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Howard University School of Law

Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Stephanie Johnson
Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming
[email protected]
(202) 806-8231

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator

Description of Programs

The pro bono pledge is a voluntary pledge to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono work. Pro bono work is work done on behalf of low-income or underrepresented people for which students receive no compensation whatsoever. Those students who fulfill the pledge will be acknowledged at graduation in the commencement program. Students may complete twenty-five (25) hours of non-legal community service, which does not need to be supervised by a licensed attorney. For the remaining twenty-five (25) hours or more, students must complete legally related community service, which must be supervised by a licensed attorney. Pro bono hours must be completed with a non-profit or not-for-profit organization, government agency or an official HUSL program. Students are able to begin completing pro bono hours during their first year because the hours accumulate until your last year of school. Students shall enter their hours to be counted towards the Pro Bono pledge, online, via Symplicity. Please note that these hours are simply for tracking a student’s progress towards the pledge. Students should check with their respective State bar(s) to see what documentation is needed, if any, to prove completion of pro bono hours in order to gain admission the bar(s) to which they are applying. Please refer to the link below for the New York State Bar pro bono requirements. Unlike Howard's Pledge, the New York Bar allows applicants to use clinics and externships towards their pro bono requirement. However, under the New York requirement, community service does not apply unless it is law related and uses legal skills; whereas under the Howard pledge, twenty-five (25) hours may be purely community service. Here is the link New York Bar’s pro bono requirement.

Location of Programs

The Pro Bono Program is located in the Public Interest Center.


The Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming facilitates trainings with numerous outside organizations to offer pro bono opportunities to students. The Director also verifies any pro bono hours submitted by students to ensure that they are compliant with school policies related to the pro bono pledge. 


EJP is funded through the Clinical Law Center budget as well as the Law School's budget. 

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty and staff members are always encouraged to engage in law-related pro bono service; however, there is no formal requirement that they do so.


Students who complete the Pro Bono Honors Pledge receive a certificate of achievement at the graduation ceremony.

Alternative Winter or Spring Break Projects

The Howard University Alternative Spring Break (HUASB) has been committed to serving communities in need and involving students in meaningful service projects in order to develop the next generation of servant leaders. Howard University School of Law (HUSL) is proud to participate in the University’s Alternative Spring Break program by focusing on service learning and social justice projects. Our ASB program is open to all Howard University School of Law students.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Stephanie Johnson
Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming
[email protected]
(202) 806-8231

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Centers

Howard University School of Law has a proud legacy of championing civil rights and social justice causes. The Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program furthers this legacy by encouraging HUSL students to engage in voluntary, uncompensated work on behalf of low-income and underrepresented populations. The program is designed to encourage students to begin a life-long commitment of service for the public good through programming and scholarships, including the Greene Public Service Scholars Program. The Greene Public Service Scholars Program provides 3-year full tuition scholarships, lectures, other programming, and mentoring for Howard Law students.

PI Career Support Center

Students are encouraged to meet with the Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming to discuss career paths in legal public interest work; and to supplement any information received from the Office of Career Services.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Howard does not currently have an LRAP.


Howard University School of Law and the Office of the Attorney General of the District of Columbia (“OAG”) offer the Charles F.C. Ruff Fellowship for recent Howard Law graduates. Under this unique partnership, one Howard Law graduate will work for one year as an attorney in one of the OAG’s many sections.