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University of Georgia School of Law

University of Georgia
School of Law
Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Student Affairs Director Marc A. Galvin [email protected] or
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Paul M. Kurtz


Category Type

Independent Student Group Projects with no school-wide program.

Description of Programs

These programs are designed to assist the wider community, usually focusing on a particular group or service.

Location of Programs

Largely in the School of Law


Usually run by the student organization; however, most organizations have a faculty or senior administrative advisor.


Typically funded through student organization fees and fundraising efforts.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

  • VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) program - aids low- to moderate-income earners, the elderly, handicapped individuals and non-English speaking people with their state and federal income tax returns.
  • Annual Red Clay Conference - increases public awareness of environmental issues on regional, national and international levels through a series of educational presentations and open forum discussions.
  • Legal Educational Programs in Local Schools - exposes local school children to various aspects of the law and how it relates to their own lives.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Although not a requirement, many of the UGA School of Law faculty accept pro bono cases and serve actively in nonprofit legal service organizations.


The UGA School of law annually presents the Ellen R. Jordan Award at graduation to a student who demonstrates a strong commitment to and achievement in the practice of public interest law.

The School of Law's chapter of the Equal Justice Foundation presents annual awards to an outstanding public interest student and practicing attorney.

The school's Environmental Law Association presents an annual award for environmental advocacy.

Community Service

Students, faculty and staff serve as volunteers in a wide range of activities supported by the law school and its student organizations including: food, clothing, book, holiday gift and blood drives; income tax filing assistance through VITA (volunteer income tax assistance), law-related educational programs; mentoring initiatives; highway and shelter cleanups; and housing construction through Habitat for Humanity. A relatively new initiative undertaken by faculty, staff and students is participation in the Locks of Love program, where one can donate their hair for children who have lost their hair due to a medical condition.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Alexander Scherr, Civil Clinic and Public Interest Practicum, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-542-6510, [email protected]

Russell Gabriel, Legal Aid and Defender Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law,
Phone - 706-369-6440, [email protected]

Laurie Fowler, Environmental Law Practicum, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-542-3948, [email protected]

Jamie Baker Roskie, Land Use Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-583-0373, [email protected]

Alan Cook, Prosecutorial Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-542-6513, [email protected]

Curtis Nesset, Capital Assistance Project, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-542-5277, [email protected]

Susan Schaffer, Family Violence Clinic, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-369-6272, [email protected]

Beth Kirch, Legal Career Services, University of Georgia School of Law
Phone - 706-542-5156, [email protected]

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The UGA School of Law offers a cluster of courses for those interested in public service. Please visit the law school's website for the classes comprising the public interest law cluster./p>

The School of Law offers joint degrees and concurrent enrollment with other colleges/units on campus. Those relating to public service include a Master of Historic Preservation and a Master of Public Administration for joint degree programs, and sample concurrent enrollment fields are Social Work and International Affairs.

Public Interest Centers


Public Interest Clinics

  • Legal Aid and Defender Clinic - Students work with staff attorneys to provide legal assistance to clients who cannot afford private representation. The office, which serves as the public defender in two counties, provides students with hands-on experience in matters ranging from misdemeanors to felony cases, including murder trials.
  • Family Violence Clinic - Participants serve as lay advocates and student lawyers for the victims of family violence, both spouses and children. Students learn the art of civil litigation in a high intensity practice and engage in the thoughtful practice of law: interviewing, case and evidence preparation, counseling, negotiation and courtroom advocacy.
  • Environmental Law Practicum - Law students collaborate with ecology students to protect one of the nation's hot spots of biodiversity, the Upper Etowah River Basin. Students consult with area planners and developers to devise sustainable solutions to ecological concerns. They recently drafted legislation, signed into Georgia state law, to protect river corridors and farmland.
  • Land Use Clinic - This clinic is pioneering growth management in Georgia by drafting model legislation to protect greenspace, promote alternative transportation and preserve farmland. Participants work with specific clients to protect natural resources and address other pressing growth and developmental issues as well as draft legislative policies to promote quality growth.


  • Civil Externship Clinic- Students learn from practice with attorneys and judges in judicial, government and private nonprofit positions. Placements include judges' chambers, litigation offices, planning services, government agencies and private nonprofits. Many allow courtroom advocacy under student practice rules.
  • Prosecutorial Clinic - Participants serve as student attorneys in state and federal prosecutorial offices throughout northeast Georgia. Third-year students prepare and present cases to the grand jury and conduct preliminary, bond and probation revocation hearings. They also work with police investigators to present cases and draft felony indictments.
  • Capital Assistance Project - Initiated at the suggestion of the Supreme Court of Georgia, students work at agencies defending individuals charged with or convicted of capital crimes. Students conduct valuable research and writing projects under the guidance of attorneys in relation to these matters.

Classes with a Public Service Component

  • Public Interest Practicum - Designed to teach students to discover what peoples' needs are, to be able as lawyers to summon community resources for meeting those needs, and to determine what lawyers can do to ensure the community's services are in place and functioning. Students will be required to work with both service institutions and individuals who are the clients of those institutions. They will be assigned to cases and graded on their success in solving the problems raised.
  • Approaches to Lawyering - Exploration of different ways to think about the practice of law employing, among others, sometimes overlooked sources in the Western tradition that often take the form of stories (e.g., Moses and Njaal). Students will interpret texts and observe lawyers and judges. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their reading of the texts, their discernment of what lawyers actually do, and their exploration of potential interpretative and personal connections between the texts and lawyering.
  • Law, Public Policy and the Elderly - Exploration of aspects of federal and state elderly programs and problems; special risk populations; significance of older population growth; representation of elderly clients; guardianship; lifetime estate management; testamentary estate disposition; living wills and "right to die" debate; health and long-term care; housing, transportation and employment policies; and public assistance. Research paper required for all students. Additionally, those enrolled for 3 credit hours will spend approximately 50 hours during the semester in a supervised clinical setting.
  • Independent Project - Independent projects provide students with a flexible opportunity to independently explore legal issues or questions sometimes not found in any course or seminar and without following format of a formal research paper. Projects must involve significant legal, social, or empirical research or experience.
  • Supervised Research - Supervised Research involves an in-depth written analysis of a legal issue under close faculty tutoring and supervision. It requires significant legal research, original thinking and analysis, and must produce final paper of a kind and quality similar to that found in law review articles.

Public Interest Journals


PI Career Support Center

The UGA School of Law Office of Career Services actively supports those seeking opportunities in the public interest path through targeted interview programs, forums with public interest lawyers, knowledge of finance options for public interest careers, free access to PSLawNet (an international subscription database of public interest organizations and job announcements) and public service alumni mentoring program.

Specific programs include:

  • Public Interest Career Forum - Over 50 public employers host information tables and conduct job interviews.
  • Visiting Career Consultant - Alumni in various fields, including public interest, share their employment experiences with students.
  • Equal Justice Works Membership - The School of Law pays annual membership dues to Equal Justice Works so its students can partake in EJW events and initiatives to learn more about public service career opportunities.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The UGA School of Law is one of only a few public law schools offering loan repayment aid to alumni in public interest positions. The school provides annual awards to four or five recent graduates who have committed their careers to public service.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

Equal Justice Works has selected many UGA School of Law graduates to receive summer and post-graduate fellowships.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Public Interest Practicum provides two summer fellowships that allow students to provide services to the homeless, disabled and underrepresented.

Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

  • Equal Justice Foundation Fellowships, funded by the proceeds from an annual student-faculty auction, allow 6-10 students to accept summer public interest positions and receive payment for their efforts.
  • Equal Justice Works has selected many UGA School of Law students for summer and post-graduates fellowships.
  • Governor's Intern Program--the Georgia Governor's office selects first- and second-year law students to work in the public sector for a semester. Students earn money while participating in this program.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Students, faculty and staff serve as volunteers in a wide range of activities supported by the law school and its student organizations including: food, clothing, book, holiday gift and blood drives; law-related educational programs; mentoring initiatives; highway and shelter cleanups; and housing construction.

Specific programs include:

  • VITA (volunteer income tax assistance) program
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Visiting Career Consultant (alumni in various fields, including public interest, share with students their experiences)
  • Mentoring Program (alumni in various fields, including public interest, provide guidance to those considering a similar career path)

Student Public Interest Groups

  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Equal Justice Works
  • Environmental Law Association
  • Asian Law Student Association
  • Black Law Student Association
  • Federalist Society
  • Gay and Lesbian Legal Network
  • Hispanic Law Students Association
  • Jewish Law Student Association
  • Women Law Students Association
  • Student Bar Association