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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

Allison Wang
Director, Pro Bono Program
UC Hastings College of Law
200 McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 581-8932
[email protected]  

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 Pro Bono Program is housed in the clinical/experiential program.



The Director of Pro Bono Programs and Pro Bono Coordinator are directly responsible for the Pro Bono Program. The administrative needs of the program are supported by a part-time (approx. 25% for pro bono) Program Assistant staff member.



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.
  • 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.


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

UC Hastings Faculty and staff engage in a wide variety of pro bono activities.



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 as working with and for those in our Tenderloin Community is an important value for Hastings. 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
[email protected]
(415) 581-8925

Gail Silverstein
Clinical Professor of Law
Assoc. Dean of Experiential Learning
[email protected]


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 100 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 17. 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 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.


Public Interest Centers

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

Center for Innovation:

Center for Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Center for Racial and Economic Justice:

Center for WorkLife Law

Institute for Criminal Justice:

Public Law Research Institute

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


Public Interest Clinics

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 Business Tax Practicum for Social Enterprises

  • Community Economic Development Clinic
  • Community Group Advocacy and Social Change Lawyering Clinic
  • Criminal Practice Clinic
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Immigrants' Rights Clinic
  • Individual Representation Clinic
  • Legislation Clinic
  • Local Government Clinic
  • Low-Income Taxpayers Clinic
  • Mediation Clinic
  • Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic
  • Practicum at Legal Services for Children
  • Refugee and Human Rights Clinic
  • Social Enterprise and Economic Empowerment Clinic
  • Startup Legal Garage
  • Workers' Rights Clinic



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 [ADR] Externship
  • Corporate Counsel Externship Program
  • Judicial Externship Program
  • Legal Externship Program
  • UCDC Law Program


Classes with a Public Service Component

This list of classes is numerous, but changes each year. It would always include in-house clinics and externship courses.


Public Interest Journals

Journals are listed at

Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly
Hastings Journal of Crime and Punishment
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal
Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law and Policy
Hastings Women's Law Journal 

PI Career Support Center

Thomas Lee
Associate Director for Public Interest and Public Service
[email protected]

Thomas focuses on supporting students interested in public interest, public service, and other nonprofit careers. 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

Bridge Fellowships – temporary and year-long fellowships available for recent graduates working in public interest placements. 


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 California Change Lawyers as well as various bar associations support the pipeline of young California lawyers entering the legal profession as public interest attorneys.

Nancy Stuart Public Interest Awards– financial awards to support bar study that recognize several students each year for their exemplary commitment to closing the access to justice gap for marginalized communities, exceptional contributions to the public interest community at UC Hastings, and their professors’ confidence that they will be courageous and effective advocates for social justice.


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:

California Change Lawyers Public Interest Scholarship (formerly California Bar Foundation)


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

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


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:

Equal Justice America Law Student Fellowship
Equal Justice Works Summer Corps
Peggy Browning FundRenne Public Law Fellowship  

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

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


Student Public Interest Groups

California ChangeLawyers Public Interest Scholarship (formerly California Bar Foundation)