“Some schools have a pro bono requirement;
at Berkeley Law, we have a pro bono culture.”
Clinical Professor of Law
Berkeley Law’s Pro Bono Program offers students the opportunity to engage in meaningful client service as early as their first semester of law school. Students can apply to participate in our Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS), Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips (BLAST), or pursue independent pro bono projects with community organizations. Regardless of the path you choose, you will gain practical skills while bringing life-changing legal services to underserved communities. The Pro Bono Pledge allows students to be recognized for their contributions both at Berkeley Law’s Commencement and at Public Interest and Pro Bono Graduation. J.D. students can also earn hours toward summer public interest stipends (commonly referred to as “Dean’s Grants”).
Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) are the heart of our Pro Bono Program and a vital part of the student experience at Berkeley Law. These pro bono projects are founded and operated by Berkeley Law students. Some date back decades; others began as recently as this semester. In each case, law students identified a legal need, recruited supervising attorneys, researched the relevant law, and enlisted classmates to bring legal services to under-served communities.
Berkeley Law Alternative Service Trips (BLAST) are another way students can provide pro bono legal services to clients in need. BLAST allows Berkeley Law students, under the supervision of attorneys specialized in the field, to take a short, but deep dive serving clients-in-need across the country in a variety of substantive legal areas over Spring Break. Our trips are led by 2Ls and 3Ls and allow students to immerse themselves in the community they are serving and develop lawyering skills along the way.
Berkeley Law students also participate in independent pro bono projects. Students can initiate these relationships with a community organization or or find their best fit by working with the Director of the Pro Bono Program. All independent pro bono projects must meet the Berkeley Law Definition of Pro Bono to qualify toward the Pro Bono Pledge.
For questions and additional information, please contact Deborah Schlosberg, the Pro Bono Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a legal services organization seeking law students to assist with a pro bono project we want to here from you. Please visit our “For Employers” page.
The Berkeley Law Pro Bono Program does not provide any direct 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 Pro Bono Program 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 the East Bay Community Law Center.
The California State Bar also provides resources for Californians who need help finding an attorney as well as ways to avoid fraud from notarios and other people posing as attorneys.