University of the Pacific
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono characterized by a referral system with coordinator(s)
Description of Programs
Pacific McGeorge places special emphasis on engaging students in pro bono activity in Sacramento and beyond. The Career Development Office works in conjunction to with the stand-alone, non-profit OneJustice to update Pacific McGeorge students on a variety ways to serve the community through pro bono opportunities.
Pacific McGeorge participates in the OneJustice Law Student Pro Bono Project. Students are able to engage in short and long-term assignments in a variety of practice areas and settings throughout Northern California. Projects can include: certified court practice, client intake and interviewing, legal research and writing, case investigation, legal hotline services, trial preparation, legislative advocacy, policy analysis, and community outreach.
Location of Programs
The Pacific McGeorge Career Development Office serves as the on-campus location, while OneJustice communicates with Pacific McGeorge from its office in San Francisco.
PIC staff, including Equal Justice Corps Volunteers, and a dedicated on-campus student liaison from Pacific McGeorge's student body.
Pacific McGeorge contributes a substantial amount to PIC's budget and the annual Public Interest/Public Service fair that is organized in cooperation with PIC. Pacific McGeorge expects to contribute more for the current and future terms.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
Pacific McGeorge Street Law International Education Project and Course: Under the administration and supervision of professor, Fred Galves, Pacific McGeorge Street Law allow students to enrich the local high school community by allowing Sacramento's youth to gain a deeper understanding of the legal issues and challenges they face. Law students learn various substantive aspects of U.S. and international law at a sufficiently sophisticated level so as to lead classroom discussion, write and grade exams, instruct students, and coach students in their mock trial, negotiations and other lawyer skills simulations, as well as coordinate and manage teaching partnerships with local judges and attorneys and high school personnel. By having the responsibility to teach these legal subjects to non-lawyers, law students come to deeply understand and even begin to master those legal subjects. As a result of substantive law study, repeated preparation, actual teaching, and the handling of their high school students' questions, law students increase their substantive legal knowledge and lawyering skills, strengthen their analytical abilities, develop new intellectual perspectives, serve as important mentors and role models, and enrich the depth of their law school experience.
Street Law International brings global legal issues to Sacramento youth. The curriculum reflects the increasingly internationally integrated nature of the legal practice in the 21st century.
Lambda Law Students Association Referral Clinic: Twice per month, Pacific McGeorge students partner with students from U.C. Davis to run the LGBT Legal Referral Clinic at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center. Students meet with clients and assist in connecting them with community services and LGBT-friendly practitioners in the greater Sacramento area. This gives students the opportunity to stay at the forefront of legal challenges that face gays and lesbians in Sacramento, develop client interviewing skills, and foster a sense of community through assistance.
Pacific McGeorge Education Pipeline Initiative: The Education Pipeline Initiative at Pacific McGeorge gives law students an opportunity to directly influence the lives of Sacramento area youth through mentoring and experiential learning experiences. Those involved in the Education Pipeline Initiative are paired with K-12 minority and low-income students from participating Sacramento area schools based on the student's interests. Each Wednesday, the mentees arrive by bus at the Pacific McGeorge Campus and meet their respective mentors for tutoring, games, food, and drinks.
Pacific McGeorge also arranges for the mentees to visit top legal practitioners in a variety of settings, including a trip to the California State Capitol. Both mentors and mentees are attend on-campus seminars, and mentors provided experiential learning opportunities in the form of Sacramento Youth Court, Peer Courts, and the Gordon D. Shaber Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions.
Pacific McGeorge Business and Tax Law Society Tax Assistance Clinic: Each spring, the Pacific McGeorge Business and Tax Law Society partners with the IRS VITA program to assist moderate to low-income individuals in the Sacramento community in filing taxes for free. Participants need only make $40,000 per year, or less, and meet a few other requirements. Students provide the community with invaluable assistance with what can often be a stressful and confusing process.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
The Pacific McGeorge Faculty and Administration are engaged in an array of pro bono projects each year.
Pacific McGeorge Capital Center for Public Law & Policy recognizes students who work on behalf of others in legal or community service as they earn their law degrees. Students receive the Capital Commendation for Public Service at the:
- Star (50 hour),
- Superstar (100 hour), or
- Extraordinary Commitment (150 hour) levels
Capital Commendation students receive a certificate acknowledging their achievement, special notation in the graduation program, and a special reception celebrating their accomplishments
In many ways, our local efforts make the greatest difference to our neighbors – serving on community action committees, helping with park clean-ups, helping children with their reading skills, supporting local community efforts and more. To ensure the community receives the greatest possible benefit of our volunteer and other resources, Pacific McGeorge's Community Relations Committee (CRC) reviews, selects and engages support opportunities as they are received, providing that the opportunities:
- Result in the highest possible percentage of investment going directly into the provision of services;
- Provide 'closest to home' benefit that serves our local ( Oak Park) community first ;
- Relate to our educational mission and/or serve other Law School priorities.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Professor Leslie Gielow Jacobs
Director, Capital Center for Public Law & Policy
University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
Capital Center for Public Law & Policy
3200 Fifth Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95817
The Capital Certificate in Public Law and Policy: The Capital Certificate program gives students the opportunity to work with judges, legislators, and public interest lawyers in California's capital. Through the program, aspiring lawyers gain both the insight and the practical skills needed to ensure that the political process fairly represents the needs of all Californians. At the same time, the skills students develop prepare them to thoughtfully approach issues of good governance from in a variety of elements, from California city councils to international organizations and foreign governments. Faculty and students working within the Center's Institutes and with its Initiatives produce relevant scholarship and analysis to enhance government functioning and the administration of justice, and provide needed legal and public service to government and community, from local schools to other nations and global governance entities. For more information, see: https://law.pacific.edu/law/capital-center
Public Interest Centers
The Capital Center for Government Law and Policy
The Capital Center thrives because of dedicated faculty, a commitment to the public good, and a special relationship with the Capital of California. The close connection with California's government allows students to enhance classroom study with hands-on experience in the nation's largest state. The Capital Center also produces the annual California Initiative Review and McGeorge Law Review "Greensheets" volume. These publications give invaluable examinations of the legislation that affects all Californians and allows students insight into legal development. The reform efforts undertaken by the Capital Center include the multidisciplinary Ethics Across the Profession Initiative, the proactive Institute on Laws of Health and Aging, the Institute for Administrative Justice, and the peer-edited Journal of National Security Law and Policy. The Capital Center also works collaboratively with other departments and programs to foster comprehensive skills that allow Pacific McGeorge students to make a positive difference both locally and globally. Additionally, the Center contributes to Pacific McGeorge's USAID-funded, "Rule of Law in China" program, which aims to train Chinese law professors in advocacy skills, the importance of an independent judiciary, legal education reform, and legislation that is beneficial to both the Chinese people and the Chinese economy.
Public Interest Clinics
Pacific McGeorge offers a variety of opportunities for students to work with real clients in real situations through its clinical programs. Clinical programs afford students the chance to learn while helping those without ready access to representation.
Faculty Supervised Clinics:
Administrative Adjudication Clinic
The Administrative Adjudication Clinic is designed to train students to be administrative judges using a variety of instructional approaches including classroom instruction, observations, simulations and research assignments. The Clinic works in partnership with the Capital Center for Government Law and Policy to give students the chance to act as administrative judges. Once students are trained, they will be assigned to hear and decide a number of administrative disputes for local cities and other public agencies who have contracted with McGeorge's Institute for Administrative Justice (IAJ) for hearing services. Students gain invaluable insight into mediating inter-governmental disputes and making sure the interests of citizens is protected.
The Bankruptcy Clinic provides a practical skills experience in insolvency issues and proceedings. Enrolled students interview and counsel clients, and assist clients in all aspects of case assessment, negotiation and settlement, and representation of debtors and creditors in bankruptcy proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. Through the Clinic, students are certified by the court, and provide essential services to Californians facing the threat of bankruptcy, while maintaining the dignity of their clients.
Elder Law Clinic
The Elder Law Clinic is designed to help students integrate substantive legal knowledge and practice skills in the growing field of law and aging. Students will provide legal advice and undertake representation of individuals 65 and older. Priority cases include nursing home residents' rights, conservatorships and alternatives, family law, social security, Medicare, SSI, health care access, housing, elder abuse, creditor/debtor disputes, powers of attorney, advance health care directives, and wills and trusts. Aging can mean vulnerability, and Pacific McGeorge seeks to provide much needed assistance and fair representation for persons of advanced age.
Federal Defender Clinic
Perhaps one of the most integral aspects of public service law is the representation of the accused. The Federal Defender Clinic provides students with the opportunities to represent indigent defendants in federal court, draft legal memoranda, argue motions and develop a working knowledge of criminal and sentencing statutes. Enrolled students will attend monthly Petty Offense Calendar before Magistrate Judges where they will be assigned cases, then hone their skills in client counseling, plea negotiation, case analysis, oral advocacy, litigation and trial techniques.
Immigration Law Clinic
While the issue of immigration can be a hot-button topic, the need for informed and compassionate representation is as high as ever. The Immigration Law Clinic provides a practical skills experience in identifying legal issues, providing legal advise and providing assistance in completing all legal correspondence between the client and the Department of Homeland Security. Enrolled students interview and counsel clients, prepare all legal documents needed to secure various immigration benefits such as naturalization, waivers of inadmissibility, lawful permanent residency, immigrant visas, and specialized visas such as U visas and T visas. Students work in a rewarding environment, assisting those in search of the American dream.
Parole Representation Clinic
Pacific McGeorge students have a hands-on opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals seeking to reenter society as productive members. Students represent California parolees in revocation hearings and have the opportunity to represent adult and juvenile parolees in administrative hearings. The Clinic allows students to handle cases from initial assignment through resolution at the hearing, including interviewing clients, developing case strategy and advocating for your clients at their parole hearings.
Victims of Crime Representation Clinic
Crime victims are faced with a multitude of challenges, none of which should be the lack of zealous and effective representation. Pacific McGeorge's Victims of Crime Representation Clinic and Seminar educates students about the role of the crime victim in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The course focuses on the constitutional and statutory rights of crime victims and the difficulties inherent in exercising those rights.
Other Clinical Opportunities:
Legal Services of Northern California Landlord-Tenant Clinic
The Landlord-Tenant Clinic at Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) is a volunteer opportunity designed to introduce students to public interest law. Each student gets extensive training on landlord-tenant laws and intake interview techniques. The clinic is a unique opportunity for students to be exposed to many different housing issues that affect the low-income community in Sacramento County. Volunteers will gain experience interviewing clients, assessing the merits of cases, and preparing pleadings.
Rural Education and Access to Law (REAL)
The REAL program is not a traditional clinic; students travel to rural areas of California to meet their clients in the field. Pacific McGeorge students have the opportunity twice per year to volunteer to travel on the PIC "Justice Bus" to underserved communities in rural northern California.
Pacific McGeorge has a large and extensive field placement/externship program. In keeping with the school's commitment to public service and taking full advantage of its location in California's capital, the field placement/externship program fosters close relationships with numerous government agencies, judges, and non-profit organizations. The program provides invaluable experience for students to receive academic credit while learning public interest and public service in a hands-on environment.
Students can qualify for up to six credits for government and non-profit externships, either during the semester or during the summer. Judicial clerkships generally require students to full-time during the semester, while they receive twelve units of academic credit.
In addition to the wide range of field placements offered by Pacific McGeorge, the school offers an intensive Tax Appeals Assistance Program with the State Board of Equalization. Externs work with the Tax Payers' Rights Advocate to represent the interests of Californians in the tax appeal process. Students appear before the Franchise Tax board on behalf of clients, advise tax payers on legal challenges, and participate in weekly strategy meetings with a team of attorneys.
Pacific McGeorge also allows students to arrange custom externship programs with the approval of faculty and administration. This custom option allows students to receive credit for positions as varied as the U.S Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., working towards U.N. Millennium Development goals in Ghana, or clerking in the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Classes with a Public Service Component
Many courses at Pacific McGeorge incorporate elements of public service and the application of theory to community assistance. With its emphasis on internationalizing the curriculum, Pacific McGeorge introduces students to the law's proactive roll in addressing pressing international issues.
Public Interest Journals
Journal of National Security Law & Policy
The Journal of National Security Law & Policy is devoted exclusively to national security law and policy. Issues feature current articles by creative thinkers from a range of disciplines other than law such as military, intelligence, law enforcement, public health, and civil liberties communities. The Journal's mission is to publish rigorous analysis of the our nation's greatest challenges and contribute to the formulation of fair, credible solutions that balance our need for liberty and security.
Unlike most law journals, the Journal is peer-reviewed and faculty edited. The Journal involves the national security law and policy experts on its distinguished Editorial Team.
PI Career Support Center
The Career Development Office works in conjunction with the Field Placement Office and faculty to make sure student needs regarding careers in public service and public interest law are addressed.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
In addition to educating students about the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Pacific McGeorge operates its own LRAP program for students entering public interest and public service law. Since 1995, Pacific McGeorge has offered a loan repayment assistance program for those students pursuing public legal service. This program acts as a form of post-graduate aid, providing grants from the law school to help graduates reduce their monthly loan obligation, thus enabling them to accept public interest jobs. Graduates who maintain a long-term career in the public interest field can potentially receive this assistance until all of their loans are repaid.
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Through the Pacific McGeorge Public Legal Services Society, Pacific McGeorge offers income supplementation to graduates who enter public service and public interest law.
Other Funding Sources:
The Equal Justice Fellowship: The Fellowship creates partnership among public interest lawyers, nonprofit organizations, law firm/corporate sponsors and other donors in order to afford underrepresented populations effective access to the justice system. The two-year Fellowships offer salary and generous loan repayment assistance, and other forms of support during the term of the Fellowship.
In addition, many Pacific McGeorge graduates typically receive fellowships and awards from local, national, and international sources.
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Pacific McGeorge offers a substantial number of scholarships in conjunction with the generosity of alumni and donors.
Additionally, The Pacific McGeorge Public Legal Services Society and Equal Justice Works offers three students grants to travel to Washington, D.C. in the fall in order to participate in the Equal Justice Works public service conference.
Graduate Student Funded
Other Funding Sources:
A number of outside funding sources are available each semester to Pacific McGeorge students. Civic, trade, cultural, religious, community groups make opportunities known through Pacific McGeorge's Financial Aid Office.
Law School Funded:
Health and Aging Law Summer Fellowship
Each summer the McGeorge Health Law Society, in partnership with the AARP, provides approximately $5,000 to a student who obtains a position focusing on the legal issues related to health and aging. Issues of focus have included addressing elder abuse, reform of Medicare, both in California and nationally, and veterans' issues.
The Public Legal Services Society Summer Fellowship
The PLSS raises funds each year at its popular charity auction in order to assist students who have obtained public interest and public service summer positions. The grant typically ranges from $1,500-3,000 for the summer, and allows students to work in organizations that serve the public good but cannot afford to pay students.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
The Robert T. Matsui Foundation Fellowship
The Robert T. Matsui Foundation's purpose is to promote, support, and encourage early career opportunities in public service for law students. The Foundation, in collaboration with Pacific McGeorge, seeks to serve this goal with respect to both prospective Fellowship winners and others in the law school community whom the program would touch. The Foundation seeks to impact a generation of leaders now and in the future. To that end, Fellows' financial awards ranging from $500-$2,500 are only one aspect of a collaborative project between the Foundation and Pacific McGeorge.
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
Student Public Interest Groups
Pacific McGeorge boasts an involved and committed student body, represented many of the student groups on campus:
American Constitution Society
American Association for Justice
Asian/Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA)
Black Law Student Association (BLSA)
Environmental Law Society
Governmental Affairs Student Association (GASA)
International Justice Mission
J. Reuben Clark Law Society
Jewish Law Student Association
Lambda Law Students Association
Latina/o Law Students Association
McGeorge Animal Law Society
McGeorge Business and Tax Society
McGeorge Federalist Society
McGeorge Health Law Association
Middle Eastern/South Asian Association (MESAA)
OWLS: Older Wiser Law Students
Phi Alpha Delta
Phi Delta Phi
Public Legal Services Society