University of Virginia School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Assistant Director of Public Service
P: (434) 924-3883
Kimberly Carpenter Emery
Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest
P: (434) 924-1419
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator
Description of Programs
Established in 1999, the Law School's Pro Bono Program develops and administers pro bono opportunities for students while responding to the volunteer needs of community groups and other outside organizations such as prosecutors, public defenders, legal services, nonprofits, government agencies and private law firms providing pro bono services. The Pro Bono Program administers several in-house projects, develops and identifies a variety of ad-hoc pro bono opportunities throughout the academic year, and supports winter and spring break pro bono projects.
The Pro Bono Challenge encourages every law student to volunteer at least 25 hours annually. Students who complete their required hours receive a certificate of recognition at the end of their first and second years. Graduating students who have logged at least 75 pro bono hours are recognized in the commencement brochure and receive a certificate of completion signed by the Dean. The graduate(s) who best demonstrates an "extraordinary commitment to pro bono service" is honored with the annual Pro Bono Award.
In 2012-13, 265 students participated and logged over 16,500 hours of pro bono service, and 93 students in the graduating class received recognition for completing 75 or more hours of pro bono work.
The Pro Bono Program strives to provide every interested student with an appropriate pro bono project. This is accomplished through in-house projects, ad hoc projects, student-initiated projects, and winter and spring break pro bono projects.
Students working on pro bono projects may do legal research and writing, client and witness interviews, policy review, investigation and evidence gathering, and actual trial work. Third-year students who have their practice certificates may represent clients in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
Location of Programs
The UVA Law Pro Bono Program is located in SL245a.
The Pro Bono Project is administered by Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Public Interest Kimberly Emery. Emery and her staff in assist students in locating appropriate pro bono placements and also assist student-run organizations with the development of their own pro bono projects.
Project-specific grant funding from Jessie Ball DuPont Fund.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
Domestic Violence Project (DVP) - The Domestic Violence Project is a law student pro bono project organized under the Legal Assistance Society. DVP addresses the problem of domestic violence both directly (through pro bono service) and indirectly (through educational efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the issue). DVP educates the Law School community about issues of domestic violence through speakers, discussion panels, films and other events. DVP volunteers also monitor domestic violence-related criminal justice proceedings in Charlottesville, Albemarle and several other surrounding jurisdictions through the Shelter for Help in Emergency's Court Monitoring Program, and assist the Commonwealth's Attorney Offices of Charlottesville and of Albemarle in their prosecution of domestic violence cases by interviewing victims of domestic violence through the Commonwealth's Attorney's Project (CAP). In addition, DVP participants volunteer for the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society Pro Bono Domestic Violence Project (PDVP), organize police ride-alongs and more.
Migrant Farmworkers Project – Run by the Latin American Law Organization, MFP works with the Virginia Justice Center for Immigrant and Farmworkers (a program of the Legal Aid Justice Center) to assist an isolated population in great need of legal assistance. The Virginia Justice Center represents immigrant workers and farmworkers throughout the state of Virginia. Although the Center handles mostly employment law cases, it also takes housing and discrimination cases. Members of the Migrant Farmworkers Project at U.Va. are trained and supervised by a LAJC attorney and visit migrant farm labor camps to inform workers about their rights. The project also seeks to increase awareness about the substandard treatment and conditions in which immigrant workers live and work in the state of Virginia.
Street Law - Through Street Law, law students write lesson plans and teach substantive legal issues to 12th-grade students at local high schools. The program introduces high school students to the law and legal professions, educates high school students on their rights and responsibilities under the law, provides a connection between law students and the Charlottesville community, and encourages the professional development of law students by emphasizing communication and teaching skills.
Volunteer Income Tax Association (VITA) - Since 2007, VITA at Virginia Law, in cooperation with CASH at Madison House, has assisted lower-income taxpayers in the greater Charlottesville community with preparing their federal and state income tax returns. Volunteers also ensure that taxpayers receive all tax credits to which they are entitled. Services are provided for free and are provided in conjunction with the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Students receive training on how to provide tax assistance and are encouraged to come as often as their schedules allow.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
Students who complete their required hours receive a certificate of recognition at the end of their first and second years.
Graduating students who have logged at least 75 pro bono hours are recognized in the commencement brochure and receive a certificate of completion signed by the Dean.
The graduate(s) who best demonstrates an "extraordinary commitment to pro bono service" is honored with the annual Pro Bono Award.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center
Assistant Dean for Public Service; Director, Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center
P: (434) 243-4318
Director of Public Service
P: (434) 924-7313
Assistant Direct of Public Service
P: (434) 924-3883
Program in Law and Public Service
Associate Professor of Law; Director, Program in Law and Public Service
P: (434) 924-3771
Lewis F. Powell, Jr., Professor of Law; Director, Program in Law and Public Service
P: (434) 924-3520
Public Interest Centers
Program in Law and Public Service - The Program in Law and Public Service is designed to offer a select group of students the opportunity to receive intensive and appropriate training that will prepare them for a career in public service. Each year, up to 20 first-year students will be admitted to the program. Another five slots will be held open for second-year students.
Program participants will be required to take the course "Law and Public Service" in the spring of their first year of law school. (Students admitted to the program in their second year of law school may take the "Law and Public Service" course in the spring of their second years.) They will also be required to take the course on advocacy skills for public interest lawyers in the spring of their second year of law school. Last, they will be required in their third year to participate in a year-long colloquium in which students will present their independent research. Students in the program will be paired with a faculty mentor with expertise in the substantive area of interest to the participant. The faculty mentors will help students map out their courses, serve as sounding boards for summer and permanent employment, and will oversee an independent study.
Public Interest Clinics
Advocacy for the Elderly Clinic
Appellate Litigation Clinic
Capital Post-Conviction Clinic
Child Advocacy Clinic
Criminal Defense Clinic
Employment Law Clinic
Environmental Law and Conservation Clinic
Family Mediation Clinic
First Amendment Law Clinic
Immigration Law Clinic
Innocence Project Clinic
International Human Rights Law Clinic
Litigation and Housing Law Clinic
Mental Health Law Clinic
Supreme Court Litigation Clinic
UVA Law's externships program allows students to make connections between legal theory and practice during their second and third years of law school. Through the program, students can earn academic credit while working in the public sector under the supervision of a lawyer. The program includes three options:
UVA Law in DC
UVA Law in DC is a curricular offering requiring 40 hours per week of work at the host organization, which must be a government office or agency or a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization. Students participate in a weekly seminar in Washington, complete directed reading and writing assignments, and write a research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization's work, for a total of 12 credits (3 graded, 9 credit/ no credit).
Part-time externships are primarily local and require students to work 10 hours per week for the host organization, as well as complete reading and short writing assignments. Students receive 3 academic credits (1 graded, 2 credit/no credit).
Full-time externships may be local, national or international, and require 40 hours per week of work at the host organization. Students must design a course of study and work under the supervision of a faculty member to complete directed readings and academic writing assignments, including a substantial research paper on an approved topic relevant to the host organization's work, for a total of 12 credits (3 graded, 9 credit/no credit).
Classes with a Public Service Component
Public Interest Journals
Virginia Environmental Law Journal (VELJ) - VELJ is dedicated to providing a national forum for research and discussion in the areas of environmental and natural resource law. Published quarterly by Law School students, the journal includes articles by scholars, practitioners and environmental professionals, as well as student notes, on a broad array of topics from environmental justice to corporate liability.
Virginia Journal of Criminal Law - The Virginia Journal of Criminal Law, created in 2010, publishes scholarly articles on criminal law and procedure twice yearly. The journal also sponsors legal symposia and conferences.
Virginia Journal of International Law (VJIL) - As the oldest continuously published, student-edited law review in the United States devoted exclusively to the fields of public and private international law, the Virginia Journal of International Law is considered by many to be the finest and most authoritative journal of its kind. Positions on the journal's editorial board are open to all students in the Law School and in other schools of the University who successfully complete a written tryout that is conducted every spring and fall.
Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law - This journal is a student-edited law journal which publishes articles exploring the intersection of law and social policy issues. Recognizing the significance of the law and legal institutions on social conditions, the journal provides a forum in which to examine contending legal, judicial and political perspectives. Among the issues the journal addresses are: health care policy, welfare reform, criminal justice, voting rights, civil rights, family law, employment law, gender issues, education and critical race theory.
PI Career Support Center
The Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center was created in 1996 to recognize the special counseling needs of students interested in pursuing careers in the public sector. Since then, the center has served as Virginia Law's focal point for public service career counseling, programming and outreach efforts. Staff members offer individual and group counseling to students and alumni considering internship and permanent opportunities, invite speakers to introduce students to the various aspects of public service lawyering, coordinate with student organizations to facilitate programming and run the annual Public Service On-Grounds Interviews.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
The University of Virginia School of Law is committed to making public service a viable career option for graduates who work in the public interest anywhere in the world. As a public institution of the Commonwealth, the Law School is also committed to enabling graduates to practice in underserved parts of Virginia, including in private practice. Graduates who enter qualifying employment within two years of graduation or within two years of completing a judicial clerkship are eligible to receive loan repayment assistance from the Law School.
For the Classes of 2013 and later, the Law School's revised loan forgiveness program (VLFP II) helps repay the loans of graduates who earn less than $75,000 annually in public service positions. Participants in the program who earn less than $55,000 annually receive benefits covering 100 percent of their qualifying law school loans. Those earning between $55,000 and $75,000 receive benefits prorated based on income. For the Classes of 2012 and earlier, the Law School maintains its original loan forgiveness program (VLFP I).
Law School Funded:
Powell Fellowship in Legal Services: The Powell Fellowship in Legal Services honors former Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. It awards $40,000 to a J.D. graduate of the law school or to a judicial clerk to enable him or her to work in public interest law and to enhance the delivery of legal services to the poor under the sponsorship of a public interest organization. The award is made for one year with the expectation that it will be renewed for a second year. Fellows receive the $40,000, the benefits that an employee of his or her sponsoring organization would ordinarily receive, and a stipend to help pay for bar exam and bar review expenses. The project must involve the provision of civil legal services to the indigent.
Robert F. Kennedy '51 Public Service Fellowships: The Robert F. Kennedy '51 Public Service Fellowships enable recent J.D. graduates to work in public service positions while exploring career options and building a professional network. The fellowships are named after the late Senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, one of the most famous public servants to graduate from Virginia Law. Funded by alumni and friends of the Law School, the fellowships provide a salary to graduates working for a year in qualifying public service employment. For the Class of 2013, the salary is $31,500. Fellows also receive a stipend to help pay for bar exam and bar review expenses.
Fellows work in legal aid offices, prosecutors' and public defenders' offices, federal agencies, courts and nonprofit organizations across the country.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Equal Justice Works Fellowship
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Public Interest Law Association Student-Funded Fellowships: The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) is a UVA School of Law student organization that supports and promotes public interest law. Through its Student-Funded Fellowships (SFF) program, PILA awards fellowships to students who will work in volunteer or low-paying public interest positions during the summer. Fellowships are funded through student fundraising efforts, student, faculty, and community donors, the Law School Foundation, the Dean's Office, and the Law & Public Service Program.
Other Funding Sources:
DeWilde LGBT Summer Fellowship
Ford O'Connell Public Service Fellowship
Mortimer Caplin Public Service Summer Fellowships
Linda Fairstein Public Service Summer Fellowships
John W. Warner '53 Public Service Fellowship
Virginia Law Foundation Public Service Summer Internships
Patton Boggs Public Policy Summer Fellowship
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
Student Public Interest Groups
Action for Better Living (ABLE)
American Constitution Society
Conference on Public Service and the Law
Domestic Violence Project
Health Law Interest Group
Human Rights Study Project
J. B. Moore Society of International Law
Lambda Law Alliance
Legal Assistance Society (LAS)
Pro Bono Criminal Assistance Project (PCAP)
Public Interest Law Association (PILA)
Rape Crisis Advocacy Project (RCAP)
Virginia Employment and Labor Law Association
Virginia Environmental Law Forum
Virginia Law Veterans
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)
Women of Color
August 7, 2018