University of Toledo College of Law

University of Toledo
College of Law
2801 West Bancroft
MS 507
Toledo, OH 43606

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Kelly J. Tomlinson
Assistant Director of Law Career Services and Public Service Coordinator
P: (419) 530-4996

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator

Description of Programs

A student may earn a Public Service Commendation for each semester in which he or she performs thirty (30) or more documented hours of unpaid law related public service work as approved by the College of Law Public Service Coordinator.

The Commendation can be listed on resumes and will be posted on the law school web site much like the Dean's List. Students may earn both a fall and spring Commendation, with work performed over the summer being credited toward earning the Commendation in the fall semester.

The College of Law will help students find volunteer opportunities with public service agencies and other non-profit organizations engaged in pro bono work. We have a strong partnership with The Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Legal Aid of Western Ohio (LAWO), and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality (ABLE). In addition, students are welcome to secure a placement with other agencies or organizations across the country so long as the student will be directly supervised by a licensed attorney. The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) also works with the College of Law to help coordinate group volunteer activities for students during the academic year.

Location of Programs

Office of Professional Development


The Public Service Coordinator for the program is Kelly Tomlinson, J.D. of the Office of Professional Development. Working with community stakeholders and PILA officers, she coordinates placements and arranges for supervising attorneys to certify qualifying hours for participating students. Please contact her at E-mail or P: (419) 530-4996 for further information and to get involved in the program.


Law School Budget

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Public Interest Law Association (PILA): The Public Interest Law Association (PILA) was founded by law students interested in public law careers and experiences. Founding members shared a commitment to serve judicial, legal aid, and public service organizations while in law school and beyond. Members believe that an important part of legal training involves practical experience with judges, lawyers, and clients. Through its activities and programs, PILA supports a lifelong dedication to pro bono and community service contributions. PILA has assisted with organizing group pro bono activities and helping students stay up to date on other volunteer opportunities.

PILA aspires to foster a greater understanding of the role of law in society and openness to non-profit, governmental, and community service careers among law students. PILA accordingly advocates for these goals within the College of Law and provides an important bridge to the Toledo public interest law community.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Varied by area of interest and expertise.


Students participating in the Public Service Commendation Program may be selected for the annual Outstanding Public Service Volunteer award.

Community Service

The College of Law encourages students to participate in a variety of community service and public interest activities. Students have opportunities to volunteer in warm clothing and canned food drives, the Student Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, Pro Se Clinics through area bar associations, and mentoring programs. In addition, students receive academic credit for participation in programs that provide free legal services through the Legal Clinic, the Dispute Resolution Clinic, the Criminal Law Practice Program, the Public Service Externship Program, and the Domestic Violence & Juvenile Law Clinic. Further, students assist faculty who perform public service through their individual volunteer service to the community and the legal profession.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Maara Fink
Clinical Professor/Externship Director
P: (419) 530-4260

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The University of Toledo College of Law offers certificate programs in criminal law, environmental law, health law, intellectual property law, international law, and labor & employment law.

See for full details.

Public Interest Centers

The Legal Institute of the Great Lakes - The Legal Institute of the Great Lakes (LIGL) is a multi-disciplinary research center within The University of Toledo College of Law. Founded in 1993, the LIGL supports research, maintains publications, and sponsors conferences on legal, economic, and social issues of importance to the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada.

Important topics of LIGL research and conferences have included harmful algae blooms, water quality, environmental audits, storage of spent nuclear fuel, market-based incentives to control air pollution, sustainable development, a comparative study of corporate laws of the Great Lakes states, regional trade agreements, competition in the electric utility industry, environmental justice, fisheries management, brownfield development, the public trust doctrine, international sales and distribution of products, protecting technology, contaminated sediments, alternative energy sources, beach access, climate change, wetlands, invasive species, and international and interstate agreements regarding management of Great Lakes water resources.

The LIGL sponsors annual Great Lakes Water Conferences each fall on water issues of importance to the Great Lakes region and the nation.

Public Interest Clinics

The College of Law Legal Clinic

The Clinic is a one semester, 4 credit hour course in which student interns provide direct legal representation, under the supervision of clinical faculty, to clients within the community who cannot afford to hire private legal counsel. The Legal Clinic combines a structured classroom curriculum with individualized instruction and collaborative learning opportunities to prepare interns to competently represent clients, grapple with complex ethical issues, critically examine the law and legal profession, and advance the social justice mission of the law school. Current practice opportunities in the legal clinic include civil rights, housing, immigration and asylum, family law, social security disability, real estate, contracts, tort defense, elder law, nonprofit community work, and sexual orientation law.

The Dispute Resolution Clinic

The Dispute Resolution Clinic is a one semester, two or four credit hour course open to upper-division law students. The Dispute Resolution Clinic offers students a unique blend of both an in-house clinic and an external placement. Students serve as volunteer mediators in a variety of settings including the Lucas County Juvenile Justice Center and Toledo Municipal Court. Students mediate cases involving unruly and delinquent youth and small claims matters such as consumer complaints, landlord and tenant disputes, automobile accidents, and minor criminal matters. In addition, students in the Clinic now offer mediation services "in-house" to The University of Toledo community. In preparation for their fieldwork, students are required to complete a two-day, 16 hour basic mediation course approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio, prior to the start of the semester.

The Domestic Violence & Juvenile Law Clinic

Students in the Domestic Violence & Juvenile Law Clinic represent clients, under the supervision of clinical faculty, in cases involving child custody, protection orders, adoptions, and child abuse and neglect. The clinic seeks to represent survivors of domestic violence in any case it accepts.

Criminal Law Practice Program

The Criminal Law Practice Program is a one semester course in which students work on criminal cases in local prosecutor offices. The course builds prosecutorial skills and values by exposing students to actual practice in a prosecutor office.


The Public Service Externship Clinic is a one-semester course in which students have the opportunity to be placed as externs in a variety of public service organizations and agencies throughout Northwest Ohio and beyond. The program has several purposes: to enhance students' ability to learn from their experiences; to train students in lawyering skills; to give students greater insight into the workings of the legal system; and to foster in students a sense of professional responsibility.

Under the guidance of a supervising attorney or judge, student externs perform a variety of challenging tasks. Feedback from supervisors concerning these tasks creates the ideal environment for developing self-directed learning skills. Externship faculty members regularly meet or correspond with externs, reviewing their work and what they are learning.

Classes with a Public Service Component

The College's social justice mission is most evident in the clinical curriculum. Law students are trained in public interest law in the Public Service Externship Program, the College of Law Legal Clinic, the Domestic Violence & Juvenile Law Clinic, the Criminal Law Practice Program, and the Dispute Resolution Clinic.

Public Interest Journals

None listed

PI Career Support Center

The College of Law provides individual public interest career counseling and fellowship support through its Office of Professional Development. The College of Law is also a member of Equal Justice Works and participates in multiple public interest career fairs, including the Midwest Public Interest Career Conference and the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference. The law school also hosts an annual public interest law forum and panel discussions with public interest law practitioners. For more information, contact Kelly Tomlinson, Assistant Director of Career Services and Public Service Coordinator at 419-530-4996 or E-mail.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None listed

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Graduates of The University of Toledo College of Law have been successful in earning fellowships from both Equal Justice Works and AmeriCorps, among others.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

The Joel A. and Shirley A. Levine Fellowship in Alternative Dispute Resolution provides students with an opportunity to explore the world of Alternative Dispute Resolution through a direct placement in the field.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The College of Law, in cooperation with the Public Interest Law Association, awards several public interest fellowships to help support students who work for public interest entities during the summer. These fellowships enable students to provide legal assistance to underrepresented people throughout the country by providing a stipend for students to help with their expenses.

Graduate Student Funded:

The Public Interest Law Association, in cooperation with the College of Law, helps fund several public interest fellowships to help support students who work for public interest entities during the summer.

Other Funding Sources:

Bruce Comly French Public Interest Law Fellowship

Cooper & Kowalski Public Interest Law Fellowship

The Joel A. and Shirley A. Levine Public Interest Fellowship in Alternative Dispute Resolution provides students with an opportunity to explore the world of Alternative Dispute Resolution through a direct placement in the field.

The Levison Alternative Dispute Resolution Award was established to provide students with the opportunity to gain valuable experience in the field of alternative dispute resolution.

The Ohio State Bar Association Litigation Section Public Service Internship Award provides students wishing to practice in Ohio with support for public sector or public interest work.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

None listed

Student Public Interest Groups

The College of Law supports a number of student public interest groups, including the Public Interest Law Association (PILA), the Student Hurricane Network (SHN), Women Law Student Association (WLSA), OutLaw, and the Environmental Law Society.

August 7, 2018