Pace University School of Law

Pace University
School of Law
78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

James Freeman
Associate Director, Public Sector and Environmental Law Placement

Category Type

Description of Programs

Location of Programs



Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

The Pace Law School Standards for Promotion and Tenure--which embody the expectations for faculty--clearly distinguish service to the public, including pro bono representation, from service to the University and the larger legal community and do not pretend that they are fungible: Also, we list individual faculty's pro bono activities on a separate Web page, in some small part as an incentive: Our Mission Statement also explicitly identifies service to those in need and the achievement of a more just society as a core dimension of our faculty's responsibility:


The annual PILSO Awards Dinner and Auction includes the acknowledgment of PILSO's student fundraising efforts, and the work to be performed by PILSO scholarship recipients during the summer.

The Dean's Awards for Pro Bono Service are presented at the Student Awards Ceremony in October to recognize our students who have, through outstanding volunteer efforts, made a significant contribution to others who are in need of legal services, education and advice, but who lack the resources to enjoy the equal access to justice. The Awards ensure that our students who are committed to public service and pro bono work receive the public recognition that they certainly deserve. The Law School expects that students recognize the importance of public service as an essential element in their professional careers.

The Vanessa Merton Pro Bono Award for Excellence in Service of the Public Interest may be given annually to a law student, alumnus/alumna, faculty, member organization, or staff member of the Pace Law School community who has demonstrated a significant commitment and contribution to the public interest.

Community Service

The Pace Law Enrichment and Development for Gorton Education (PLEDGE), a partnership between the Law School and Gorton High School in Yonkers, is a joint program of educational cooperation that assists students in the Law and Public Service Magnet Program at Gorton to achieve their potential.

Pace student volunteers provide Gorton students with tutoring, homework help, and advising on educational opportunities; each law student meets with five high school students once per week from October through June. Other law students teach one law class per month at Gorton. Gorton students selected for this program have access to the Pace Law Library, as well as to legal databases and introductory classes on computerized legal research. Law students help Gorton students prepare for the New York State Bar Association Mock Trial Competition. Pace also provided three scholarships in the amounts of $1,000, $500, and $250 to three graduates selected by Gorton High School, and invited them to attend a first-year law school class.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

James Freeman
Associate Director for Public Sector and Environmental Law Placement
(914) 422-4219
Center for Career Development

Tina Coco
Assistant Director of Career Development
(914) 422-4605
Center for Career Development

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers

The PACE ENERGY PROJECT – Founded in 1987 by Dean Emeritus Richard L. Ottinger, a former member of the US House of Representatives, the Energy Project plays a leading role in a national coalition of environmental and consumer advocates who are working to create win-win energy policy solutions for America's economy and environment. The Energy Project has helped create legal tools for promoting economic investments in energy efficiency and renewable resources, in order to abate acid rain, contain global warming, reduce urban smog and other environmental damage associated with the production and delivery of electric energy. The Project leads a broad based public interest coalition in New York, partners with the Mid-Atlantic Energy Project in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and assists local groups in Michigan and Florida in the pursuit of electric utility regulatory reform. The Project's study, Environmental Costs of Electricity (Oceana Publications, 1990) is the seminal work on valuation of environmental costs to society from electric utility operations and describes ways to incorporate environmental costs in utility resource acquisition. The Project is hosting a national photovoltaic educational project under a grant from the Department of Energy. The Project is also working with the St. Regis Tribe of the Mohawk Nation on a model program to extend the economic and environmental benefits of conservation and renewable resources to Native American communities.

The PACE INVESTOR RIGHTS PROJECT (PIRP) – Is dedicated to the protection of investor rights, specifically the rights of small investors, and the enforcement of broker-dealers' obligations to their customers. Through its three main arms -- Advocacy, Research and Community Education -- PIRP seeks broadly to inform and educate the investing public in New York State about their legal rights and responsibilities.

The PACE WOMEN'S JUSTICE CENTER – Students and their supervisory attorneys represent victims of family violence and abuse, including victims with special needs such as the elderly, women with low income, women who are developmentally disabled or mentally impaired, victims of incest and other sexual assault, and child victims. The Center not only represents hundreds of clients, but also creates and disseminates new techniques for legal intervention; trains dozens of law students and thousands of judges, attorneys, police officers, sexual assault examiners, and others who work to eradicate injustice for women and children; and publishes articles and materials about effective and compassionate representation. It also engages in extensive legislative research and advocacy and has been highly instrumental in the enactment and/or reform of a great deal of New York State legislation during the past decade.

The LAND USE LAW CENTER – Engages law students in understanding and explaining how best to develop and conserve the land. The Center draws on its staff of experts and law students to train local officials in New York State to take an enlightened and balanced approach to shaping land use policies and regulations. Pace Law students work as full-fledged legal associates with responsibility for research projects, publications, outreach, community services, project management and technology.

The EMPIRE JUSTICE CENTER – This branch of the Greater Upstate Law Project was created as an alternative source of free legal services for the poor in the Hudson Valley in 1996, when Congress placed limitations on all federally-funded legal services programs. The EJC is a locus of pro bono service for volunteer law students, a field placement center for our Public Interest/Legal Services Externship, and a collaborator and back-up center for the other programs of the John Jay Legal Services Clinic, where it is located, especially the Immigration Justice Clinic. It is also a lead member of the New York Immigration Coalition and the Westchester Hispanic Coalition. It conducts numerous community education "know your rights" programs for immigrants. Most important, its lawyers can and do provide the full range of legal remedies needed by poor litigants, and can and do serve all poor and disadvantaged people, including immigrants, prisoners, those who would benefit from class actions, and those for whom a winning litigation strategy depends on the ability to seek attorneys' fees as a negotiating tool.

The CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEGAL STUDIES – Allows J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. candidates to work directly with Pace law professors in advanced environmental law research and law reform. Since 1982, the Center has developed sustained programs in Energy Law and in International Environmental Law, as well as undertaking funded research programs in a number of areas. The Center, which is co-directed by Dean Richard L. Ottinger, Professor Nicholas A. Robinson and other environmental law professors at Pace, sponsors periodic colloquia and participates in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (see )

Public Interest Clinics

Barbara A. Salken Criminal Justice Clinic – Combines actual representation of clients in Bronx County Criminal Court and an intensive seminar in criminal defense practice.

Environmental Litigation Clinic – Intensively immerses students in an environmental law practice representing public interest groups, primarily the Riverkeeper, Inc.'s ongoing water quality and toxics cases before federal and state courts.

Equal Justice America Disability Rights Clinic – Under a student practice order, students represent clients in a variety of transactional matters, civil cases and administrative proceedings.

Immigration Justice Clinic – Handles immigration law problems, including Violence Against Women and Anti-Trafficking Act Claims, of indigent people living, working, or detained in Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Putnam, and Ulster Counties.

John J Legal Services – Umbrella organization for four clinics

Securities Arbitration Clinic – Represents clients who cannot afford private counsel in arbitration and mediation proceedings before the NASD Dispute Resolution Forum or the New York Stock Exchange in disputes with brokers.


The Washington, D.C. Environmental Externship Program places students during the summer at the EPA, Department of Energy, DOJ Environmental and Natural Resources Bureau, and the Department of the Interior.

The Environmental Externship places students with regional environmental offices, including the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; the Environmental Crimes Unit of the Westchester County District Attorney's office; the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2; the Environmental Protection Bureau of the NYS Attorney General's Office, and the NYC Law Department's Environmental Division.

The Prosecutorial Externship places students at District Attorneys' offices in Westchester, New York, Bronx, Rockland, Queens, Ulster, Sullivan and Kings Counties, the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York (White Plains and Manhattan offices), the Organized Crime Task Force, the Connecticut State's Attorney's Offices, and the Bergen and Passaic County Prosecutors' Offices in New Jersey.

The Family Law Externship places students in the Family Court in White Plains or Yonkers.

The Legal Services/Public Health Externship places students with local direct legal services providers, which have included the New York City Legal Aid Society, the Children's Advocacy Center at the Westchester Institute of Human Development, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Public Interest Journals

Pace Law Review Volume 24.2

21 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 1 & 2


PI Career Support Center

The Center provided public interest counseling and resources to students and alumni, and organized public interest career events for students.

Career fairs in which students attend include the following:

The Equal Justice Works Career Fair (;

The NYU Public Interest Legal Career Symposium and Career Fair (;

The Northeast Consortium Job Fair in Washington, D.C.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

For a description see:

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

While not a fellowship paid in cash by the Law School, a Pace graduate occupies the staff attorney position at the Hudson Valley Poverty Law Center, which is supported in kind by the Law School as a component of our John Jay Legal Services Clinic. This position was conceived of and deliberately created for a Pace graduate as a path for Pace graduates to become accomplished leaders in public interest practice and gradually open doors for other Pace Law graduates in public interest work.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

John Jay Legal Services Merit Scholarship - Awarded to a number of outstanding applicants who have demonstrated a commitment to community and public service and who are unusually well prepared to assume the responsibilities of actual law practice during law school.

The Louise and Lawrence Ottinger Scholarship - This scholarship is awarded to entering students who have demonstrated a commitment to public interest law and exhibit financial need.

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Law School provided approximately $3500 in contributions towards work-study salaries for students working in public interest positions that were not otherwise funded.

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

PILSO raised over $20,000 to support 11 students during their summer placements at offices including Bronx Family Court, the Conservation Law Foundation, Environmental Defense, IUCN, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

NAALS Annual Meeting – Pace hosted the National Association of Environmental Law Students' annual meeting. Pace students are very active in the governance and programming of NAELS.

International Criminal Moot Court Competition – The International Criminal Moot Court Competition was conceived of and planned during the 2004-5 year, with the first competition taking place in November 2005. It involves teams from U.S. and international law schools arguing a hypothetical case before the International Criminal Tribunal from the perspectives of the prosecutor, the defense counsel, and the victims' rights advocate.

National Environmental Moot Court Competition – The subject matter of the National Environmental Moot Court Competition is an issue of current public interest environmental law.

Student Public Interest Groups

American Constitution Society

Asian-American Law Students Association

Environmental Law Society

International Law Society

National Lawyers Guild


Women's Association of Law Students