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Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Chapman University
Dale E. Fowler School of Law
One University Drive
Orange, CA 92868

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Professor Carolyn Young Larmore
Professor of the Practice of Law and Director of the Externship Program
Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law
One University Drive | Orange, CA 92866
Phone (714) 628-2651 |  [email protected]
Externship Program Information:

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program

Description of Programs

Students can earn the Commitment to Service Award for 50+ hours of pro bono work in either public interest law or government service (non-court).

Location of Programs

Externship department


Externship director administers


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects


Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono


Commitment to Service Award

Community Service

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers

Public Interest Clinics

Alona Cortese Elder Law Center - Founded in 2000, the Alona Cortese Elder Law Center provides free legal services to low income seniors throughout the County of Orange. The center has both a classroom and clinical component, allowing students to learn key aspects of elder law while obtaining hands-on experience representing real clients. The center works closely with local legal aid organizations and pro-bono attorneys to maximize services provided to seniors. Enrolled students help clients with numerous legal issues including claims of elder abuse, will drafting, advance health care directives, representation at administrative hearings, Medicare, Social Security, guardianship and conservatorship.

Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic - The Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Violence Clinic was created to address the unique challenges faced by survivors of domestic violence. Located at the secure Orange County Family Justice Center, the clinic is directed by Fowler Law professor Marisa Cianciarulo, a veteran immigration lawyer and legal clinician. Underwritten through a generous gift from Bette and Wylie Aitken, the clinic offers free assistance in immigration, human trafficking and protection order matters for clients who meet income eligibility requirements.

Mediation Clinic - The Mediation Clinic allows students to develop and use mediation skills through regular and frequent practice with actual clients under the supervision of Professor David Dowling and experienced mediators in the Superior Court. The clinic provides the students with hands on experience with real litigants in a variety of different cases. The clinic mediates 700 real cases annually. While working in the Mediation Clinic, students have an opportunity to mediate many different types of cases with actual clients such as, Civil Harassment Restraining Orders, Debt Collections, Unlawful Detainer, Small Claims Trial De Novo and Limited Civil.

Tax Law Clinic - The Tax Law Clinic is the oldest clinical program at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, offering both trial and appellate tax clinic opportunities to our students. Chapman is currently one of only three law schools in California - and a very small percentage of law schools nationwide - to be awarded a federal grant to operate a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic ("LITC"). The law school has been a recipient of a LITC grant award in each year since the program's inception. In the trial level tax clinic, law students have the chance to handle cases in many different stages of controversy including case that are in the U.S. Tax Court. If settlement efforts fail, the student may have the opportunity to take the case to trial. In 2008, the law school launched the Appellate Tax Advocacy Clinic course. This course lets students participate in docketed appellate tax cases conducted under the auspices of The Center for Fair Administration of Taxation. Here, students do not represent taxpayers before the IRS, but rather they participate in drafting amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in significant matters that impact federal, state or local tax law.


Students may extern at an non-profit / public interest organization

Classes with a Public Service Component

On occasion, students have been granted academic credit to assist professors engage in public interest research or to represent clients. This has included drafting estate plans and wills for tax clients, and researching legal issues regarding economic development and business opportunities for low income clients.

Public Interest Journals

PI Career Support Center

Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law has a designated Public Interest Career Counselor who counsels students regarding careers in public interest and public service and provides information and programming to encourage all students to explore public interest careers and to incorporate pro bono work as a part of the law school experience. Fowler Law also has two other full-time career counselors qualified to discuss public interest resources with students.

A wide variety of public interest and public sector employers participate in Fowler Law's Fall and Spring On-Campus Interview and Resume Collection Programs, and students are also apprised throughout the year of other public interest job opportunities and pro bono projects. In addition, the Career Services Office subscribes to, one of the largest clearinghouses for public interest jobs, which provides students and alumni with free access to thousands of public interest job opportunities, as well as access to an online library of educational and career-building resources for those interested in pursuing a career in public service. The Public Interest Counselor also coordinates with Fowler Law's Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, and Orange County's Public Law Center to plan opportunities for students to help provide legal assistance to underserved members of the community.

Every fall, the Career Services Office sponsors a group of students to participate in the Equal Justice Works Conference and Job Fair held in Washington, D.C. The Public Interest Counselor attends the conference with the students to help them make the most of the public interest resources and opportunities offered at the conference and job fair. On request, the Career Services Office also offers some additional funding to defray travel expenses and registration fees for students participating in other public interest job fairs.

Public Interest events annually sponsored or co-sponsored by the Chapman Law Career Services Office:

  • Public Interest Panel
  • Public Interest Summer Funding & Fellowship Presentation and Panel
  • Public Interest / Public Sector Career Day (Southern California Law School Consortium-sponsored event)
  • Legal Aid Society of Orange County - Family Law Blitz week (students work as volunteers at a week-long family law clinic)
  • Various clinics and MCLE trainings offered by the Public Law Center

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded

Other Funding Sources:

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

Grant funding for students working in unpaid public interest positions over the summer is provided by the Fowler School of Law student-run Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF). PILF conducts fundraising, particularly through an annual silent auction, to support the program. Funding varies by year and applications are due by the beginning of April. Fowler Law's Career Services Office also encourages students to apply to the many public interest scholarship opportunities that the Financial Aid Office publishes.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Law Foundation - The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) provides grants to law students who wish to work at summer public interest jobs that offer little or no pay. Many public interest law employers desperately need student legal help but are unable to afford to pay for the help they need. PILF provides financial support through grants to these student employees so that they can get the experience they need, and the employers can continue to provide the public with much needed legal support.