Pro Bono Service
Pro Bono Service Program
Students participating in Seton Hall Law’s Pro Bono Service Program gain critical
hands-on experience and the ability to make a difference in someone’s life starting
as early as their first year.
The program has opportunities in-house at the Center for Social justice and opportunities at partner nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Students who take part in the program speak about the practical value of the learning experience and the deep personal satisfaction that comes from working on behalf of others.
Seton Hall Law does not have a pro bono requirement for students, but all students are encouraged to pledge to complete 50 hours of pro bono service during their time at law school. You can complete the pledge here.
Questions about the Pro Bono Service Program can be directed to [email protected].
What is pro bono service?
Pro bono service is legal work completed for persons in need, free of charge, or legal work completed with the goal of improving the law, the legal system, or the legal profession.
What type of work qualifies as pro bono?
Pro bono work must be law-related and supervised by an attorney, judge, or law school faculty member.
Is pro bono work mandatory?
Pro Bono work is not mandatory to graduate from Seton Hall Law. However, the New York State Bar has a pro bono service requirement in order to be admitted there. You can read about it here.
Why should I do pro bono work?
Both the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct and the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct state that lawyers have a professional responsibility to complete pro bono work. Pro bono work allows you to get real hands-on experience and explore different areas of the law, without committing to a full internship. Pro bono work is personally and professionally satisfying. Lastly, you receive recognition at graduation and on your transcript if you complete 50 hours of pro bono service during your time at Seton Hall Law.
How many hours of pro bono work do I need to commit?
There is no minimum number of hours to commit to pro bono work. You can begin with a few hours during your 1L year. Students who complete 50 hours by graduation will receive recognition in the graduation program and a notation on their transcript.
Do all my pro bono hours need to be at one placement or on one project?
No. You can do different pro bono projects throughout your time in law school. If you complete 50 hours, cumulatively, you will fulfill the Seton Hall Law pro bono pledge.
Can I Complete Pro Bono Work if I Work Full-Time? What if I'm a Weekend Program Student?
Yes, there are opportunities to do pro bono work in the evenings and weekends, as well as remote opportunities that can be completed at times of your choice. Please contact [email protected] if you have specific restrictions and requirements.
How Is The NY Bar Pro Bono Requirement Different From The SHL Pro Bono Service Program?
Work that is paid, or completed for academic credit, may satisfy the requirement of the New York State Bar. Work that is paid or completed for academic credit will not be counted for the Seton Hall Law Pro Bono Service Program. For details as to what type of work satisfies the New York pro bono requirement, please read the Court’s FAQ.
What opportunities exist to volunteer at Seton Hall?
Seton Hall Law has a variety of pro bono projects and placements for you to consider. These include:
Courtroom Advocates Project
Last Resort Exoneration Project
Trans Affirming Alliance – Name Affirmation Project
Housing Justice Project (HJP) within the Center for Social Justice
Detention and Deportation Defense Initiative (DDDI) within the Center for Social Justice
What opportunities exist in the greater Newark community and Northern Jersey?
There are many legal nonprofits in New Jersey. For example, the following nonprofits have pro bono opportunities for students: Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Essex-Newark Legal Services, Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, Partners, and New Jersey Law Revision Commission.
What opportunities exist in New York City?
There are many legal nonprofits in New York City. For example, the following nonprofits may have pro bono opportunities for students: New York Legal Assistance Group, Mobilization for Justice, and Sanctuary for Families.
Can I find and pursue a pro bono project on my own?
Yes, students may pursue pro bono opportunities with nonprofits that align with their passions and interests. If the work or opportunity is something you found or pursued independently, please seek written approval from the Director of the Center for the Pro Bono Service Program by emailing [email protected].
Do hours at my internship count if I receive a stipend or academic credit?
No, you cannot receive any payment (including a stipend) or academic credit to qualify for the Seton Hall Pro Bono Service Program.
Does working on pro bono cases with a private law firm qualify?
No. If you are working at a law firm and undertake pro bono matters while you are there, that does not qualify for the Seton Hall Law Pro Bono Service Program (though such service would likely satisfy the New York requirement for admission).
Does community service work qualify?
No. Hours spent doing community service, such as volunteering at a food bank or soup kitchen, do not qualify. The work must be legal in nature.
Does interning for a judge qualify?
Yes, if you are interning without receiving academic credit or a stipend, hours spent interning with a judge will qualify for the Seton Hall Pro Bono Service Program.
Does interning at a government agency qualify?
Yes, if you are interning without receiving academic credit or payment, hours spent interning with a government agency such as the Office of the Attorney General, a prosecutor’s office, or Office of the Public Defender will qualify for the Seton Hall Pro Bono Service Program.
Do training hours qualify?
Yes, if you are trained as part of your pro bono service, the training hours qualify (as long as you follow through with the substantive pro bono work).
Does legal foreign language interpretation/translation work qualify?
No. If you are simply interpreting or translating, those hours do not qualify for the Seton Hall Law Pro Bono Service Program.
What happens once I complete the Pro Bono Service Pledge?
Once you complete the Pro Bono Service Pledge, you will be added to a distribution list to receive information about projects. You will also be sent information on accessing Clio, the system used to track your hours of service.
What is the first step before beginning pro bono work?
Once you have decided on a pro bono project, please complete the Pro Bono Commitment Form.
How do I log my pro bono service hours?
We use a case management system called Clio for tracking pro bono hours. Please track your hours as you complete them. Email [email protected] to be set up with Clio access.
Is there anything else I should know before I get started?
If you learned about the work you anticipate doing directly from Seton Hall Law School’s Pro Bono Service Project, those hours will qualify. If the work or opportunity is something you found or pursued independently, please seek written approval from the Director of the Center for the Pro Bono Service Program by emailing [email protected].