Charlotte School of Law

Charlotte School of Law [On Probation]
201 S. College Street
Suite 400
Charlotte, NC 28244

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Experiential Education Department
Charlotte School of Law

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

All Charlotte Law students must complete fifty (50) or more Pro Bono hours before graduation. Students who excel at pro bono service are recognized with Pro Bono Hours Distinction at Graduation.

Location of Programs

With the Clinical and Externship Programs


Volunteer law school students help promote the program as law school Pro Bono Student Ambassadors


In Clinic Budget

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Innocence Project: At Charlotte School of Law this Charlotte Law student group works with the North Carolina enter on Actual Innocence, a non-profit agency that coordinates the Innocence Projects at each of North Carolinas law schools. Through these projects, students benefit from the opportunity to review and assist in the investigation of innocence claims made by North Carolina inmates.

Guardian ad Litem (GAL): A Guardian ad Litem is a trained community volunteer who is appointed by a district court judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children petitioned into the court system by the Department of Social Services. The GAL makes independent recommendations to the court for services which focus on the needs of each child. After completing the required training, students will be certified as a GAL. Many Charlotte Law students have completed their GAL training with the Mecklenburg County Guardian ad Litem Program.

Self-Serve Center Group Project: The Charlotte Law Self-Serve Center Student Group Project works with the 26th Judicial District Self-Serve Center at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. Charlotte Law students are trained to help educate members of the community about the steps required to file family law and Landlord-Tenant cases pro se (self-represented). Charlotte Law students are supervised by local attorneys and trained by Mr. Darwin Rice of the Self-Serve Center. The North Carolina Bar Associations Public Service Advisory Committee recognized Charlotte Laws Self-Serve Center Group Project with its 2009 NCBA Pro Bono Law Student Project Award.

Street Law: The Charlotte Law Student Group of Street Law, an innovative public law clinical program began at Georgetown Law in 1972, has worked with young people in Mecklenburg County for several years. The idea for Street Law was cultivated by law students, and several decades later, Street Law, Inc. continues its close relationship with the legal community. Street Law provides lawyers, law students, paralegals, and judges with programs, professional development opportunities, and publications to enable them to teach practical law in their communities and schools.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty Members are encouraged to pursue Pro Bono work in the community and are evaluated on service as part of their annual review. Annually, an Access to Justice Faculty Award is presented to a Faculty member who best exemplifies the pro bono ethic of the legal profession through personal service and through engaging students in service, teaching them the importance of the professions obligation to meet the unmet legal needs of the poor and disadvantaged.


Law Students completing (50-149) Pro Bono hours at time of graduation receive Pro Bono Honors certificate and notation on transcript. Pro Bono High Honors (150-249hrs) and Pro Bono Highest Honors (250+hours) are also awarded. Annual Public Service Recognition Event held in Spring Semester, which includes announcement of Pro Bono Student and Faculty Member of the year awards.

Community Service

All Charlotte Law students are required to engage in at least 10 hours of non-legal community service prior to graduation. Pro bono service may count towards this requirement. An annual Community Service Award is presented to a Charlotte Law student for exceptional work in the community.

Experiential Education Department
Charlotte School of Law

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Carol Turowski
Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Programs
Charlotte School of Law
1300 South Boulevard, Suite K
Charlotte, NC 28203
P: (704) 808-4993 (Direct)

Public Interest Clinics

Civil Rights Clinic
Students work on state and federal civil rights issues that affect the community such as voting rights, complaints filed with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, 1983 actions and, most recently, a brief regarding discovery in federal cases that was filed with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Community Economic Development Clinic
Charlotte School of Law's Community Economic Development Clinic teaches students to utilize transactional legal skills to promote community revitalization.

Criminal Justice Clinic
The Criminal Justice Clinic introduces students to the substantive study of criminal law and procedure through the direct representation of indigent clients charged with misdemeanor criminal offenses. Students are responsible for all aspects of representing clients in the District Court of Mecklenburg County located in uptown Charlotte.

Domestic Violence Law Clinic
Through the Charlotte School of Law Domestic Violence Clinic, law students are given the opportunity to participate in both a civil court domestic violence experience in Mecklenburg County and a criminal Domestic Violence court experience in Union County. Students will be responsible for all aspects of representing clients and causes in various civil and criminal contexts under the two attorney's supervision.

Entrepreneurship Clinic
The Entrepreneurship Clinic at Charlotte Law School is a student-based program designed to assist mom and pop start-up companies with legal advice and advocacy to launch a business.

Family Advocacy Clinic
Students represent indigent parents who have lost custody of their children due to allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency. NC mandates that parents have legal representation in these cases including where parents are indigent and unable to afford counsel.

Immigration Law Clinic
Students represent indigent undocumented children without parents or guardians who will be deported if not provided legal status by the Immigration Court. Students work with practitioners in family court who represent children at hearings to declare their independence and then work with the client on the petition in Immigration court.

Tax Controversy Clinic
Students represent low-income taxpayers in their disputes with the IRS in partnership with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont's Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.

Others that have been offered in the past and may be offered from time to time are:

  • Wrongful Convictions
  • Wills
  • Unemployment Benefits


Lois Grossman
Associate Professor
Charlotte School of Law
201 South College Street
Charlotte, NC 28244
P: (704) 971-8582 (Direct)

Currently, CharlotteLaw has four types of externships. These options differ as to time of year, number of hours students spend in the field, the nature of the classroom component, and the student application process.

  1. First-Time Term-Time Externships (For Students Who Have Not Completed an Externship)

    First-time externships taken during the school year range from three to five credits, depending on the combination of placement and companion course. Placements and courses fall into three categories: Criminal, Civil and Judicial.
    1. Criminal Justice. Students selected for a criminal law placement (2 or 3 field credits) must take the companion courses, NC Criminal Practice - Defense or Prosecution (2 credits). The courses are taught by an assistant district attorney and an assistant public defender , respectively and is focused on North Carolina criminal procedure from arrest through sentencing. The primary objective is to assist students with beginning the transition from "law student" to "criminal trial lawyer" in NC. The course highlights issues unique to criminal prosecution and defenders including prosecutorial discretion, plea negotiations, calendaring, discovery, special ethical considerations, the role of the victim, current criminal issues in NC state law, and the role that defense attorney and prosecutor play in the criminal justice system. To enhance the externs' fieldwork, through simulations and observations, externs explore trial skills and practice, client communication skills, evidentiary procedures, courtroom etiquette, and courtroom procedures such as bond hearings and guilty pleas.
    2. Civil Justice. Students selected for a civil law placement (2 or 3 field credits) must take the companion course, Civil Justice (2 credits). With an emphasis on reflective lawyering, the weekly seminar gives students an opportunity to share experiences and to hear about a range of practice areas. They gain understanding of the common issues faced by public interest lawyers, as well as a range of issues of concern to all new lawyers -- from the most practical questions regarding professional etiquette, to the more serious practice concerns that arise in various practice settings. Learning outcomes stress the importance of self-directed learning and the legal needs of those unable to afford a lawyer. The seminar may integrate student presentations and simulations.
    3. Judicial. Students selected for a judicial placement (2 or 3 field credits) must take the companion course, Judicial Decision-making (1 credit). This seminar focuses on the judicial process, the judiciary, and the role of judges and attorneys as members of the legal profession. It also stresses the importance of self-directed learning and reflection as a path to excellence and gives students an opportunity to share experiences and hear about a range of judicial settings. The seminar integrates reflective writing assignments, speakers and presentations.
  2. The Summer Immersion Externship Program (For students who have not completed an externship)

    The summer externship program allows students to earn academic credit over the summer while working in a public interest office government agency or judicial placement. They may extern anywhere in the United States and abroad as long as the work provided meets the academic objectives of the course. Students work 240 hours under the supervision of an approved attorney or judge over the course of at least eight weeks earning 4 credit hours. Comparable to the term-time externship course, students must attend an externship orientation lead by the externship professor prior to beginning their externship. Three on-line classes and two individual meetings with the professor are held over the summer. Students also maintain contact with the professor over the summer through weekly journals. Evaluation for the summer course is pass/fail. There are two course options:
    1. Summer Judicial Externship Course. Same emphasis as the term-time judicial externship course described above.
    2. Public Interest Externship Course. Combines students with criminal and civil placements and focuses on reflective learning and access to justice.
  3. Semester in D.C. is an honors program where 3L's spend an entire term time semester in Washington DC earning 10 term credits for their full time field placement with a non-profit organization or government agency and 3 credits for their class component.
  4. Advanced Externships (For students who have completed an externship) Students who have completed an externship may apply to engage in a second one for two or three credits. The second externship must provide the student with a different learning experience from the first. Advanced externs are not required to take the externship companion course again. Instead, the educational experience is more student-driven, with a self-developed learning agenda and reading list tailored to the externs' own interests and work

Advanced Externs also meet with the Professor two-three times, produce weekly learning journals, develop individualized reading list and write a short, final synthesis paper.

Internships and Co-op

Emma Best
Associate Professor
Charlotte School of Law
1300 South Blvd, Suite K
Charlotte, NC 28203
P: (704) 971-9397 (Direct)

Skillful, Capable Student Lawyer Interns

Charlotte School of Law's Cooperative Legal Education Program was piloted in the spring of 2011 with input from area Corporate Counsel departments and is rapidly expanding.

Charlotte School of Law Corporate Counsel Co-ops are key in our experiential learning model, providing lawyers-in-training, many with business backgrounds or interests, the unique opportunity to be mentored and supervised by engaged corporate attorneys.

Co-op Partner Companies benefit from the partnership by:

  • Receiving cost-effective legal assistance from highly motivated student lawyers
  • Giving student lawyers those research projects for which counsel normally has no time
  • Partnering student lawyers with paralegals on specific projects
  • Empowering the student lawyer to give a fresh perspective on current legal practices in the legal department
  • Allowing student lawyers to review contracts and leases, update policies and documents, and investigate client concerns and compliance issues
  • Utilizing the Charlotte School of Law Co-op Program in recruiting efforts for the company

Two Sections:

  • Corporate Co-op with Companies
  • Law Firm Co-op with Law Firms

A Few of Our Current Co-op Program Partner Companies Include:

  • Charlotte Bobcats
  • Compass Group
  • Rack Room Shoes
  • Duke Energy
  • Michael Scott Mater Foundation
  • Husqvarna

For more information, contact us at
Charlotte School of Law Corporate Counsel Co-Op Program
201 South College Street
Charlotte, NC 28244
P: (704) 971-9397

Classes with a Public Service Component

Access to Justice Courses: These one-credit courses are designed to educate students about the unmet legal needs in a particular area of the law and to train the students to provide the needed service. The opportunity for the service is either incorporated into the course (Access to Justice: Immigration) or follows the course as part of a pro bono clinic (Custody and Divorce).

Practicums: Practicums are offered based on faculty interest and, thus, vary from semester to semester. An Immigration traditional non-clinical course becomes a practicum when the professor partners with an outside organization and builds into the course required assignments that will benefit the outside organization. An example is the Education Law Practicum.

Public Interest Career Support Center

The Center for Professional Development (CPD) houses a number of Public Interest resources and shares Public Interest Conference and Job Fair information with the law student body.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None listed

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

None listed

Student Public Interest Groups

CharlotteLaw Public Interest Law Society (PILS)

Updated: 3/6/2017