Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law

Northern Kentucky University
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
502 Nunn Drive
Highland Heights, KY 41099

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Jane Underwood
Coordinator Pro Bono Project
Northern Kentucky University
Salmon P. Chase College of Law
205 Nunn Hall
Highlands Heights, KY 41099

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

The NKU Chase Pro Bono Service Program requires students to complete a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono service prior to graduation. Pro bono work is broadly defined as law-related work performed in legal service organizations, government agencies, private law firms (pro bono cases), nonprofit organizations, and legislative offices. Students select from a variety of organizations designated as approved placement sites, or they design their own pro bono project. In addition, NKU Chase offers several pro bono projects based at the law school.

Pro bono service may include interviewing clients, researching issues for public interest lawyers, engaging in legislative or policy analysis, teaching at-risk youth about the law, providing income tax assistance to low-income clients, and participating in legal aid clinics.

More information about the Chase Pro Bono Service Program can be found at

Location of Programs

NH 205


Jane Underwood, Coordinator Pro Bono Service Program directs the Chase Pro Bono Service Program. The program was originally designed by Molly Tami.


The Pro Bono Service Program is funded through the law school's operating budget. The NKU Chase Street Law Program, a Chase pro bono project, received grant funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation for the program's inaugural year but is now funded by the law school.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

NKU Chase Street Law Program: This program was created in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Services Diversion Program and with the support of the Kentucky Bar Foundation. Chase students who participate in the program teach Street Law classes to juveniles who have been "diverted" of the court system and into a statewide program that promotes education and accountability. The Street Law program is offered in both the fall semester and the spring semester, with three Northern Kentucky counties participating.

Chase Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program: The Chase Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) trains Chase students and other volunteers to assist low-income individuals and families in completing their tax returns. Each year, a number of Chase students, alumni, and faculty assist members of the community in the preparation of their tax returns. Students are placed in VITA sites throughout Northern Kentucky and the greater Cincinnati area in coordination with United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Brighton Center and the Center for Great Neighborhoods.

Chase students also participate in Wills Clinics and Divorce Clinics through the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and the Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. Wills for Cops, supervised by Lawrence & Associates, is a day-long clinic in both Ohio and Kentucky providing wills for first responders.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Several faculty members engage in pro bono work or assist with pro bono cases, often involving students with their projects or cases.


Student recognition for pro bono work is given by a transcript designation. The student most active in pro bono volunteer work is recognized at the annual pro bono luncheon of the Northern Kentucky Volunteer Lawyers.

Community Service

Several Chase student organizations sponsor food and toy drives and participate in university-wide service projects during the school year.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Assistant Dean Heather Crabbe
Assistant Dean of Students
316 Nunn Hall
Highlands Heights, KY 41099

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers


Public Interest Clinics

Constitutional Litigation Clinic: Students represent prisoners and ex-offenders in civil rights and other cases in both federal and state court. Student work under the supervision of attorneys at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center.

Indigent Defense Clinic: Students represent indigent criminal defendants in Hamilton County, Ohio, under the supervision of attorneys at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center. Students participate in all facets of criminal representation.

Kentucky Innocence Project: Students assist the Department of Public Advocacy in seeking justice for innocent prisoners.


Students are placed in externships at various Legal Aid offices, the Children's Law Center, the Department of Public Advocacy, and the Federal Public Defenders. Judicial externships and other government externships are also available.

Classes with a Public Service Component


Public Interest Journals


PI Career Support Center

The Career Development Office offers students assistance and support through a variety of resources and programs related to public interest careers. The Career Development Office annually subscribes to PSLawNet. In addition, the law school is a member of Equal Justice Works. Chase students have received university funding to attend the annual Equal Justice Works Conference and Career Fair.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Chase Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program was established in 2006 by the law school with the generous support of the Honorable S. Arthur and Louise Spiegel, Chase students, faculty and friends. The Chase Public Interest Group raises funds to support the fellowship program through a silent auction and with other fundraising events

The goal of the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program is to provide Chase students with modest grants to work at unpaid public interest law positions. Students who are funded through the summer fellowship program typically receive a grant of $2,500. These grants assume a 350 hour minimum volunteer commitment to the public interest position.

Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

Summer Public Interest Fellowships ($3,500 for ten weeks) have in past years been funded by a grant from the Kentucky Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) Fund.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs


Student Public Interest Groups

The Chase Public Interest Group is a student organization whose mission is to educate future lawyers about the inequities that exist in our legal system, and to prepare them to dedicate their professional efforts to developing a more just society. This group's activities include hosting speakers from the public interest field, educating students about opportunities in public interest law, participating in public service activities, and raising funds for fellowships for Chase students who accept unpaid summer public interest work.