Pro bono service is the responsibility of all members of the legal profession. Suffolk University Law School’s Pro Bono Program allows law students to begin that service now and encourages students to develop a lifelong commitment to pro bono work. By participating in the Pro Bono Program, students have the opportunity to give back to the community by helping underserved clients or groups and participating in work to improve the law, while also gaining practical experience and building a network of professional contacts.
Although law students are not yet members of the legal profession, we believe that the commitment to serve others should start at Suffolk Law. In furtherance of this principle, the Pro Bono Program challenges all incoming law students to complete at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before they graduate.
What Students Are Saying About Pro Bono at Suffolk Law
- "I met a lot of great people. It was helpful to see the abstract principles I learned in school applied to the real world."
- "When I applied to law school I knew that I wanted to help those who could not help themselves. Yet over the course of the first year, all one hears about is working for large companies and making a lot of money and applying to on campus interviews. I began to question my direction. My pro bono placement helped me regain the trust that I have in myself and my own personal desires in life. It really put into perspective the diverse needs for legal assistance and the opportunities outside of the corporate office."
- "Real work, continuous work, great supervision, great atmosphere."
- "Meaningful work, work that is of value to the community. Great networking opportunity."
Recognizing and Celebrating Pro Bono
All students who meet or exceed the 50 hour pro bono pledge goal before graduation will receive a "Pro Bono Honors" notation on their academic transcript. Students who complete 75 hours or more of pro bono work also receive recognition at commencement. Students who complete 100 hours or more of pro bono work are presented with a Pro Bono Certificate at commencement.
New York Bar Pro Bono Requirement
Current students planning to take the New York bar exam must complete 50 hours of pro bono service prior to being admitted. The specific internships, courses, and programs that qualify for pro bono through Suffolk University Law School and for the New York requirement are different. To find out exactly what pro bono work qualifies for the New York requirement [PDF],
Suffolk’s pro bono forms do not count towards the New York bar pro bono requirement. To meet the New York requirement, a supervisor must sign New York’s affidavit [PDF]. In order to ensure that pro bono work is properly recorded, a supervisor should sign the affidavit immediately after the student completes the 50 pro bono hours. Don’t wait for two years and risk your supervisor leaving the organization or changing contact information.
This information is subject to change. Review New York’s webpage [PDF] very carefully for details.