Qualifying Pro Bono for Summer Fellowships

To be eligible for the Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Sector Summer Fellowship, law students must demonstrate public interest/public service involvement by completing and recording 25 hours of qualifying pro bono work. Pro bono hours must be completed by the Fellowship application deadline, which is usually in early April.

NOTE: Students who completed and tracked the required 25 hours of pro bono work for the fellowship during the previous academic year need not complete an additional 25 hours of pro bono work in order to apply for funding for a second summer of public interest work.

The pro bono hours required for Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Sector Summer Fellowship eligibility may be completed through activities described in paragraphs A-C below.

  • A. completing at least 25 hours of volunteer (unpaid and not-for-credit) pro bono/public interest service:
    1. through a Berkeley Law-affiliated clinic, such as a Student Initiated Legal Services Project (SLP) or the Death Penalty Clinic*, or
    2. at a 501(c)(3) legal non-profit organization of a student’s choosing, subject to prior approval by the CDO**, provided that the public interest/public service work is law-related and attorney-supervised, or
  • B. combining law-related pro bono hours described in the previous paragraph [A(1) or (2)] with hours spent directly assisting the summer public interest fellowship fund-raising efforts of any Berkeley Law student organization (as certified by the organization) for a total of at least 25 hours [examples of hours that can be used in combination with law-related pro bono hours to satisfy the 25 hour requirement include hours spent organizing for or working at the BLF auction, ELQ’s Race Judicata, and BHWA’s Barrister’s Ball.] They would not include hours spent planning or working at symposia or any other non-fundraising hours, even if those hours would otherwise count toward BLF eligibility], or
  • C. being certified as having fulfilled all of the eligibility requirements of the Berkeley Law Foundation (BLF) that would qualify the student to compete for a BLF summer fellowship.

* Students may claim only up to 5 hours of SLP or clinic training/orientation time towards the pro bono requirement. Commute time may not be counted, nor may hours worked at PIPS organizations as internships or field placements if they were compensated (either with units, pay, or other funding).

**To get approval, please submit the pro bono petition to the CDO for review. In order to comply with the Dean’s Grants requirements, a student-initiated project must be:

  1. Law-related. The project requires knowledge of the law for completion; and
  2. Supervised by an attorney (either directly or indirectly), who will sign off on the final work product; and
  3. In the public interest. Examples include work that helps those who are under-represented, educates the public about the law, improves the legal profession in some way, or deals with an issue of public importance from any side of the political spectrum; and
  4. Uncompensated. Students may not receive any form of financial remuneration (salary, stipend, or grant) or academic credit (writing or other) for their work. If the work is being supervised through a clinic, the petitioner must indicate that s/he is not currently enrolled in the clinic or s/he must attach written confirmation from the Professor that the pro bono project is in addition to the work required to receive academic credit.

To find pro bono opportunities outside the SLPS projects, you can start here.

For purposes of both the Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Sector Summer Fellowship Application and the Pro Bono Pledge, each law student is individually responsible for tracking his or her hours of pro bono work.

To report hours performed for the purposes of applying for a Dean’s Grant, students must record their pro bono hours  in one of the following ways:

NOTE: The requirements for qualifying pro bono work for purposes of the Dean’s Grant eligibility are slightly different from those governing the Pro Bono Pledge. Please see the Pro Bono Pledge pages (for Class of 2019 and later and for Class of 2018) for more information.

Quick Links

// Pro Bono Hours Reporting Form (Class of 2019 and later)

// Pro Bono Dashboard (Classes of 2017 and 2018)

// Dean’s Grant Pro Bono Petition

If you are a legal services organization or government agency employer seeking law students to assist with a pro bono project, please contact the Pro Bono Program.

Please note that the Career Development Office does not provide legal assistance and does not refer individuals and organizations seeking assistance to private attorneys. Law students are not permitted to represent individuals in legal matters unless they are working under the supervision of a licensed attorney. Faculty members make individual decisions about pro bono projects, please contact them directly. Please do not telephone, e-mail or write to the Career Development Office with legal questions or requests for referrals as we are unable to respond to these inquiries. If you believe you need a lawyer, please contact your local bar association at sfbar.org or http://www.acbanet.org/ or contact East Bay Community Law Center.