or substantially reduced fee to individuals, groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and 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 or would be otherwise inappropriate;
(2) delivery of legal services at a substantially reduced fee to persons of limited means; or
(3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal
In addition, a lawyer should voluntarily contribute financial support to organizations that provide legal services to persons of limited means.
Approved by the UND School of Law Faculty on March 12, 2021
Administratively revised for public posting on June 28, 2021