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Suffolk University Law School

Suffolk University Law School
David J. Sargent Hall
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Mia B. Friedman, Esq.
Director of Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street, Suite 110, Boston, MA 02108
[email protected]


Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program - Referral System with a Coordinator


Description of Programs

Through its voluntary Pro Bono Program, Suffolk University Law School seeks to foster in every member of the law school community a moral and professional obligation to ensure access to justice for all citizens. In furtherance of this goal, Suffolk Law School challenges all incoming law students to complete at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before they graduate.

The Pro Bono Program at Suffolk Law School defines "pro bono work" for students in accordance with the ABA's Model Rule 6.1, which defines pro bono broadly, to include free and reduced fee service to the poor, as well as activities for "improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession." To count as pro bono, students may not receive pay or credit for their work. In addition, students must be supervised by an attorney and Suffolk Law students may not use Massachusetts Student Practice Rule 3:03 certification to perform pro bono work. All students who meet or exceed the 50-hour goal will receive recognition for their pro bono service.

Pro Bono opportunities are solicited, centralized, and promoted to law students through the Program's website, weekly e-letters, presentations at orientation, and an annual open house. The Director of Pro Bono Programs facilitates student pro bono work through individual counseling and online matching of volunteers with appropriate placements. Students may choose pro bono work from a wide array of issue areas, as posted by the Program, or they may initiate their own projects with the assistance and approval of the Director.

Law students may also participate in Suffolk's Pro Bono Partners Program. Pro Bono Partners pairs interested Suffolk Law School alumni and other attorneys with upper-level law students to work together on pro bono cases from the Volunteer Lawyers Project, Health Law Advocates, the Victim Rights Law Center, or other qualifying nonprofit legal services agencies. Pro Bono Partners also works with the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) to match upper-level students with certified private bar counsel on cases involving public criminal defense, child and family law, and mental health litigation.


Location of Programs

The Pro Bono Program is located within the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, a stand-alone center within the law school which offers public service career advising and programming, and administers the Pro Bono Program.



The Pro Bono Program is administered by the Director of Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs. Administrative support is also provided by one staff member and two student interns.



The Pro Bono Program is funded through the operating budget of the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

American Civil Liberties Union

Black Law Students Association

Environmental Law

Latin American Law Students Association

National Lawyers Guild

Shelter Legal Services

Suffolk Public Interest Law Group


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Suffolk Law School encourages faculty, administrators and staff who are attorneys to participate in annual pro bono activities and to involve student volunteers in their pro bono work. Examples of current faculty supervised pro bono projects include the New Orleans Legal Assistance Project, which provides assistance to Louisiana residents affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Foreclosure Taskforce, which provides information and assistance to tenants in the greater Boston area affected by the foreclosure crisis.

In addition, all law faculty, administrators and staff who are attorneys are subject to Mass. Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1, which strongly encourages all attorneys to perform at least 25 hours/year of pro bono service, or to donate $250.00 to a legal services agency which provides pro bono legal services.



Every student who completes 50 hours of pro bono service by graduation will receive a letter from the Dean of the Law School and a notation on his/her academic transcript. Every student who completes 75 hours of pro bono service by graduation will receive a letter from the Dean of the Law School, a notation on his/her academic transcript, and a notation in the graduation bulletin. Every student who completes 100 hours or more of pro bono service by graduation will receive a letter from the Dean of the Law School, a notation on his/her academic transcript, a notation in the graduation bulletin, and a Pro Bono Certificate presented at the end-of-year Pro Bono Reception. In addition, each year one Day Division student and one Evening Division student who have performed exemplary pro bono service while in law school will be selected to receive special recognition at the annual Awards Ceremony during graduation weekend.

Informal recognition for student and faculty achievement in public interest and pro bono activities is also provided throughout the year via publications in the student newspaper, Dicta; in the Alumni Magazine; in the Rappaport Center's weekly e-letters; on the law school's website; and on the law school's internal computer system with daily announcements and updates for the law school community.


Community Service

Citizen Schools' 8th Grade Writing Academy Program - Suffolk University Law School is the first law school in the nation to partner with Citizen Schools to offer community service opportunities for Suffolk Law students, faculty and administrators to serve as writing coaches for inner city middle school children. Citizen Schools is a non-profit, award-winning organization that started in Boston and is now national. Several large Boston law firms including Bingham McCutchen LLP, Bromberg & Sunstein, LLP, Choate Hall & Stewart LLP, Foley Hoag LLP, Holland & Knight LLP, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C., Ropes & Gray LLP, and Goodwin Procter LLP, as well as the MA Attorney General's Office participate in the program. By partnering with Citizen Schools, Suffolk links law students to this wonderful community service opportunity while simultaneously providing them the chance to meet and network with attorneys in prestigious Boston law firms and the Attorney General's Office.

Several student organizations also host community service events each year, including:

National Women's Law Student Association– Annual Breast Cancer Fundraiser ("Denim Day")

Phi Alpha Delta – Annual Welcome Baby Collection Drive

Phi Delta Phi – Annual Fall & Spring Canned Food Drives

Student Bar Association – Annual Toys for Tots Collection


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Mia B. Friedman, Esq.
Director of Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street, Suite 110, Boston, MA 02108
[email protected]


Certificate/Curriculum Programs


Public Interest Centers

Juvenile Justice Center – The JJC's mission is to provide vigorous, high-quality representation for children in the juvenile court system, using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes supportive social services and education advocacy. This approach to delinquency defense increases positive outcomes for court-involved youth. The Center also monitors and actively advocates on state policies that affect how youth are sent to court and the consequences of their court involvement.


Public Interest Clinics

Child Advocacy Clinic

Educational Advocacy

Evening Landlord-Tenant Clinic

Family Clinic

Housing & Consumer Protection


Juvenile Defender Clinic

Suffolk Defenders

Suffolk Prosecutors



Civil and Judicial Internship Program

Battered Women's Advocacy Program


Classes with a Public Service Component

Suffolk Law School also offers a wide range of public interest related courses, such as Children's Law Practice, Elder Law/Disabled Client, Environmental Law, Health Law, and Landlord Tenant Housing Issues Seminar.

In addition, at least two courses incorporate involvement in pro bono projects. Credit is offered in the Rape, Culture and the Law Seminar for students who choose an internship placement at The Victim Rights Law Center which offers students an opportunity to work on behalf of individual rape victims or on related research projects. Students in the Police Misconduct Litigation class have the option of doing a "project" for a practicing attorney in conjunction with an ongoing case. Last year, over 40 students were matched with attorneys all over the country and each student was involved in doing research and work on a section 1983 case, whether for a plaintiff's attorney or an attorney representing the government.


Public Interest Journals


PI Career Support Center

Experienced, dedicated attorneys on the Rappaport Center staff work closely with students to identify both summer and post-graduate employment opportunities that best match their interests. The Rappaport Center's resources include:

  • Career development programs and informational sessions relating to public service opportunities
  • One-on-one career counseling and advising services
  • Guidance regarding Suffolk Law and other fellowship opportunities, scholarships, and loan forgiveness programs
  • Connections to the extensive network of Suffolk Law alumni involved in public service
  • Weekly e-newsletters with public service employment, programming, and resource information
  • A comprehensive public service resource library

Suffolk Law School also participates annually in two Government and Public Interest Recruitment Programs organized through the Massachusetts Law School Consortium. These job fairs provide an excellent opportunity for Suffolk Law students to interview with federal, state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations for summer internships and post-graduate employment.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Fenton Awards - The John E. Fenton, Jr. Public Service Awards were created to honor Judge Fenton's 45 year legacy of teaching and leadership at Suffolk University Law School. The award is given annually to students pursuing public interest careers. Awards are given to graduating students contingent upon the recipient obtaining employment with a qualifying public service employer within one year of graduation. A separate application for this award is required during the academic year.


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded

Byrne Scholarship– Awarded based on financial need, distinguished academic performance, and expressed desire to perform public service.


Other Funding Sources:


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

SPILG Summer Fellowships

The Summer Public Service Fellowship Program, sponsored by the student-run Suffolk Public Interest Law Group (SPILG), awards summer fellowships for students working in otherwise unpaid summer internships with government agencies and public interest groups. In 2008, SPILG funded over 80 public service Fellows.


Graduate Student Funded:

Thomas J. Drinan Memorial Fellowship

Established by family and friends in memory of Thomas J. Drinan, JD '76, this fellowship is awarded annually to fund the ten-week summer internship of a Suffolk University Law School student who has demonstrated a desire to work in a Massachusetts public office engaged in the prosecution or defense of criminal cases.

Paul R. McLaughlin Memorial Fellowship Fund

Established by friends and family in memory of Paul R. McLaughlin, JD '81, this fellowship is awarded annually to fund the summer internship of a Suffolk University Law School student who has a demonstrated desire to pursue a career in criminal law in the public sector. Second-year Day Division students or third-year Evening Division students with a concentration in criminal law are eligible to apply.


Other Funding Sources:

Consumer Law Public Service Fellowship

The Consumer Law Public Service Fellowship is a newly established fellowship offered to support the summer employment of a designated Suffolk University Law School student engaged in public service in the field of consumer rights and protection.

Rappaport Fellows Program in Law & Public Policy

The Rappaport Fellows Program in Law and Public Policy is a unique fellowship program in public service and civic leadership sponsored by Suffolk University Law School that brings together gifted students from each of the six Boston-area law schools to work with top public policy makers on the issues that affect our lives and work in Greater Boston and Massachusetts. This one-of-a-kind program exposes outstanding law students to the challenging complexities and powerful societal rewards of creating successful public policy. At the heart of the program is its desire to attract, train, inspire, and connect the next generation of civic leaders and policy shapers.


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Annual SPILG Auction

Raises an average of $30K-45K per year to fund summer public interest fellowships.


Student Public Interest Groups

American Civil Liberties Union

Environmental Law Society

National Lawyers Guild

Shelter Legal Services

Suffolk Public Interest Law Group