Pro Bono Program creates a variety of opportunities for student service
Next week at orientation, the UT Law Pro Bono Program will introduce the Pro Bono Pledge to its third entering class. The first class to sign the pledge, the class of 2013, will graduate next May.
Last year over 80% of the 1L class signed the pro bono pledge, committing to perform 50 hours of pro bono service before graduation, and the Pro Bono Program saw significant gains in participation across each class. Nearly 300 students (about a third of the student body) reported over 22,000 cumulative hours of legal pro bono work. Over 150 students met their Pro Bono Pledge benchmarks. Fifteen 3Ls reported over one hundred hours of pro bono service.
“The first two years of the program were very successful, but this third year is an important milestone,” said Tina Fernandez, director of the Pro Bono Program. “As of this year, every student will have learned about the program and the Pro Bono Pledge as part of orientation. I’m very inspired by our students’ level of participation in pro bono service, and I am excited about the year ahead.”
According to Fernandez, the goal for 2012–2013 is to meet or increase the number of incoming students signing the pledge and to provide students with a greater variety of organized pro bono opportunities. The Pro Bono Program has scheduled September and October training sessions for a broad a range of activities, including working with middle school students through Youth Court, interviewing clients at walk-in legal clinics, working on asylum cases for American Gateways or U-Visa cases for Catholic Charities, and assisting divorce petitioners who are not represented by counsel.
Students can learn more about opportunities for trainings on the Pro Bono Program website, its Twitter feed (UTLawProBono) and Facebook page (UT Law Pro Bono). They can also sign up for Pro Bono survey email alerts on the survey page or contact the Pro Bono Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for the program’s very popular annual winter break trip to the Texas Rio Grande Valley will be due in early November.
The Pro Bono Program was established by the Law School’s William Wayne Justice Center in 2009 with an endowment from Richard and Ginni Mithoff.
Tina Fernandez, Director, Pro Bono Program, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, 512-232-6170, email@example.com