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UHLC PRO BONO CORNER

“Equal justice under the law . . . it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists . . . it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.”

-U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, Jr.

What is pro bono?

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The State Bar of Texas asks that each Texas attorney aspire to give at least 50 hours of legal services to the poor each year. “Legal services to the poor” means doing law-related work (civil or criminal) without ever expecting to be paid. This can mean directly representing someone who is poor, working to make the legal process simpler for the poor, or helping a public interest organization with a project designed predominantly to address the needs of poor persons. You can read the entire State Bar of Texas Resolution on legal services to the poor here.

Can law students do pro bono work?

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Absolutely! Although you cannot practice law (including giving legal advice) without a license, law students can do pro bono work while supervised by a licensed attorney or by volunteering with a public interest legal services organization. In fact, the State Bar of Texas created the Law Student Pro Bono College to recognize students who give 50 hours of pro bono work during an academic year. (Click here for FAQ about what counts towards the Law Student Pro Bono College hours requirement.)

Pro bono work can help you develop important practice skills, build your resume, and network with the legal community. And above all else, it helps our community and our system of justice.

Where can I find current pro bono opportunities?

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If you are a current UHLC law student, click here to see learn about available pro bono opportunities. (Cougarnet Login Required)

What about law school clinics?

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Clinical courses during law school are a great way to provide legal services to persons in need and to learn many important skills for practicing law. If you earn academic credit for work done as part of a law school clinic, however, it does not count as pro bono. (If you continue helping on a case after the clinic semester is done, that additional, uncompensated work does count.)

 
 

For questions about pro bono at UHLC, contact Professor Alissa Rubin Gomez, argomez3@central.uh.edu.