Directory

Liberty University School of Law

Liberty University
School of Law
1971 University Boulevard
Lynchburg, VA 24502
www.liberty.edu/christian-law-school/

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

J. Matt Barber
Associate Dean for Career & Professional Development
Liberty University School of Law
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24502
P: (434) 592.3407
E-mail

Category Type

Independent Student Pro Bono Group Projects with no school-wide program

Description of Programs

Liberty University School of Law does not mandate volunteerism; however, it does aim to develop a culture of service among its law students, faculty, staff, and administration. In and out of the classroom, faculty members are encouraged to model and promote the value of pro bono and community service and to emphasize the pro bono obligation of all persons licensed to practice law.

Faculty and administration encourage students to apply the practical skills they learn in law school to a lifetime of public service. From its inception, the law school has offered students the opportunity to participate in Street Law as an independent student group project that is supported administratively by the Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD). During the fall and spring semesters, students teach practical, law-related classes in two separate locations—a juvenile detention center and a residential group home.

In addition, with the administrative support of CCPD and the Office of External Affairs, the law school matches students with private practitioners who request assistance on pro bono projects, and it facilitates the placement of students in uncompensated, not-for-credit internships in public defender offices, prosecutorial offices, legal aid offices, and other not-for-profit organizations.

Students are also offered the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of externships; to work pro bono in the Liberty Center for Law and Policy (LCLP), a public interest center formed through a partnership between Liberty Counsel and Liberty University School of Law; and to avail themselves of public service opportunities offered through PSLawNet and career fairs (e.g., the Equal Justice Works Career Fair and Conference and the Southeastern Minority Job Fair) and the Lynchburg Bar Association.

Location of Programs

Center for Career & Professional Development.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Street Law Program is run by student organizers with guidance from the Director of Career Services and with administrative support from the Center for Career & Professional Development's Program Assistant. Additional pro bono programs of Liberty University School of Law are administered, with input from the faculty, by the Associate Dean for Career & Professional Development, the Director of Student Affairs, and the Director of External Affairs. The Associate Dean, Directors, and Program Assistant are full-time, paid staff; they have additional responsibilities in the law school that are not related to pro bono or community service opportunities.

Funding

The Center for Career & Professional Development provides administrative support (including schedules, supplies, lesson distribution, and photocopies) for the law school's Street Law Program. A separate pro bono budget has not been established.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Street Law is a student-run pro bono/law education program. During the academic year, law students teach lessons from the Street Law juvenile justice curriculum to youths in two locations—the Lynchburg Regional Detention Center and a residential group home. Approximately 30 detained youths participate each week at the Detention Center, and approximately 25 youths participate each week at the group home.

Students also hosted the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) during the Springs of 2009 and 2010, where they assisted low-income and elderly citizens from the community by preparing and filing income tax reports. They intend to host this program annually.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Through its tenure policy, evaluation process, and partnership with the Virginia Bar Association, the law school urges all faculty and administration to participate in pro bono or community service projects. Faculty and staff are encouraged to pledge to volunteer at least 50 hours of pro bono or community service each year.

Awards/Recognition

At the 3L Awards Banquet held in the spring, Liberty University School of Law recognizes the pro bono and community service efforts of third-year law students with the Street Law Leadership Award and the Pro Bono Distinguished Service Award. Also at the banquet, students who report 25 hours or more of pro bono or community service since enrolling as a Liberty law student are recognized with Pro Bono/Community Service Certificates. They are recognized again at graduation. In 2010, the law school noted two levels of distinction for pro bono/community service: 25-50 hours and 51-99 hours. Additionally, the Virginia Bar Association honors students who perform at least 35 hours of pro bono or community service during the academic year with Certificates of Appreciation, and the Center for Career & Professional Development hosts a luncheon in the spring for all students who participate in Street Law during the academic year. Students are presented with Certificates of Appreciation at the luncheon.

Community Service

Through a partnership between the Virginia Bar Association and Liberty University School of Law, all students are encouraged to perform at least 35 hours of community or pro bono service, and all faculty and administration are encouraged to perform at least 50 hours of community or pro bono service during a 12 month time period.

With administrative support from the Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) and the Office of Student Affairs, law students donate their time to non-profit organizations such as the Miller Home of Lynchburg (for girls who are not able to live in their own homes) and Daily Bread (for indigent children and adults in Lynchburg).

Students also hosted the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) during the Springs of 2009 and 2010, where they assisted low-income and elderly citizens from the community by preparing and filing income tax reports. They intend to host this program annually.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Rena Lindevaldsen
Associate Professor of Law
P: (434) 592-3402
E-mail

Mathew D. Staver
Dean and Professor of Law
P: (434) 592-5305
E-mail

Liberty University School of Law
1971 University Blvd.
Lynchburg, VA 24502

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

None

Public Interest Centers

The Liberty Center for Law and Policy (LCLP) is a partnership between the law school and Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit public interest law firm. Established in 1989, Liberty Counsel is a national organization with offices in Orlando, Florida; Lynchburg, Virginia; Dallas, Texas; and Washington, D.C. It also has affiliated attorneys throughout the country. With its emphasis on constitutional and civil rights law, the LCLP provides training, internships, and clerkships for law students.

Public Interest Clinics

The law school offers students the opportunity to participate in the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, which works in conjunction with Liberty Counsel. Relationships with other organizations will be explored in the future. Students are required to attend a weekly classroom component and participate in all phases of newly filed and ongoing Liberty Counsel cases, including direct client contact, attorney strategy sessions, drafting of legal documents, and, where permitted by local rules, trials and hearings.

Externships/Internships

Liberty University School of Law affords students opportunities to work in non-compensated positions for academic credit. Some students participate in the externship program throughout the academic year; other students serve as externs for one semester or summer. Students have served or are currently serving as externs in the following field placements: the offices of federal and state prosecutors, offices of the public defender, state supreme court justices, federal magistrates, federal judges, Operation Blue Ridge Thunder (a task force for Internet crimes against children), the Institute for Christian Conciliation, Family Research Council, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, the Office of the Texas Attorney General, Liberty Center for Law and Policy, and Liberty Counsel.

Liberty University School of Law also affords students opportunities to serve in internships (not for academic credit). Students have served as interns in the following field placements: the offices of state and federal prosecutors; a state public defender; the Virginia Legal Aid Society; the Chicago Legal Clinic; the Presidential Personnel Office in Washington, D.C.; the IRS National Director of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C.; U.S. District Courts; Federal Courts of Appeal; the White House; and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Classes with a Public Service Component

None at this time.

Public Interest Journals

None at this time.

PI Career Support Center

The Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD) actively encourages students to engage in pro bono and community service and to consider positions and careers in public service. The law school subscribes to PSLawNet, which offers comprehensive current information on a wide range of pro bono and public service opportunities.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None at this time.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None at this time.

Graduate Student Funded:

None at this time.

Other Funding Sources:

Students are encouraged to apply for fellowships through such organizations as Equal Justice Works and Equal Justice America.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None at this time.

Graduate Student Funded:

None at this time.

Other Funding Sources:

None at this time.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None at this time.

Graduate Student Funded:

None at this time.

Other Funding Sources:

For the summers of 2005 through 2008 and for the upcoming summer of 2011, the Virginia State Bar/Criminal Law Division has given a stipend to a Liberty University law student to work in a prosecutorial office. For the summer of 2006, the Department of Criminal Justice Services in the Commonwealth of Virginia gave a stipend to a Liberty University law student to work in any juvenile court in Virginia. For the summer of 2007, Equal Justice America gave a fellowship for a student to work in a public interest law firm. For the summers of 2008 through 2010, the Virginia Law Foundation gave a stipend to a minimum of three students working in public service internships.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

None at this time.

Student Public Interest Groups

None at this time.

August 7, 2018