Directory

Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law

Drexel University
Earle Mack School of Law
3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
www.drexel.edu/law

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Rashida T. West, Esq.
Director, Pro Bono & Public Interest Programs
3320 Market Street, Suite 410
P: (215) 571.-722
Fax: (215) 571-4763
E-mail

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

The motto of Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, Scientia, Ars, Officium - Knowledge, Skill, Duty - reflects the goals Drexel has for its law student graduates. The third element of our school's mission, Officium, means "the duty to the public good owed by a public official." For Drexel, it is an essential element of the Law School, because it recognizes the lawyer's obligation to serve the public good by providing uncompensated legal service to people and organizations that cannot afford to retain lawyers.

" Pro Bono Publico" service, "For the Public Good," is at the heart of the legal profession. Providing pro bono service to individuals or groups traditionally underserved by the private bar is the goal of Drexel's mandatory 50-hour Pro Bono Service Requirement. Students will make an immediate impact in the world by helping those most in need. In addition, the program strives to educate students about their ethical responsibility to provide assistance and improve access to legal services throughout their professional careers. Finally, the program highlights public service opportunities that students may want to pursue as a career path.

The Pro Bono Service Requirement complements Drexel's long and proud tradition of integrating classroom experience with the real-world environment. Under close supervision, students will develop their legal skills and gain practical, hands-on, experience in a real work setting. The Pro Bono Service Requirement is a vital part of Drexel's curriculum and demonstrates the faculty and administration's commitment to the development of professionalism in its students.

In order to qualify for credit towards the requirement, the pro bono service must be law-related. In addition, students may not receive financial compensation or academic credit for providing pro bono service. Moreover, a licensed attorney or other qualified supervisor must adequately supervise and review any and all work. The service must be:

  1. On behalf of people who cannot afford to pay for legal services, have limited access to legal services, or are underserved by the private bar, or
  2. Aimed at protecting the rights of an individual or individuals in situations raising important public interest concerns and/or important rights belonging to a significant and underserved segment of the public.

Government work, including working for the district attorney or public defender (or their federal/local equivalents) qualifies for credit towards the Pro Bono Service Requirement under our definition of pro bono. Judicial clerkships and internships, however, do not qualify for credit towards the Pro Bono Service Requirement.

Location of Programs

The Pro Bono Program is administered out of the Pro Bono Service Office, which is housed within the Law School. The Pro Bono Service Requirement is one of the three prongs of Experiential Learning at Drexel Law (Pro Bono, Co-op, and Clinical Programs).

Staffing/Management/Oversight

Drexel's Pro Bono Service Program is administered under the auspices of the Associate Dean for Experiential Learning. Programs are developed, implemented, coordinated, and supervised by a full-time Director for Pro Bono and Public Interest Programs.

Funding

The Pro Bono Program is fully funded by the Law School. An IOLTA Grant subsidizes a number of select Pro Bono Projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

SPIN - Student Public Interest Network

The Just Society

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Currently there is no faculty pro bono requirement.

Awards/Recognition

Students who significantly exceed the 50-hour requirement will receive a Pro Bono Recognition Award and be specially acknowledged in the graduation program. Students will receive a certificate based on the total number of pro bono service hours completed: Service Honors (100 - 200 hours) or Outstanding Service Honors (201+ hours). We also provide distinction at graduation for the Most Outstanding Public Interest Scholar, as well as an award for the graduating student who performed the most pro bono service hours during law school. All students who receive a pro bono award are also recognized at a public service awards ceremony.

Community Service

Community Service is encouraged, but does not count towards the 50 hour pro bono service requirement.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Rashida T. West, Esq.
Director, Pro Bono & Public Interest Programs
3320 Market Street, Suite 410
P: (215) 571-4722
Fax: (215) 571-4763
E-mail

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers

None listed

Public Interest Clinics

Drexel Law currently has four clinics: The Civil Litigation Field Clinic, The Criminal Litigation Field Clinic, The Public Health and Environmental Law Field Clinic, and The Appellate Litigation Clinic (in-house).

Externships/Internships

Drexel Law's signature experiential program is its Co-op Program. The Co-op Program bears some similarities to externship programs at other law schools. Co-ops are field placements for which law students earn academic credit, rather than pay. They are a part of the academic curriculum of the law school rather than paid positions.

The Co-op Program at Drexel Law differs significantly from externship programs at most law schools in several respects. First, the students earn an unusually high amount of academic credit (up to 12 credits a semester) for their participation in the program. Drexel law students also devote much of their time (20 to 25 hours a week in a regular co-op and 35-40 hours a week in a co-op intensive) and energy to their work in the field.

Drexel offers over 25 Public Interest Co-op Placements.

Classes with a Public Service Component

The Marshall-Brennan Seminar: This is the required companion course for students participating in the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. It is designed to prepare law students to teach constitutional law in local high schools and to supervise these high school students as they compete in regional and national constitutional moot court competitions.

Justice Lawyering Seminar: This course, which is a co-requisite of the field clinics, is a critical look at law and social justice. In that context, students will develop individual research and writing projects inspired by their clinical experience.

International Human Rights Advocacy: This is the required companion course for students participating in our Alternative Spring Break Service Learning Trip to Haiti. While a pre-requisite for students travelling to Haiti, it is open to the entire student body, as well. This course will introduce students to the development of human rights law and provide the fundamentals of modern human rights practice through real-world application to current human rights issues. Using Haiti as a model, each student will be assigned another specific country with a grave human rights issue. Students will address their country-specific issue as an advocate -- from factual investigation and research to production of advocacy materials.

Public Interest Journals

None listed

PI Career Support Center

Drexel Law has a full time Career Advisor for Government and Public Interest Law in the Career and Professional Development Office to provide advice for students considering a career path in public interest law.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The purpose of the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) is to assist and support graduates who pursue careers in the public interest. This program acknowledges the fact that law student indebtedness poses a significant obstacle to students interested in public service careers and demonstrates our action in addressing this urgent problem. Given the rising cost of higher education and the accompanying debt burden, a career in the public interest is often not feasible without financial assistance. The Earle Mack School of Law created the LRAP as a way to provide our graduates with the option of considering work in lower paying public interest or public service positions by reducing some of the financial barriers that may prevent them from following this career path.

The LRAP provides law students with greater flexibility when making career decisions by offering partial loan forgiveness to applicants who work in qualifying, law-related employment in the public sector. A standing LRAP committee chooses recipients and awards are renewable annually up to the maximum number of years of participation. These forgivable loans are structured to help graduates repay a portion of their educational debt.

The Earle Mack School of Law hopes that the LRAP will have a positive impact on both our students and the legal communities in which the students practice. The goal of the program is to enable our graduates to accept jobs and continue working in the public sector while also helping the public interest organizations pursue their vital mission by recruiting, hiring and keeping the best legal talent available.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Public Service Fellowship Program

The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University recognizes the lawyer's obligation to serve the public good and is dedicated to encouraging and supporting students to contribute to and make a difference in their communities through public service work. The law school instills in our students a sense of duty to work in the public interest throughout their legal careers with the hope that many will seek full-time public sector employment.

In recognition of and consistent with this commitment, the law school has established the Public Service Fellowship Program. The purpose of this program is to assist and support graduates with a strong commitment to public service. The Public Service Fellowship Program will provide eligible recent law school graduates with part time, paid, six-month legal positions at a qualifying public interest organization. The law school hopes that this program will have a positive impact on both our graduates and the legal communities in which the students are placed.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Drexel Law counsels students regarding fellowship opportunities and offers resources to help students identify post-graduate fellowships and awards.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Associate Dean for Experiential Learning and the Director for Pro Bono and Public Interest Programs work closely with the Career and Professional Development Office (CPDO) to provide a strong foundation for our students who are interested in pursuing careers in public interest law. We have created a summer grant program for students taking unpaid public interest summer internships, subsidizing a significant portion of the student-run PIE Grant Auction (Public Interest Experience), and matching monies raised at the auction.

In addition, the University offers work study packages for students taking unpaid summer positions in eligible government agencies, public interest organizations, and nonprofit organizations. This funding is in addition to work-study grants available during the academic year. By working with the CPDO to maximize these work study funds, we are able to offer larger summer grants to offset students' summer expenses while working in unpaid public interest summer internships.

Graduate Student Funded:

The PIE Grant Board (Public Interest Experience) sponsors an annual auction to raise money to fund grants for students who take unpaid public interest summer internships.

Other Funding Sources:

The Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III Summer Law Fellowship- This Fellowship is designed to support a student with a genuine interest in pursuing a career in local government service. The Fellowship, which provides a stipend of $10,000 for the summer, was created and named in honor of Tobey Oxholm, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff of Drexel University. Prior to joining Drexel, Tobey practiced law in Philadelphia for 22 years, including distinguished service with the Office of the Philadelphia City Solicitor where he served as Chief Deputy City Solicitor for Commercial Claims.

Other- Drexel Law also counsels students regarding summer fellowship opportunities and offers resources to help students identify summer fellowships and awards.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Brown Bag Speaker Series - The Pro Bono Service Office, the Career and Professional Development Office, and student groups present dozens of programs that focus on different areas of public interest law and explore various public interest career options.

First Monday Reception - In celebration of the opening session of the Supreme Court each year, this event brings together law students, members of the public interest legal community, and pro bono lawyers from private firms in the Philadelphia region. This is an event where students, directors, and lawyers can discuss cases of constitutional significance in an informal atmosphere.

Public Interest Law Day - During this special day each fall, the Career and Professional Development Office highlights individuals working in public interest, sponsors lectures, and provides public interest career information.

Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service - Drexel joins forces with the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, a program of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, turning the King Holiday into a day "on" instead of a day "off."

PIE Grant Auction - Each year the PIE Grant Board and the Pro Bono Service Office organize an auction to raise money to support students engaging in unpaid summer public interest jobs.

Student Public Interest Groups

SPIN - Student Public Interest Network

The Just Society

August 7, 2018