University of Pittsburgh School of Law

University of Pittsburgh
School of Law
Barco Law Building
3900 Forbes Avenue
Pitttsburgh, PA 15260

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Mary K. Thinium, Esq.
Director of Career Services & Public Interest Initiatives
P: (412) 648-1411

Category Type

Formal voluntary Pro Bono Program characterized by Referral System with a Coordinator

Description of Programs

The Director of Career Services and Public Interest Initiatives serves as the primary referral source for student pro bono opportunities. The Director has an established relationship with the Allegheny County Bar Association Pro Bono Coordinator and works with the ACBA to promote pro bono opportunities for law students. The Director also co-sponsors a Pro Bono and Volunteer Fair each year with the student organization PLISF (Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation). The Director published student pro bono opportunities in the weekly Professional Development Newsletter, Pitt Law Works. Additional pro bono and volunteer projects are promoted by the Dean of Students, Law School Faculty and student organizations in the Law School's E-Docket Newsletter.

Location of Programs

None listed


The Director of Career Services and Public Interest Initiatives oversees the majority of pro bono projects for students.

Lu-in Wang, Associate Dean ( E-mail) oversees the Law School's academic programs.


Student pro bono groups have access to Career Services Office and Student Affairs Office. Student organizations have used a combination of student organization funding and the law school funding to help defray travel expenses for pro bono projects.

Faculty are allowed to use School of Law resources, including school-compensated research assistants, in aid of external service activity.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation (PLISF) is the student public interest organization.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty and administrators serve as advisors to student pro bono groups.

The faculty pro bono policy is set forth in the faculty handbook: "To aid in the solution of urgent problems, the School of Law recognizes an obligation to make available to government, business, labor, public interest and civic organizations the special knowledge and intellectual competence of its faculty members. It also recognizes the potential value, both to faculty and to the School of Law, that . . . such . . . outside activity may offer a faculty member by acquainting the individual with the organizations in which his or her students may eventually be employed.


Each year the law school holds a Public Interest Recognition Reception for students participating in public interest and pro bono programs. A third year student is also awarded the Distinguished Public Interest Student award.

Community Service

The Pro Bono/Volunteer Fair also includes representatives from non-legal organizations. In addition, volunteer opportunities are emailed to students from both the Career Services Office and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Mary Thinium
Director of Career Services and Public Interest Initiatives

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Environmental Law, Science & Policy Certificate

Health Law Certificate

Joint Degree Programs with the School of Social Work, Graduate School of Public Health and Graduate School of Public & International Affairs

Public Interest Centers

None listed

Public Interest Clinics

Civil Practice Clinic (Focus on Health Law and Elder Law)

Community & Economic Development Clinic

Environmental Law Clinic

Family Law Clinic


Taxpayer Low Income Clinic


The school runs an externship program whereby students receive academic credit for working at non-profit organizations, government agencies and judicial chambers.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Bioethics & Law Clinical Practicum

Criminal Appellate Practicum

Criminal Prosecution Practicum

Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety Summer Institute

Health Law Practicum

Lawyering Process III – student work at Legal Services Provider

Legal Services Practicum

Worker's Compensation Practicum

Public Interest Journals

Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law

PI Career Support Center

Mary Thinium, Director of Career Services and Public Interest Initiatives E-mail

Educational programs are offered throughout the year to introduce students to careers in public interest law. Interested students also attend the Equal Justice Works Career Fair in Washington D.C. each year, along with other public interest oriented events.

In addition the Law School is a member of Equal Justice Works and subscribes to PSLawNet.

Annual Public Interest Recognition Reception and Distinguished Public Interest Student Award

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

A Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) will commence in 2007-2008

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Each year a graduating student receives the Distinguished Public Interest Scholar Award

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Equal Justice Works Fellowships along with fellowships offered by other organizations.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

The Law School offers up to four partial tuition scholarships ($10,000-$16,000) for incoming students pursuing public interest careers. These scholarships are renewable for all 3 years of law school. Additionally, the Law School's Center for International Legal Education (CILE) offers fellowships for students pursuing study, research or internships abroad.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

U.S. Schweitzer Fellowship Program – Pitt Law students have participated in the Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program, which is designed to support students in providing direct service that addresses the health needs of underserved individuals and communities. The Schweitzer Fellows receive an annual stipend of $2,000.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Law School's Center for International Legal Education (CILE) offers fellowships for students pursuing study, research or internships abroad.

Graduate Student Funded:

Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation raises funds each year to provide summer grants to students working in public interest organizations and government agencies.

Other Funding Sources:

Equal Justice Works

Peggy Browning

K&L Gates Public Interest Fellowship

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Annual Law School Pro Bono/Volunteer Fair along with various programs throughout the year that bring public interest practitioners to the law school.

Student Public Interest Groups

Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation (PLISF), Student Hurricane Network. Additionally, various student organizations host pro bono and public interest events throughout the year.

August 7, 2018