Boston University School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Director for Public Service and Pro Bono
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Administrative Support for Student Group Projects
Description of Programs
At BU Law, pro bono is not just for students planning to go into public service. All students are encouraged to participate in the program to hone their legal skills, develop relationships with practicing attorneys, and to develop a habit of service consistent with lawyers’ professional obligations under ABA Model Rule 6.1. For students exploring careers in government, legal services, or other nonprofit advocacy, engaging in pro bono also serves as a valuable strategy for gaining public interest experience and professional contacts. All students are invited to take the voluntary Pro Bono Pledge, committing to at least 50 hours of service for J.D. students and 18 hours for LL.M. students. Completion of the pledge is noted on transcripts and celebrated at an annual event honoring the graduating J.D. and LL.M. students who have completed the highest number of pro bono hours. BU Law student pro bono work is unpaid and not for academic credit. It should involve law-related service to Persons of limited means; or Organizations or government in matters designed to primarily address the needs of persons of limited means; or Organizations or government agencies dedicated to underrepresented groups and/or social issues, including groups or organizations seeking to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties, or public rights. Student pro bono work for a qualifying entity may include Participating in activities providing information about justice, the law, or the legal system to those who might not otherwise have such information; Legislative drafting; Commenting on proposed regulations. Every year, BU Law School honors faculty and alumni who have engaged in substantial pro bono work during their careers by presenting them with pro bono awards. BU Law also recognizes the graduating student who has completed the highest number of pro bono hours.
Location of Programs
The Pro Bono Program is housed within the Office of Career Development and Public Service ("CDO").
The Pro Bono Program is staffed by Eron Hackshaw, Director for Public Service and Pro Bono and a Senior Program Coordinator. The Assistant Dean of Career Development and Public Service and the BU Law Public Service Committee, comprised of faculty, staff and students, also advise the program.
The Pro Bono Program is funded through the law school operating budget.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
There is no formal faculty pro bono policy, but faculty members engage in pro bono projects each year. Students may assist faculty members with these projects which may take the form of research and publication. Every year, a faculty member who has engaged in substantial pro bono work is honored by being presented with a pro bono award.
The J.D. student and LL.M. student who complete the most hours in their graduating class are recognized with an award. Additionally, those students who have satisfied the Pro Bono Pledge are recognized with a notation on their law school transcript. A faculty member also receives an award.
Every fall, BU Law holds a pro bono event to kick off the year. The event is attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni and the legal community. Each year, an alumnus/a is presented with the Victor J. Garo, Esq. Award for Public Service.
In April, towards the end of the school year, the school hosts an event honoring students who have completed the pledge.
Graduating 3Ls and LL.M. students who have completed the Pro Bono Pledge receive Certificates.
Alternative Winter or Spring Break Projects
BU Law provides a variety of public interest spring break opportunities.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Director for Public Service and Pro Bono
Public Interest Centers
PI Career Support Center
BU Law provides detailed public interest career advising for any law students interested in a career in public interest. Counseling involves advice and support in applying for public interest internships and positions. It also includes assistance to develop and apply for post-graduation fellowships in the public interest field.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
BU Law has a strong tradition of commitment to public service. We recognize that many law graduates have difficulties pursuing public interest careers because salaries are insufficient to enable them to pay loans in addition to covering their living expenses. Since 1993, BU Law has provided financial support to our alumni in order to relieve some of the burden of making monthly payments. Under the terms of the current program, graduates are eligible to apply for assistance for up to ten years after graduation. Applications are submitted to the Law Financial Aid Office and reviewed by the Loan Repayment Assistance Program Committee, who consider several criteria, including current salary, total educational debt, year of graduation, spousal income and educational loans (if any), dependent responsibility, the monthly payment in relation to monthly income and any special circumstances affecting the applicant’s ability to repay outstanding debt. The Committee also considers the nature of the public service activity, the organization’s history, and its viability when deciding how to allocate the funds available. A full description of the program is available on our website - http://www.bu.edu/law/admissions/financial-aid/loan-repayment-assistance-program/
N. Neal Pike Fellowship Boston University School of Law awards the N. Neal Pike Disability Rights Fellowship to a graduate who will work on disability rights issues. This fellowship furthers the goals of N. Neal Pike, a BU Law graduate, distinguished lawyer, and lifelong advocate for individuals with disabilities.
Citrix Fellowship The Boston University School of Law Citrix Fellowship was established in 2020 through a dedicated gift to the Law School by Citrix Systems, Inc. to help a graduating third-year J.D. student secure a year-long placement at a nonprofit organization engaged in impactful advocacy to promote racial justice through voting rights, criminal justice reform, or other urgent social justice initiatives. The Citrix Fellowship is designed to increase diversity in the public interest sector by giving special consideration to first-generation law students, socioeconomically disadvantaged candidates, and/or BIPOC students. The Citrix Fellowship also removes some of the financial barriers to launching a public interest career directly after law school by offering a supplemental stipend to help defray bar preparation costs and other expenses.
BU Law counsels students regarding fellowship opportunities and offers resources to help students identify post-graduate fellowships and awards.