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 30 hours of pro bono work the School of Law requires for graduation.
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 two semesters of law school. During their first two semesters, students may earn pro bono credit for specially designated programs the Dean or 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 over 130 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 Dean or the Director of Public Service and Pro Bono.
Students also can gain practical legal experience through the Externship Program.
Additionally, the American Bar Association has compiled information on bar pre-admission pro bono requirements.