Directory

Stetson University College of Law

Stetson University College of Law
1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
www.law.stetson.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Tammy Briant
Interim Director of Student Life
1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
P: (727) 562-7808
E-mail

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

All J.D. students who enter the College of Law in or after Fall 2010 (whether as a new or transfer student) are required to complete 60 hours of pro bono public service. At least 30 hours must be completed in legal-related activities; the 30 remaining hours may be completed in non-legal-related activities.

Deadline to complete all hours: Students must complete all 60 required hours before the end of their next-to-last semester in law school. Students who have not completed all required hours by this deadline will have their grades and transcripts held until they have completed the requirement. July graduates will be treated as May graduates for purposes of this policy.

Annual hours requirement: Each student must complete at least 10 of the required hours each academic year, unless the head of the Office of Student Life grants an exception for extraordinary circumstances. A student may complete more than 10 hours in any given year; once a student has completed all 60 hours, he or she is not required to complete additional hours to meet this annual minimum. For purposes of this policy, an academic year ends on May 31.

Legal-Related Activities: Legal-related activities are limited to:

  1. Pro bono service for the indigent;
  2. Pro bono service for a public agency;
  3. Pro bono service for a private attorney on a case in which he or she is working pro bono;
  4. Pro bono service performed under the supervision of a faculty member, if the faculty member is engaged in a legal pro bono project and the student's work is more than mere research assistance; and
  5. Pro bono service performed for a law school project pursuant to a grant or other funding, where the work is supervised by someone other than the faculty member overseeing the project, and the work is not used by the faculty member for activities that would generally be supported by research assistance (such as scholarship or speeches).

Non-legal Activities:Non-legal activities must be approved by the head of the Office of Student Life. Non-legal-related activities exclude fundraising for the University and the College of Law. Students may not satisfy their non-legal pro bono requirement by volunteering for departments on campus.

Publicity: Pro bono activities will be promoted by the Office of Student Life. Any promotion will specifically categorize activities as either legal or non-legal-related. Students will be formally introduced to these requirements during New Student Orientation.

Stetson was one of the first law schools in the country to require students to perform pro bono service as a prerequisite for graduation. The legal community has embraced Stetson's commitment to public service, and the College of Law has been recognized for its emphasis on public interest.

Stetson is a charter member of the Public Service Law Network Worldwide, a global network of law schools and law-related public service organizations that fosters community service and encourages future lawyers to incorporate public service into their careers.

Students have performed their pro bono service at a variety of Tampa Bay organizations. Listed below are a few examples of these organizations.

  • Teen Court
  • The Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities
  • Gulfcoast Legal Services
  • Bay Area Legal Services
  • Gulfport Elementary School
  • Bay Pines Veterans Hospital
  • Habitat for Humanity

Location of Programs

Office of Student Life

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Office of Student Life oversees the program. The Registrar records the hours and tracks how much pro bono is completed.

Funding

Stetson University College of Law solely manages the program.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Public Service Fellows promote the concept and awareness of public service legal work on our law campus. Fellows are also involved directly in public service legal assistance activities. They promote pro bono legal services by students on campus and by members of the legal profession.

Equal Justice Works seeks to promote involvement in public interest law positions by interacting with the public interest community at large. EJW coordinate auctions to raise money so they may send interested students to Washington, D.C., each fall for a national job fair, and provide stipends for students working in public interest summer internships.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty members are encouraged to complete 10 hours of pro bono service per year. Pro bono service is part of their annual evaluation.

Awards/Recognition

In honor of William F. Blews (JD 1966), Stetson University College of Law has established an award to recognize those students who perform at least twice the number of pro bono hours required for graduation. Awards are presented to students at the Honors and Awards Ceremony prior to graduation. Recipients also wear blue cords over their robes at Commencement.

Community Service

The Office of Student Life works with faculty, administration, student organizations and the local community to provide a wide range of community service activities. Annual events include beach and reef cleanups, BLSA youth day, Homestead exemption programs, Fun in the Sun Day, Salute the Troops, and ABA/LSD Habitat for Humanity.

On October 22, 2009, Stetson University College of Law held its inaugural Legal Community in Action Day. Students at all academic levels were required to complete professionalism programming. First-year students were required to complete 2-4 hours of pro bono. On just that day, students completed over 1,400 hours of service at more than 80 different local organizations.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Tammy Briant
Interim Director of Student Life
1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
P: (727) 562-7808
E-mail

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Advocacy

Elder Law

International Law

Public Interest Centers

Office of Student Life – The Office of Student Life provides students with lists of pro bono and public interest opportunities. Student Life sponsors a Pro Bono Fair in the fall and spring where community organizations meet with students to discuss pro bono opportunities. The Office of Student Life also coordinates the first-year students' pro bono requirement for Legal Community in Action Day.

Public Interest Clinics

Civil Government Clinic– Students are exposed to governmental law practice and have the opportunity to work on a variety of governmental law issues, including municipal liability, zoning, ordinances, etc.

Civil Immigration Clinic – Students are exposed to the unique and continuing legal concerns about immigration law. Students experience face to face counseling and representation on a variety of issues.

Civil Poverty Clinic – Students with lawyer oversight represent low income individuals primarily in the areas of domestic relations, child custody, landlord-tenant, consumer credit, collection matters and government entitlement.

Elder Law Clinic– Students with lawyer oversight represent clients 60 years and older at all stages of representation including drafting pleadings and trials. Some students will be placed with assistant state attorneys to prosecute misdemeanor consumer fraud cases where the victims are elderly.

Prosecution Clinic – Students work with the State Attorney's Office in felony and misdemeanor cases preparing and assisting with trials. Students may also be placed with the State Attorney's delinquency and dependency divisions.

Public Defender's Clinic – Students work with the Public Defender's Office in felony and misdemeanor cases preparing and assisting with trials. Students may also be placed with the Public Defender's delinquency division.

Externships/Internships

Stetson University College of Law offers several Judicial Internship Programs. Placements include local, state, and federal trial courts, bankruptcy courts, Florida's Second District Court of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Washington, D.C.).

Classes with a Public Service Component

Occasionally professors will design pro bono programs around their courses.

Public Interest Journals

Although Stetson does not have a journal dedicated specifically to public interest, specific editions of the Stetson Law Review have focused on issues pertinent to the public interest, such as non-profit symposiums issues and local government issues.

PI Career Support Center

The Career Development Office has several directories and publications available in the office that can help guide students in their search for public service employment. Public interest careers are featured along with regular careers. Director of Career Development Cathy Fitch serves as one of our Equal Justice Works advisors. Each year, she attends the Equal Justice Works Conference and is a resource for the students at the Equal Justice Works Career Fair.

The Office of Student Life and the Office of Career Development work individually with students who have specific public interest goals.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

A loan repayment/loan forgiveness program is being discussed and research by the Public Service Fellows at Stetson University College of Law.

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:

The Public Service Fellow are students from varying backgrounds interested in participating and promoting public service law. Fellows receive a semester fellowship for a portion of their tuition. This Florida Bar Foundation sponsored program requires each fellow to work a minimum of 120 hours per semester in the public interest realm. Public Service Fellows projects span a variety of activities, including Street Law at local high schools; Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program; Courthouse projects; and the Guardian ad Litem Program. Students are selected by an application process, based on several criteria including prior public service.

The Public Service Fellows Program is funded through the Florida Bar's IOLTA Program. Usually 6-10 students receive awards, although this varies depending on the amount of funding received.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

The Equal Justice Works student organization provides summer stipends from the proceeds of its annual spring auction. Faculty, staff, and local businesses donate items to be put up for bidding. All of the proceeds go to the summer stipend account. Students competitively apply to receive an Equal Justice Works summer stipend. These stipends are designed to afford students to opportunity to take part in low or non-paying public interest jobs during the summer.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Legal Community in Action Day – For one day each academic year, classes are cancelled and students are required to complete professionalism programming. First-year students are required to complete 2-4 hours of pro bono. During the Fall 2009 Legal Community in Action Day, students completed over 1,400 hours of pro bono service at more than 80 different local organizations.

Pro Bono Fairs – The Office of Student Life holds Pro Bono Fairs each fall and spring semester. Thirty to forty local legal and non-legal service organizations come to campus to discuss their services and pro bono opportunities with the students.

Student Public Interest Groups

American Bar Association – Law Student Division

Public Service Fellows

Equal Justice Works

Calvin Kuenzel Student Bar Association

August 6, 2018