The Pro Bono Pledge is Berkeley Law’s voluntary pro bono recognition program. The “pledge” is a personal commitment students make to contribute a certain number of pro bono hours 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. Students should record their pro bono hours in a timely fashion throughout their law school career. The deadline to record hours to qualify for recognition at graduation is the Friday of the first week of April of the year you will graduate.
Please see the definition of “pro bono” to determine whether your work qualifies. Any work for which you received academic credit (e.g., field placements and clinics) does not qualify. The work must be performed during the academic year; summer work, even if unpaid, does not qualify. 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.
Pro Bono Pledge Hour Requirements for Each Level of Recognition
Pro Bono Honors: 75 hours
Pro Bono Honors with Highest Distinction: 200 hours
Pro Bono Honors: 50 hours
Pro Bono Honors with Highest Distinction: 133
(two-thirds of the JD hour requirements)
Pro Bono Honors: 25 hours
Pro Bono Honors with Highest Distinction: 66 hours
(one-third of the JD hour requirements)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.