Directory

California Western School of Law

California Western School of Law
225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101
www.cwsl.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Cory Diane Schaller, Esq.
Career Advisor, Pro Bono & Public Service
Career & Professional Development Office
cschaller@cwsl.edu
619-525-7074



Category Type

Formal Voluntary Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator



Description of Programs

The Dean introduces the idea of pro bono service to all students in the welcoming ceremony. In November, the Office of Career Services talks with the students about the Pro Bono Program, and in February of each year hosts a Pro Bono Fair on the campus, at which only public interest organizations that provide legal services are represented. The students are encouraged to make a commitment of 50 hours of service over the course of two trimesters while in law school, making them eligible for induction into the Pro Bono Honors Society. Career Services also orchestrates a Pro Bono On Campus Interview Program each fall and spring.

The Pro Bono Coordinator meets with each student interested in working for public interest organizations through the Pro Bono Program. The Coordinator oversees the Pro Bono Program and tracks the students participating in that program.



Location of Programs

Career & Professional Development Office



Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Pro Bono Program Coordinator is also a full time Career Advisor in the Career and Professional Development Office (CPDO). The Assistant Dean of the CPDO provides additional oversight to the Pro Bono Program.



Funding

There is no separate funding for the Pro Bono Program.



Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Access to Law Initiative. Many California Western students plan to enter solo or small firm practice after graduation, and in 2012 California Western became the first law school on the west coast to launch an “incubator program” to help graduates who want to follow that career path. It is a key element in the path of many of our students toward attaining a satisfying career. The Access to Law Initiative (ALI) not only helps those graduates, but it brings affordable and pro bono assistance to people who lack access to legal services, as each ALI attorney commits to providing 100 pro bono hours of service per year. ALI includes lawyers who practice in a wide range of areas of law, so it serves a diverse group of our alumni and also can meet the needs of clients with a variety of kinds of legal issues.

The California Innocence Project.  This law school volunteer program was founded in 1999 and reviews more than 2,000 claims of innocence from California inmates every year. Students work alongside practicing criminal defense lawyers to seek the release of wrongfully convicted prisoners in California. The law students assist in the investigation of cases where there is strong evidence of innocence, write briefs in those cases, and advocate in all appropriate forums for the release of the project's clients. Training is provided by faculty.

Community Law Projects. The Community Law Projects provides legal advice to low-income and indigent members of the local community, while developing a commitment to public service in California Western students who work within the clinics. We offer legal clinics in the San Diego communities of City Heights, Downtown, and Lemon Grove. Law students work one-on-one with clients and volunteer attorneys in a variety of legal areas, according to their interests. This unique opportunity allows volunteer students to experience the benefits of helping those in need while learning essential lawyering skills from experienced practitioners.

New Media Rights. New Media Rights is a non-profit program that provides legal services, education, and advocacy for Internet users and creators. California Western students work closely with program staff and clients to analyze policies related to online content creation. Students can help create informational videos, prepare policy briefs, and contribute to the program’s work with the FCC and other agencies.

Proyecto Acceso. Proyecto ACCESO is a Rule of Law training and public education program. ACCESO trains Latin American leaders to promote the rule of law and educate the public in their basic legal rights, enabling lawyers, law enforcement officials, and the general public to understand the benefits of a transparent judicial system. Students can participate in summer abroad, internship, and other international opportunities to develop experience and connections in Latin America.



Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

There is presently no mandatory faculty pro bono requirement.



Awards/Recognition

The Pro Bono Program recognizes students who complete 50 hours (exclusive of training) of supervised pro bono legal service over two consecutive trimesters. Students may participate after they have completed their first year of school. Each spring students completing the requisite number of hours are inducted into the Pro Bono Honors Society at a celebration where the Dean, distinguished members of the bench and bar, faculty, and other public interest organization representatives are present. In addition, the law school officially recognizes these students with a notation on their academic transcripts, along with Pro Bono Honors Society Award Certificates from the Dean.



Community Service

Each year many of our student organizations sponsor food and clothing drives, voter education campaigns, and other philanthropic and service projects.



Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Cory Diane Schaller, Esq.
Career Advisor, Pro Bono & Public Service
Career & Professional Development Office
cschaller@cwsl.edu
619-525-7074



Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The California Western School of Law Public Service Program encourages students to provide 50 hours of service over two consecutive trimesters (exclusive of training) to various governmental agencies throughout the country. Students may participate after they have completed their first year of school. Each spring students completing the requisite number of hours are inducted into the Public Service Honors Society at a celebration where the Dean, distinguished members of the bench and bar, faculty, and other public interest organization representatives are present. In addition, the law school officially recognizes these students with a notation on their academic transcripts, along with Public Service Honors Society Award Certificates from the Dean.

California Western School of Law does not offer a public interest certificate or a specific public interest concentration, though there are many curricular offerings including Aging, Law & Public Policy; Child Abuse & Neglect: Interdisciplinary Overview; Children and the Law; Domestic Violence Law; Health Law Survey; Human Rights Law; Law of Armed Conflict and Peacekeeping; Gender, Property and the Law; Labor Law; First Amendment Law Seminar; Indian Law; Constitutional Law Survey: Sexual Orientation Law; Environmental Law; Mental Health Law; and Women and the Law.



Public Interest Centers





Public Interest Clinics

Immigration Clinic. California Western’s immigration clinic works with ACCESS Inc. and the Operation Samahan medical-legal clinic in National City to offer assistance to those seeking lawful immigration status, employment verification, and public assistance under provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. Students who participate in the clinic work closely with supervising attorneys to help clients resolve their immigration issues.

Mediation Clinic. Students participating in the Mediation Clinic receive intense mediation training and then mediate actual disputes in Small Claims Court and juvenile detention centers.

Trademark Law Clinic. The Trademark Clinic provides free legal services for individuals and small businesses wishing to obtain a federal trademark or service mark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Our students, working under the supervision of a California-licensed attorney, provide legal assistance to clients who can afford the administrative filing fees but do not have the means to hire an attorney to advise them.



Externships/Internships

California Western School of Law offers the opportunity for third year students to participate in part or full time internships for academic credit in any supervised and qualifying public interest placement anywhere in the world.



Classes with a Public Service Component

Advanced Mediation
Advanced Trial Practice
California Innocence Project I & II
Community Law Projects Seminar
Trademark Law Clinic




Public Interest Journals





PI Career Support Center

The Assistant Dean of Career Services and all career advisors at California Western School of Law work individually with students to meet their public interest goals throughout their three years of law school. The Pro Bono Coordinator meets with each student interested in working for public interest organizations through the Pro Bono Program. The Coordinator oversees the Pro Bono Program and tracks the students participating in that program. Each January the Office of Career Services and California Western law students participate in Southern California Public Interest Career Day held at U.C.L.A. Each February the Office of Career Services holds its Pro Bono Fair inviting representatives from over 30 organizations to staff tables at the Fair. Each March the Office of Career Services holds a Pro Bono On Campus Interviewing Program, from which many students obtain summer and fall public interest law clerk positions. California Western School of Law is a member of PSLawNet, Equal Justice Works, and The Peggy Browning Fund.



Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

California Western School of Law has a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). This competitive program offers the opportunity for some degree of loan repayment assistance to select graduates of the Juris Doctor program at California Western School of Law who work in specific public interest settings.

Specifically, to be eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance, a graduate must satisfy all of the following:

  • Graduation Year: Graduates are eligible for loan repayment assistance for the four years immediately following their graduation from the J.D. program.
  • Type of Employment: Graduates are eligible for loan repayment assistance if they are employed or to be employed:
    1. full time;
    2. in a law or law related position; and
    3. by a legal aid, legal services or other nonprofit advocacy or policy organization qualifying for tax exemption under section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Minimum Debt Requirement: Graduates with more than $50,000 in certified law school debt are eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance.

In making awards, the Committee will consider the applicants' financial needs, commitment to public interest, the number of applicants, the availability of present and future funds, the need for continuation of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program in the future, and any other relevant factors. The ideology of the organization by which the graduate is employed will not be considered in determining eligibility for assistance.



Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:





Graduate Student Funded:





Other Funding Sources:

The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)  sponsors an annual auction to raise money to fund Post Bar Grants for graduating students who have demonstrated a commitment to public interest work and have volunteered their time during law school with PILF.

Alec L. Cory Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.  The law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch funds a generous annual scholarship for the graduating student who best demonstrates the pro bono ethic.



Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:





Graduate Student Funded





Other Funding Sources:





Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:





Graduate Student Funded:

The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) sponsors an annual auction to raise money to fund grants for students to work in public interest law organizations during the summer.



Other Funding Sources:





Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs





Student Public Interest Groups

  • Amnesty International 
  • Child, Family & Elder Law Society
  • Children’s Advocacy Law Society 
  • Criminal Law Association
  • Employment and Labor Law Society
  • Environmental Law Society 
  • Health Law Society 
  • Immigration Law Student Association 
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Pride Law 
  • Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) 
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Bar Association
  • Women's Law Caucus
  • XONR8

5/12/2020