University of California Hastings College of the Law

University of California-Hastings
College of the Law
200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Nancy Stuart
Associate Dean for Experiential Learning
Clinical Professor of Law
UC Hastings College of the Law
200 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 565-4620
Fax: (415) 565-4836
Physical Address: 100 McAllister St., Suite 350


Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinators


Description of Programs

The delivery of pro bono services is viewed as an integral and intensely satisfying part of a legal education; providing pro bono services also enhances a law student's development of a professional identity. UC Hastings fosters and encourages pro bono participation by all members of our community in an effort to improve access to justice for all.

Students are asked to commit to deliver a minimum of 45 hours of pro bono services over the course of their three years at UC Hastings by signing the Pro Bono Pledge. The hours may be satisfied in a gradually increasing manner (10 hours in first year, 15 in 2nd and 20 in 3rd) or may be satisfied in a single year.

Detailed lists of possible pro bono placements are available and assistance is provided to students interested in locating a pro bono placement which matches their interests.


Location of Programs

The Externships and Pro Bono Programs Office is located at UC Hastings and is readily accessible to students.



The Associate Dean for Experiential Learning is directly responsible for the Pro Bono Program. The administrative needs of the program are supported by a part-time staff person. The Pro Bono Program was developed in collaboration with a Pro Bono Advisory Committee made up of current students from each class. The Advisory Committee reviews policies and procedures, promotes pro bono participation across the UC Hastings community and makes decisions on pro bono funding applications.



The Pro Bono Program is funded by UC Hastings. Student initiated pro bono projects receive technical support and may seek funding for specific efforts.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

UC Hastings students, faculty and staff are engaged in a wide variety of pro bono activities with legal services organizations locally, nationally and internationally. Student run pro bono opportunities include:

  • Center for Gender and Refugee Studies: CGRS's core mission is to protect the basic human rights of refugee women and girls by advancing gender-sensitive asylum laws, helping advocates successfully represent women in need of protection, and preventing these refugees from being forcibly returned to the countries from which they have fled. Students not enrolled in the clinic serve as translators and interpreters and may also do research.
  • General Assistance Advocacy Project (GAAP) :) - Students assist homeless clients to navigate the public benefits systems including general assistance, social security, unemployment, etc.
  • Hastings to Haiti: to help strengthen the rule of law in Haiti, students engage with Haitian law students as well as bringing supplies and materials on human rights issues.
  • Hastings Prisoner Outreach: - A student run program which provides support to incarcerated persons through correspondence, fundraising, education, and social and legal services.
  • Hastings Association of Youth Advocates: – a student run program which promotes better educational outcomes for youth in foster care in the city and county of San Francisco.
  • Homeless Legal Services Program: law students, supervised by a large local law firm, partner with medical students from UCSF to provide services to residents of a local homeless shelter one evening per week.
  • LARC @ Hastings - Legal Advice and Referral Clinic: This walk-in clinic is open to the general public with the purpose of assisting individuals with legal questions and concerns. Some clients have a particular legal question they need answered, while others have both legal and/or social service concerns.
  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): students provide tax filing assistance to Tenderloin residents one evening a week during tax season.

Specialized Law Education Projects which students are involved with include:

  • Diversity Day
  • Day at Law School
  • CA Constitutional Literacy Project


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

UC Hastings Faculty and staff engage in a wide variety of pro bono activities. Faculty pro bono activities are featured on the pro bono web pages.



Students meeting the 45 hour goal prior to graduation will be inducted into the Pro Bono Society and recognized in the graduation program. This achievement will also be noted on the student's transcript. Students who meet the aspirational goal set for practicing attorneys and provide 150 hours of pro bono services during their tenure at Hastings will be recognized at graduation and on their transcripts for Outstanding Achievement in Pro Bono.


Community Service

Community service work which is not law-related may be counted. However, the focus of the program is on encouraging students to use their legal knowledge and skills to increase access to justice. Thus, only 25% of the total pro bono hours for graduation recognition may be satisfied with community service work.


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Ascanio Piomelli
Professor of Law
Social Justice Lawyering Concentration Advisor
(415) 581-8925

Kate Bloch
Professor of Law
Criminal Concentration Advisor
(415) 565-4867

David Jung
Professor of Law and Director of the Center for State and Local Government Law
Government Law Concentration Advisor
(415) 565-4639


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The Social Justice Lawyering Concentration is designed to enable students interested in social-justice lawyering to prepare for public service careers (or pro bono work) by immersing themselves in the theory and practice of social-change lawyering. Reflecting the faculty's deep commitment to social justice, the concentration's rich array of more than 75 qualifying classes are taught by over thirty full-time UC Hastings faculty members and adjunct faculty drawn from many of the Bay Area's (and the U.S') preeminent public interest lawyers.

The minimum number of credit hours required to qualify for Social Justice Lawyering Concentration is 25. The qualifying courses are set forth in the Course Catalog on the UC Hastings website. In addition, with the permission of the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration Advisor and if consistent with the Academic Regulations, students may receive credit toward fulfillment of the concentration for relevant classes taken at another law school or as part of an approved joint degree program. Moreover, with the approval of the faculty advisor, students may receive credit toward fulfillment of the concentration requirement for relevant independent studies, law journal writing, and interscholastic competitions sponsored by the College.

The cornerstone of the concentration is its year-long seminar that enables students in their second year to prepare for a career in social-justice lawyering. The seminar deepens students' understanding of public interest practice and forges supportive ties with peers and faculty who affirm and share a passionate commitment to social-change lawyering.

In addition to the Social Justice Lawyering Concentration, students interested in public interest work may also choose to concentrate in Criminal or Government law. The Criminal Concentration speaks to many students planning to work in criminal prosecution or criminal defense. The Criminal Law and Theory Concentration Seminar introduces students to cutting edge issues facing today's criminal lawyers.

The Government Law Concentration prepares students interested in a career with governmental agencies to understand the unique role and ethical obligations of government lawyers as well as the processes and procedures unique to these areas of practice. Concentrators complete a significant clinical or supervised work experience (externship) representing a branch or agency of the federal, state or local government.


Public Interest Centers

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies:

Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution:

Center for WorkLife Law:

Institute for Criminal Justice

Institute for Innovation Law

Public Law Research Institute:

UCSF/UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy:


Public Interest Clinics

In our in-house clinics, students take primary responsibility for representing actual clients under the supervision of full-time UC Hastings faculty. In out-placement clinics, students work with attorneys in governmental agencies or non profit law offices. In our hybrid clinics, students take responsibility for working with actual clients under the supervision of lawyers who are experts in their field; the work is then discussed in a classroom setting with UC Hastings faculty. A signature goal of all clinical programs at UC Hastings is for students to develop their own identities and aspirations to become ethical, proficient professionals. In some clinics, students represent actual clients and in others they work on policy, legislative, or litigation matters on behalf of institutional clients. With low student:teacher ratios, each clinic is an intensive learning lab.



Externships give students opportunities to develop their legal skills under close supervision at approved governmental or public interest law offices. In addition to working in the placements, students co-enroll in a faculty taught course designed to enhance the placement experience. Faculty also monitor placements to ensure their quality as learning experiences. Students assume real-world responsibilities and develop professional contacts and relationships in contexts identical to those in which they may eventually practice.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Externship
  • Judicial Externship Program
  • Legal Externship Program


Classes with a Public Service Component

Administrative Law

All In-House and Out Placement Clinical Offerings

Community Law – CA Constitutional Literacy Instruction

Current Problems in Work Life Law

Current State and Local Government Problems Seminar

Immigration Statutory Class

Public Health and Homelessness: Intersections of Law and Health Care

Social Justice Lawyering Concentration Seminar


Public Interest Journals

Journals are listed at

Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy

Hastings Women's Law Journal


PI Career Support Center

Fairuz Abdullah
Associate Director for Public Interest and Clerkship Programs

Fairuz provides individualized career counseling. Job listings are available through the Office of Career and Professional Development and are tailored to student interest.

UC Hastings hosts the annual Public Interest Public Center Career Day,, one of the largest public interest law career fairs in the country. More than 100 employers representing local, state, and federal agencies, as well as public interest organizations doing class action work, direct legal services, legislative, and community work come to interview and meet with students.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The Public Interest Career Assistance Program (PICAP) is designed to aid and encourage Hastings graduates working in public interest legal organizations or government agencies by assisting with repayment of qualifying, outstanding educational loans. PICAP distributes money to assist in loan repayment to Hastings graduates working in low salary government or public interest jobs.

The College is pleased with its history of graduates who choose to use their skills and talent to serve in the public interest. Recognizing the disparity in salary between corporate employment and public interest the College is committed to supporting PICAP ensuring that its loan repayment assistance is significant and meaningful. This commitment is strengthened each year as the terms of the program and the annual budget are reviewed.

PICAP funding is finite. Awards are dependent on the number of eligible students applying and the established annual budget.


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Ralph Santiago Abascal Fellowship


Graduate Student Funded:

Hastings students have received state and national public interest fellowships including Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Fulbright, echoing green and others.


Other Funding Sources:

Hastings students and graduates have received state and national public interest fellowships including Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Fulbright, echoing green and others.

UC Hastings graduates have also received assistance to offset Bar expenses through the Rosenthal Bar Exam Scholarship supports the pipeline of young California lawyers entering the legal profession as public interest attorneys.


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Numerous Scholarships including:

Tony Patino Scholarship: created to support law students who have demonstrated leadership ability and whose outstanding academic and personal histories show good moral character, ethical conduct, good citizenship, motivation and initiative. One of the factors in evaluating character is past participation in public service activities.

Oshima Family Scholarship Fund to help support UC Hastings students committed to public interest careers.


Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

CA Bar Foundation Public Interest Scholarship


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Stephen Cone Fellowship: A monetary stipend for first-year students conducting summer research for a public interest organization.

Tobriner – Social Justice Fellowships: A monetary stipend for students working in social justice summer positions.


Graduate Student Funded:

Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation (HPILF) awards multiple summer grants-annually for summer work with a public interest organization.


Other Funding Sources:

UC Hastings students have received summer support from a number of sources including:

Equal Justice America Law Student Fellowship
Equal Justice Works Summer Corps
Peggy Browning Fund


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Lectures, talks and brown bags are arranged through a host of organizations and campus departments.


Student Public Interest Groups

Animal Law Society

Association of Youth Advocates

Clara Foltz Feminist Association

Family Law Society

General Assistance Advocacy Project

Hastings Chapter, National Lawyers Guild

Hastings Criminal Law Society

Hastings Environmental Law Society

Hastings-to-Haiti Partnership

Hastings Public Interest Law Foundation

Hastings Race and Poverty Law Organization

Homeless Legal Services

Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Law Students for a Sensible Drug Policy

Students for Immigrants' Rights

A full list of student organizations can be viewed at: