University of California at Davis School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Public Service Program Coordinator
Formal Voluntary Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator(s). Also a limited community service graduation requirement for students in the Public Interest Law Program which is an academic certificate and pro bono program. Students,
Description of Programs
The King Hall Pro Bono Program, started in 1990, encourages students who have completed at least one semester of law school to contribute a minimum of 50 hours of law-related service in a year. This must be performed under the supervision of an attorney or a member of the Law School Faculty. The Career Services Office keeps listings of pro bono opportunities, handles inquiries and certifies hours to the Law School Registrar. Students wishing to participate in the program are encouraged to check with the Career Services Office regarding placements. Upon approval, students can initiate their own placements.
The Public Interest Clearinghouse Pro Bono Project is a collaborative effort of The Public Interest Clearinghouse, member law schools (UC Davis, Hastings College of Law, and the University of San Francisco), and various legal organizations. Students are able to choose work in a variety of practice areas. Student projects could include: certified court practice, client interviewing, legal research and writing, case investigation, legal hotline intake, trial preparation, or policy analysis. Students will be placed firms engaged in pro bono cases, with solo or small firm practitioners, or directly with legal service organizations. See www.pic.org
Location of Programs
Office of Career Services. See: https://law.ucdavis.edu/career-services/about/
The King Hall Pro Bono Program is overseen by Kimberly Thomas, Public Interest Coordinator, who is full-time. There is no set percentage of time spent on the Pro Bono Program. The Public Interest Clearinghouse Pro Bono Project is coordinated by the Public Interest Law Program Director.
The King Hall Pro Bono Program is funded through general law school funds.
The law school provides administrative support to pro bono group projects on an as-needed basis.
To the extent possible, the law school provides staff and other (such as typing, copying or mailing) support to faculty engaged in pro bono projects.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
VITA - an income tax return preparation assistance program.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
The Academic Personal Manual of the University of California encourages faculty, including law school faculty, to engage in public service. Pro bono is a part of the general public service obligations that faculty undertake. Pro bono service is taken into account in every merit increase. Advancements are based on service, as well as scholarship and teaching.
For graduates who successfully complete the Public Interest Law Program, a special graduation ceremony is held to honor them. At the ceremony, students receive a certificate acknowledging them as a Public Interest Law Scholar.
Each year the Law Student Association bestows the Martin Luther King Jr. Service Award upon a graduating student who exemplifies Dr. King's vision and commitment to public service. In the nomination and selection of this prestigious award, special emphasis is placed on service performed without either credit or monetary compensation. Those represented offer a combination of competent legal representation and a commitment to the underrepresented and disenfranchised.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Email: [email protected]
King Hall Pro Bono Program
The King Hall Pro Bono Program encourages students who have completed at least one semester of law school to contribute a minimum of 50 hours of law related service in a year. This work must be performed under the supervision of an attorney or a member of the Law School faculty. The Career Services Office keeps listings of pro bono opportunities, handles inquiries and certifies hours to the Law School Registrar. Students wishing to participate in the program are encouraged to check with the Career Services Office regarding placements. Upon approval, students can initiate their own placements. Upon submitting verification of 50 hours of legal or law related service, students receive a Certificate of Appreciation, signed by the Dean, and a notation on their transcript. Students are encouraged to renew their King Hall Pro Bono Program commitment each year, and may thereby earn further certificates and transcript notations.
Public Interest Law Program (PILP)
The Public Interest Law Program is administered, in cooperation with the School of Law, by the Public Interest Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization that provides support for legal services programs in California and Nevada. PILP offers students individualized academic and career counseling and the "Public Interest Advocate," a monthly newsletter that includes a calendar of events and job announcements. The Public Interest Law Program is an academic certificate and pro bono program. Students are required to fulfill 15 units of coursework, 150 hours of supervised legal work in public interest or qualifying government organization, and 50 hours of legal or non-legal volunteer service on behalf of community service or public interest organizations. A special graduation ceremony is held each year to honor the participants who successfully fulfill the program requirements. At the ceremony, students receive a certificate acknowledging them as a Public Interest Law Scholar.
Public Interest Centers
Public Interest Clinics
- Immigration Clinic
- Civil Rights Clinic
- Prison Law Clinic
- Family Law Clinic
Public Interest Law Externship
Students in the public interest clinical have a variety of experiences depending on where they work. Placements range from government agencies, such as the U.S. Attorney's Office, to nonprofit law firms to legal aid offices, like Legal Services of Northern California. Students are involved in direct legal services, community education, litigation, community economic development, mediation and lobbying.
Students work full- or part-time as a part of the staff in state and federal courtrooms. Students work at the California Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the California Court of Appeal, and state trial courts. Students' day-to-day assignments vary somewhat depending on the court, the judge, and the judge's calendar.
Federal and State Taxation Externship
Students work for the District Counsel's office of the Internal Revenue Service or Franchise Tax Board on substantive and procedural taxation issues. Students learn a great deal about tax court litigation, collection practice, and bankruptcy practice. Students are given a case file and work up the case from start to finish.
Criminal Justice Externship
King Hall students gain practical experience in criminal law by working in county, state and federal offices full- or part-time. Students working for county district attorney's and public defender's offices are placed in Sacramento, Yolo, San Francisco, Alameda, Santa Clara, Solano, and Stanislaus counties. Other students are placed with the Office of the State Public Defender or with the Special Assistant Attorney General. Students engage in factual investigation, interviewing, counseling, negotiating, motion practice and trials under State Bar rules.
Environmental Law Externship
Students in environmental law clinicals come face-to-face with the tough issues related to environmental problems like water rights, hazardous waste, jurisdictional questions, superfund cleanup, land use planning, flood control, water rights, and landfills.
Legislative Process Externship
Students may work as staffers to legislators or legislative committees, the Governor's legislative staff, or with one of Sacramento's many lobbying organizations. The Legislative Externship is part of the King Hall's Legislative Lawyering Program that includes courses in legislative process, legislative drafting, and legislative research.
Classes with a Public Service Component
Community Education Seminar
The purpose of this seminar is to train law students to educate the community about basic legal rights and responsibilities. Students attend an initial four hour seminar orientation, followed by weekly seminars that prepare students to teach in a local high school at least two times per week. Students prepare a paper or journal to be determined by the instructor. For more information, contact Professor Millard Murphy, at 530/752-6943 or [email protected].
Civil Rights Appeals Practicum
This course provides advanced instruction in appellate advocacy, including the drafting of briefs and oral argument in pro bono civil rights cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to two class hours, students are required to meet with the instructor for an hour each week. Successful completion of the course satisfies the advanced legal writing requirement. For more information, contact Professor Margaret Johns at 530/752-8022 or [email protected].
Public Interest Journals
Although the law school does not have a journal dedicated to public interest, all journals at UC Davis support public interest research and writing.
UC Davis Journal of International Law & Policy https://jilp.law.ucdavis.edu/
UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy https://law.ucdavis.edu/academics/experiential/journals.html
UC Davis Law Review https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/
Environs (Biannual environmental law and policy journal). https://environs.law.ucdavis.edu/
PI Career Support Center
For information, contact Kimberly Thomas, Public Interest Coordinator, Career Services at 530/754-5719.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
The School of Law administers a loan repayment assistance program for students pursuing public interest careers.
The King Hall Loan Repayment Assistance Program was established in 1990 to assist recent graduates entering public interest/public benefit legal employment with educational loan repayment. In the past, it was difficult for many graduates to seriously consider this worthwhile and rewarding employment option because of educational debt burden and the corresponding payments. The LRAP program has effectively removed the employment barrier by offering interest free loans to qualified graduates.
The LRAP loans are used to make monthly or quarterly educational loan payments. Upon the completion of two years of public interest/public benefit employment, the School begins to forgive the interest-free loans at the rate of 25 percent per year. At the end of five years of qualifying employment, the LRAP effectively becomes a grant program and all loans are forgiven.
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Stephanie J. Blank Memorial Scholarship
The scholarship is awarded annually to a student who demonstrates a strong commitment to public interest work and who is making satisfactory academic progress.
Maggie Schelen Public Service Scholarship
The Schelen Scholarship is awarded to one student annually who demonstrates strong commitment to public interest work and who is making satisfactory academic progress. The student receives approximately $500.
Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship
Each year two scholarships are awarded to entering first year students who exemplify the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts to achieve social and political justice for the disadvantaged.
John F. Cheadle Memorial Scholarship
The scholarship is awarded annually to one student who demonstrates a strong commitment to public interest work and who is making satisfactory academic progress.
Graduate Student Funded
Other Funding Sources:
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
King Hall Legal Foundation (KHLF) https://students.law.ucdavis.edu/khlf/
The number of fellowship recipients varies from year to year depending on funds available. Thirteen students received fellowships for the summer of 2001. Sources of funding include the KHLF Spring Auction, Day of Wages, and King Hall alumni donations.
Other Funding Sources:
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
- Public Interest Law Program;
- Public interest speakers through the Career Services Office and student organizations;
- King Hall Pro Bono Program; and
- Public Interest Clearinghouse Pro Bono Project.
Student Public Interest Groups
The King Hall Legal Foundation (KHLF)
KHLF is a student run nonprofit public interest foundation independent of the School of Law. Founded in 1978, KHLF is dedicated to promoting law and law related efforts in the public interest and to address the needs of those without adequate access to legal services. KHLF supports public interest law internships and provides financial and other assistance to students involved in public interest projects.
KHLF is financed by contributions from King Hall students, alumni, and community members. Student members are responsible for directing fundraising efforts, recruiting members, and coordinating summer projects. KHLF also hosts an annual Spring Auction to raise funds to award summer public interest fellowships to first and second year law students.
National Lawyers Guild
Davis Refugee Aid Project