University of New Hampshire School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Erin B. Corcoran
Director, Social Justice Institute & Professor of Law
P: (603) 513-5166
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator
Description of Programs
Under this Program, law students are encouraged to conduct pro bono work during their law school careers. The Social Justice Institute, working closely with the Career Development Office, provides interested students with a listing of local legal service providers seeking law students for pro bono projects. In addition, there are numerous ways students can engage in pro bono activities through programs housed within the law school—including public interest clinics, externships, internships, and summer programs.
Location of Programs
The University of New Hampshire School of Law is administered by the Director of the Social Justice Institute. The Social Justice Institute is separate from but works closely with the Office of Career Services.
The full-time Social Justice Institute Director is compensated to run the pro bono program as part of her overall duties, and also divides her time teaching social justice courses at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
The University of New Hampshire School of Law community actively develops, coordinates and runs student pro bono groups and specialized pro bono project. Recent groups and projects have included:
Public Interest Coalition (PIC):
The Public Interest Coalition (PIC) is a student organization that promotes awareness of public interest law and issues. PIC organizes programs, develops public interest projects, and works closely with the Social Justice Institute. PIC sponsors events like the Bruce Freidman Community Service Day and works together with the Social Justice Institute to send law students to national and regional public interest conferences.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA):
University of New Hampshire School of Law students help area New Hampshire residents with their tax forms on a walk-in basis. Law students, interested in tax law, attend an initial training session and then volunteer their time to meet with local residents about their tax returns. Members of the law school's clinical and non-clinical faculty provide supervision.
Recognizing the importance of teaching the local community about civil, criminal and constitutional democracy in a practical way, the University of New Hampshire School of Law students venture into the New Hampshire high schools to teach students about human rights and democratic values. UNH law students prepare reading and lesson plans, and keep a reflective journal about their experiences.
Wills for Heroes:
Recognizing the need to give back to a community of brave men and women who protect our country, University of New Hampshire law students are actively involved in the Wills for Heroes program—a program providing essential legal documents to our nation's first responders. UNH law students, working under the direction of UNH School of Law faculty, draft wills, living wills, and powers of attorney for first responders to ensure their family's legal affairs are in order. Law students are giving back to the community and "protecting those who protect us."
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
The University of New Hampshire School of Law employs faculty members that lead by example. The Law School's tenure policy encourages and recognizes faculty contributions to the community, including all pro bono work. Notably, faculty members have routinely appeared before the New Hampshire House of Representatives and State Senate to testify on matters affecting our community. Thus, leading by example, clinical faculty are encouraged by the administration to routinely instill in UNH law students the ethical rewards of pro bono representation.
Deans Certificate for Exemplary Pro Bono Contributions
Upon graduating from the University of New Hampshire School of Law, law students are acknowledged and rewarded for their continued pro bono contributions. During graduation, student awardees receive certificates of achievements signed by the Dean of the Law School and are publically acknowledged by UNH School of Law faculty and their fellow law students.
The UNH School of Law Teen Court program was a 2010 finalist for the Spirit of New Hampshire Award—an award recognizing excellence in volunteerism and active contributions to the New Hampshire community. Law students volunteering as Teen Court mentors will be attending a statewide banquet to honor the program.
UNH School of Law Annual Public Service Dinner
The Annual Public Service Dinner, held during the spring semester, brings faculty, students, and local community members together to celebrate and honor leaders promoting social justice. A social justice leader and UNH Law School social justice activities are recognized and rewarded at this annual event.
Bruce Friedman Community Service Day
Recognizing a community rich in public service, the UNH School of Law annually hosts the Bruce Friedman Community Service Day honoring the late UNH School of Law professor Bruce Friedman. On an autumn weekend, law students and faculty work side-by-side donating their time and attention to helping local community organizations and programs—such as the Friendly Kitchen Food Pantry, Dress for Success Program, and local public schools.
Teen Court Program
In connection with the national Teen Court Program, providing first-time juvenile offenders with a voluntary sentencing alternative to avert the criminal justice system, the University of New Hampshire School of Law students work together with the Merrimack County Juvenile Diversion Program to mentor local teen "attorneys" and teen "jurors" in juvenile offender hearings. Law students help develop high school students' basic legal skills through training sessions and mock-hearings. Then, law students sit with teen "attorneys" during their actual hearings in front of sitting State Court Judges. The program gives law students the opportunity to teach teenagers about the judicial process and trial advocacy.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Erin B. Corcoran
Director, Social Justice Institute & Professor of Law
P: (603) 513-5166
Masters of Law in International Criminal Law & Justice (LLM-ICL)
Designed to prepare the next generation of lawyers and policy-makers, the International Criminal Law & Justice Program equips students with the skills necessary to confront and challenge global issues relating to criminal law and justice. The program integrates academic coursework with externships in governmental agencies. This LLM program enrolls law graduates (JD or LLB) pursuing a career in international criminal law research and foreign policy development. UNH law students interested in pursuing a career in social justice—specifically, international criminal law—are encouraged to jointly pursue their J.D. and L.L.M-ICL.
Public Interest Centers
UNH Social Justice Institute:
The UNH Social Justice Institute (SJI) is committed to training, mentoring, and supporting students interested in pursuing a career in public interest law. Governed by four core values—access, advocacy, affordability, and aptitude—the Social Justice Institute inspires and equips students to use their law degree to advance for and assist underserved and vulnerable populations and empower communities. Under the direction of the Social Justice Institute, UNH Law School students serve these constituencies through pro bono work, community service, and a career dedicated to the public interest.
International Technology Transfer Institute
Helping to establish and strengthen technology transfer offices (TTOs) in developing countries, the UNH Law School International Technology Transfer Institute (ITTI) works to advance social justice by improving access to basic health and nutrition among developing countries. Specifically, the International Technology Transfer Institute promotes access to essential innovations in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and agriculture through forged links with numerous international organizations, including—the World Bank Group in Washington D.C., the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada (UMNG) in Bogota, Columbia, and the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru.
Daily, the International Technology Transfer Institute manages projects that contribute to establishing TTOs, either through direct capacity building or by policy, development and/or intellectual property analysis. These projects result in scholarly, peer-reviewed publications along with publications in the University of New Hampshire ITTI blog—a student-professor blog providing analysis, views, and international policy developments in the Technology Transfer field.
Public Interest Clinics
Administrative Advocacy Clinic
The Administrative Advocacy Clinic provides students with the opportunity to represent local clients in unemployment compensation appeals, Health & Human Services appeals, and motor vehicle licensing hearings. Applying what they have learned in the classroom, UNH law students actively learn the basics of practicing law by managing administrative cases before State agencies. Specifically, students have the opportunity to interview clients, perform fact investigation, and write briefs submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security Appeal Tribunal and Appellate Board.
Appellate Defender Clinic
Charged with the responsibility of handling virtually all of the indigent criminal appeals from New Hampshire State Courts, the New Hampshire Appellate Defender Program is housed at the UNH School of Law. Moreover, approximately 100 briefs per year are filed in the New Hampshire Supreme Court, and 80 cases per year are argued in front of the Court. As a result, UNH law students have the unique opportunity to actively assist Appellate Defender attorneys in researching, writing appeals briefs and preparing oral arguments.
Consumer & Commercial Law Clinic:
The Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic focuses on consumer finance, debt collection, and bankruptcy cases. Thus, students have the opportunity to actively integrate and apply contract law, federal and state consumer protection statutes, as well as state, federal, and bankruptcy civil procedure. Students prosecute and defend a wide variety of cases including: identity theft, unfair trade practices, small business disputes, predatory lending, and bankruptcy related-issues.
Criminal Practice Clinic:
Integrating and applying legal skills and doctrinal courses in criminal law, legal writing, and oral advocacy, the Criminal Practice Clinic provides an opportunity for students to represent indigent defendants accused of Class A misdemeanors and felony crimes in New Hampshire District and Superior Courts. After intensive preparation, students file motions, negotiate with prosecutors, and have the opportunity to try cases before judges and juries.
Intellectual Property & Business Transaction Clinic:
Assisting clients in both adversarial and non-adversarial claims, the UNH Intellectual Property & Business Transaction Clinic accepts referrals from the New Hampshire Lawyers for the Arts Program and the Amoskeag Busines Incubator. As a result, students are exposed to a variety of cases involving copyright, trademark, and small business issues. Daily, students represent authors, artists, musicians, small businesses, non-profit organizations in copyright and trademark registration, licensing and protection. Students also assist individuals forming and managing non-profit corporations.
The Mediation Clinic offers law students the unique opportunity to mediate civil disputes and controversy within the Concord and Manchester New Hampshire District Courts. Equipped with mediation skills after completing an intensive seminar demonstrating effective mediation techniques, law students are assigned mediation cases and expected to mediate between the disputing parties. Additionally, students observe and discuss the role of an attorney advocating for his client during the mediation.
Street Law Clinic:
Recognizing the importance in teaching the local community about civil, criminal and constitutional democracy in a practical way, UNH School of Law students venture into the New Hampshire High Schools to teach high school students about human rights and democratic values. UNH law students prepare reading and lesson plans, and keep a reflective journal about their experiences. Before teaching high school students, UNH law students are trained in effective teaching methods and participate in peer teaching exercises.
University of New Hampshire Law School Externship Program:
As one of the oldest externship programs in the country, the University of New Hampshire School of Law strives to connect law students with public-interest and private arena placements. Beyond merely connecting students with placements, utilizing the philosophy that students must have work related experiences in order to be employed and function effectively, the UNH School of Law helps second and third year law students to design and implement learning plans for their externship semester. As externs, students work under the supervision of a practicing attorney and receive academic credit for their unpaid legal work.
The school has a long standing and continuing relationship with federal trial and appellate courts, local Prosecutors' Offices, the New Hampshire Public Defenders Office, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, New Hampshire Disability Rights Center, the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, and many other State agencies. Additionally, many students have taken advantage of the flexibility of the externship program to work in high profile public interest placements, such as the Southern Center for Human Rights, the Children's Rights Center, and Public Citizens.
International Criminal Law & Justice- Washington D.C. Summer Seminar Program:
The International Criminal Law & Justice-Washington D.C. Summer Seminar Program explores topics relating to criminal activity and law enforcement responses that cross international borders. In the past, UNH law students have had the opportunity to actively engage in discussion about the global legal response to terrorism, counterfeiting and intellectual property crimes, as well as human trafficking issues. UNH Law students enrolled in this intensive week-long seminar program earn academic credit towards their JD degree.
Classes with a Public Service Component
The University of New Hampshire School of Law's academic curriculum offers a broad range of challenging courses laying the foundation for careers in a variety of social justice practice areas—including criminal law, indigent legal services, civil rights and civil liberties, public interest in private practice, intellectual property in the public interest, and international human rights. With guidance from the Social Justice Institute, the Dean's Office, and Academic Advisors, students interested in social justice careers manage core subjects with elective coursework focused on specific practice areas.
Public Interest Journals
University of New Hampshire Law Review:
In the Spring of 2011, the University of New Hampshire Law Review is dedicating its final issue as a Social Justice Symposium. Additionally, Luke Nelson, a third-year law student and Editor-and-Chief of the Law Review, will publish an article addressing Al Maqaleh v. Gates , 605 F.3d 84 (D.C. Cir. 2010)—the latest case applying the detainee test to determine the reach of the Suspension Clause and ability for detainees captured during the "War on Terror" to challenge their detention through habeas corpus petitions.
The Law Review anticipates dedicating a volume issue—each year—to a social justice concern.
PI Career Support Center
The University of New Hampshire School of Law Career Service Department collaborates with the Social Justice Institute to provide students with advice on planning a social justice career. Beginning early on in each law student's career, the Career Service Department and the Social Justice Institute map out practical steps a student should take to stand out in the legal employment market.
Past Public Interest Career Programs & Workshops
- Preparing for Your Summer Job in Public Interest Workshop
- Judicial Clerkship Panel Discussion
- Securing a Summer Government Internship
- Financing Your Public Interest Career
- Public Interest Law Firm Panel
In addition to individual counseling sessions and workshops, Career Services and the Social Justice Institute sponsor an on-campus public interest summer job fair—a widely attended summer fair with over 30 legal service providers and government agencies. The job fair offers on-site interviews to interested law students.
Equal Justice Works Career Fair
Moreover, each year, Career Services offers law students the opportunity to attend the annual Equal Justice Works Career Service Fair in Washington D.C. The national job fair houses over 1,000 law students and provides students with the opportunity to interview on-site and to attend informal "table talks" with public interest employers, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, legal service providers, and private law firms.
Career Fair –Travel Stipends & Financial Assistance
Recognizing the importance in connecting law students with social justice employment opportunities and the tight financial budget law students live on, the Social Justice Institute has provided travel stipends and financial assistance to interested UNH School of Law students. Such stipends allow students, who otherwise would not be able to attend, to network and interview.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP)—Phinney Fund:
Recognizing UNH School of Law graduates are committed to public service work but receive relatively low salaries with high student loan obligations, the University of New Hampshire School of Law and the Social Justice Institute are committed to ensuring that the Loan Repayment Assistance Fund remains a reliable resource for graduates choosing careers serving the public interest. The UNH School of Law annually contributes to the fund and actively seeks donations for the program. Additionally, the UNH School of Law sponsored LRAP Golf Tournament directly supports the UNH School of Law's Loan Repayment Assistance Program.
Law School Funded:
The Alison Howland Curelop Hayward Fund:
Established and permanently endowed by the Curelop family in memory of a law school graduate who was a public interest lawyer and former directed of the Health, Law and Ethics Institute at the UNH School of Law, The Alison Howland Curelop Hayward Fund acknowledges the financial disparities public interest lawyers face with their career choice. The annual post-graduate award assists one or two new public interest lawyers who demonstrate moral and intellectual commitment to social justice and who will perpetuate commitment to public service.
- Criteria : Recipients shall be employed as public interest/social justice advocates. Preference is given to graduates practicing health care law.
- Award : The total award is through the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, or a similar mechanism, and is based on the recommendation of a committee established by the UNH School of Law.
The Fleisher Family Fund:
The Fleisher Family Fund, a permanently endowed fund at the UNH School of Law, acknowledges the financial disparities public interest lawyers face with their career choice and provides an annual award to assist one or more new UNH School of Law graduates practicing as public interest lawyers. The Fund provides, annually, a loan repayment assistance award to one or more UNH law graduates.
- Award : The award is given through the Loan Repayment Assistance Program, or a similar mechanism, and is based on the recommendation of a committee to be determined by the UNH School of Law each year.
The Howard James Nedved Commencement Award:
This award honors Howard James Nedved's significant contribution to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, including the National and the New Hampshire Chapters. The purpose is to award a graduating student a gift of $1,000 who has (1) participated in the Association of Trial Lawyers of America Student Trial Advocacy Competition and the National Trial Competition, and (2) is participating and applying for the Bar Exam in any state. UNH Law Students participating in the Trial Advocacy Competition are eligible for this award.
U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program:
The U.S. Schweitzer Fellows Program provides community service fellowships to law students and graduate students seeking to help those currently underserved by our health care system and under-represented in New Hampshire. This one-year interdisciplinary program focuses on community service, leadership development and personal reflection. As a result, the core element of the Fellows Program is the student initiated service project. Specifically, Fellows develop projects that provide direct service to under-served populations, work towards eliminating health disparities, and improve quality of life in New Hampshire. Each fellow designs his/her own service project and provides at least 200 hours of service in cooperation with a existing community agency. An academic mentor supports and supervises each fellow's project.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
UNH School of Law Funded Tuition Scholarships:
UNH School of Law awards financial scholarships to law students demonstrating a deep commitment to public service. These school-funded scholarships help reduce the overall cost of tuition.
Bruce E. Friedman Scholarship
The Bruce E. Friedman Scholarship is a memorial endowment fund to honor a UNH School of Law professor and founder and director of the UNH School of Law Civil Practice Clinic. The Fund annually supports a scholarship to one or more current UNH law students who emulate and reflect moral and intellectual commitment to social justice and demonstrate a commitment to public interest law by preparing for a career that advances social justice through course work—combining legal knowledge with practical skills, project development, and exposure to practice models for the delivery of legal services.
The Robert M. Viles Public Interest Scholarship
Established to honor past president and long-time Dean of UNH School of Law, the Robert M. Viles Public Interest Scholarship provides full tuition plus a $10,000 stipend to a full-time first- year student at UNH School of Law who resides in the First Judicial Circuit. The law student recipient must have an interest in pursuing a career in community lawyering and have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and a 154 LSAT score. Practical experience working in the public sector is valued as a strong asset.
Winnie McLaughlin Scholarship Fund
Created to reward female law students demonstrating both community service focused on advancing women in society and solid academic achievement, the Winnie McLaughlin Scholarship Fund is a collaborative effort between the New Hampshire Women's Bar Association and the University of New Hampshire School of Law. The scholarship is awarded annually to a "rising" second year UNH law student.
Privately Endowed Scholarships
The Doris Monroe Rapee Memorial Scholarship
The Doris Rapee Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a woman in the second or third year class at UNH School of Law who intends to pursue a career in the public sector. Preference is given to those students interested in government service on a local, state or federal level. Candidates are reviewed on the basis of (1) demonstrated commitment to public service, (2) her plans for a career in the public and government sector, and (3) her financial need.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
We have students working at places such as the NH Attorney General's office, Legal Advice and Referral Center, and the NH Civil Rights Commission.
Law School Funded:
Public Interest Coalition Fellowships: In an effort to provide students with meaningful social justice opportunities, the UNH School of Law Social Justice Institute helps fund law students' public interest summer work experience. Because many organizations do not have the financial means to pay a summer legal intern's salary—yet social justice organizations are in grave need of legal assistance—the Public Interest Coalition (PIC) Fellowships provide a $4,000 stipend to students interning with social justice oriented organizations and agencies. This stipend reduces the student's living expenses and makes it possible for the student to assist these underserved populations. Because of this funding, UNH School of Law students can pursue social justice experiences and provide quality legal assistance to many non-profits and government agencies—full time—for an entire summer.
- Funding Source : Many PIC fellowships are awarded using federal work-study but students demonstrating hardship in using their work-study hours during the summer are given the $4,000 stipend solely funded by the Social Justice Institute.
Other Funding Sources
Equal Justice Works:
Through the support and encouragement of the Social Justice Institute, law students have applied for and received summer funding through Equal Justice Works. Equal Justice Works provides funding to law students who demonstrate a commitment to help bring justice to millions of low-income people. Recently, Paul Roberson—a second year law student-- was awarded summer funding to work at Community Legal Services in Compton, California.
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
The Public Interest Coalition organizes a charity auction every year to fund students who are working in the public interest over the summer.
Other Funding by Gifts:
Orr & Reno $3,500
The NH Bar Foundation $3,500
The Cindy Lonergan Memorial Fund $1,750
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
Furthering its mission to inspire and equip students to use their law degree to advocate for and assist underserved and vulnerable populations, the Social Justice Institute actively engages all UNH School of Law community members—students, professors, and faculty, alike—through its sponsored lecture series, extracurricular and co-curricular programs.
Judge Hugh H. Bownes Forum on Civil Rights:
The UNH School of Law established the JudgeHugh H. Bownes Forum on Civil Rights as an annual commemoration of the writing of the Bill of rights. Named after the U.S. First Circuit Judge Hugh H. Bownes, the annual Forum renews UNH School of Law's dedication to the protection of individual rights and liberties by inviting a speaker to address the law school and local community about civil rights and constitutional law issues.
Social Justice Institute Lectures Series:
Promoting social justice within the law school as well as working with the larger Concord, New Hampshire community, the Social Justice Institute invites, coordinates, and funds speakers and events to educate and engage discussion about state, national, and international public interest issues.
Frank Rowe Kenison Lecture Series
Honoring native New Hampshire Chief Justice Frank Rowe Kenison, the University of New Hampshire School of Law established the Frank Rowe Kenison Lecture series. The Kenison Lecture Series highlights the role of state court judges and the importance of state jurisprudence.
Table Talk Job Fair
The Social Justice Institute collaborates with the UNH School of Law Career Service Office to invite, schedule and organize "table talk" job fairs. Local public interest employers venture to campus in order to speak with law students about summer internship opportunities. In return, law students have the opportunity to network and solicit their resume. Often, law students gain employment and/or internship invitations as a result of these "table talk" job fairs.
Brown Bag Lunch Series:
Fostering community and communication within the UNH School of Law community, students and faculty gather informally to discuss and present brief lectures about "hot topics," current legal trends, and professional research projects. This "Brown Bag Lunch" series allows all community members to gain further knowledge about interesting and relevant issues. The series has also been a forum for students and faculty to discuss cultural differences. For example, international students have presented brief lectures about their country's culture and customs—even preparing and sharing special foods native to their homeland with the community.
Student Public Interest Groups
University of New Hampshire law students get involved in participating and helping the law school and local New Hampshire communities. Student-initiated groups focused on public interest include:
- The Public Interest Coalition (PIC)
- Women's Law Student Association
- Teen Court
- Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity
- Black Law Student Association
- Constitutional Law Society
- Christian Legal Society
- Lambda Legal
- Significant Others and Spouses Organization
- Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
August 6, 2018