The Pro Bono Pledge is Berkeley Law’s voluntary pro bono recognition program. The “pledge” is a personal commitment students make to complete at least 50 hours of law-related pro bono work during their time at Berkeley Law. Students who complete the pledge and meet the hour requirement will receive a gold cord to wear with their robe at Commencement and a special notation in the Commencement program. Students will also be honored at the Public Interest and Pro Bono Graduation and receive a letter of commendation from the Dean. The deadline to record your hours is April 1 of the year you will graduate.
To fulfill the Pro Bono Pledge, students must complete 50 or more hours of pro bono work as defined by ABA Model Rule 6.1. The work must be completely uncompensated, either with pay or academic units. Work for which students receive academic credit (e.g., field placements or clinics), a stipend or fellowship (e.g., unpaid summer positions), or a salary (e.g., pro bono work at law firms as a summer associate) do not qualify.
- This version of the Pro Bono Pledge applies only to JD students graduating in 2018. Information about the new Pro Bono Pledge, applicable to LL.M. students and JD Classes of 2019 and 2020, is available here.
- Please note that the definition of “pro bono” used here is different from the definitions used for the Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Sector Summer Fellowship eligibility (“Dean’s Grants”) and the New York State Bar Pro Bono Requirement.
Record Your Hours
JD Class of 2018 ONLY: If you previously used the Pro Bono Dashboard to record your pro bono hours, please continue to do so. If this is your first time recording your hours, please use the form below.
JD Classes of 2019 and 2020 and LL.M. Class of 2018: Please use this form to record your hours:
Students may nominate themselves or others for the Eleanor Swift Award for Public Service. The award is awarded annually to an exceptional member of the Berkeley Law community (students, staff or faculty) who—like Professor Eleanor Swift—has performed outstanding work to strengthen Berkeley Law’s commitment to public service. Eligible candidates will have increased the law school’s commitment to public service through any or several of the following activities that enable Berkeley Law students to engage in public service legal work during law school or in their careers either as public interest and social justice lawyers or on a pro bono basis: exceptional leadership, administration and support, innovation, outreach, teaching, professional or public writing, mentoring, advocacy, advising, and/or participation in Berkeley Law’s public service programs and activities. Nomination Process: Anyone in the Berkeley Law community may nominate anyone else in the community. Nominations shall be made in the form of a memo of up to two pages on why the nominee should receive the award. Nominees will be asked for consent to be considered, and must submit a bio, CV or resume. Nominations will be accepted beginning February 1.
Summer Public Interest Fellowships (“Dean’s Grants”)
Every Berkeley Law JD student is guaranteed funding to pursue public interest or public sector summer work. These Summer Public Interest Fellowships (often called “Dean’s Grants”) are separate from the Pro Bono Pledge and administered by the Career Development Office, not the Pro Bono Program. Please visit the Finance Your Public Interest Career webpage or contact the Career Development Office for more information.
Questions about the Pro Bono Pledge? Please contact the Pro Bono Program Director at email@example.com.