Law School Pro Bono Programs
Clinical Professor of Law
Access to Justice Program
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator
Description of Programs
Indiana Maurer School of Law has established an aspirational goal for JD students to perform 60 hours of pro bono work over the course of their degree work. The Access to Justice Program educates students about this goal, the value of pro bono work, and opportunities to perform pro bono work. Programming includes an annual Pro Bono Fair, a celebration of Pro Bono Week, a Pro Bono speaker series, and an ethics and skills training. Students are recognized for their pro bono work through an annual Pro Bono Award for the graduating student who has reported the highest number of hours while enrolled in school and certificates for the student in each 1L and 2L class who has reported the highest number of hours for the past academic year. In addition, each graduating student who has achieved the aspirational goal is recognized at graduation.
Location of Programs
The Program is staffed by two student pro bono fellows, who develop programming and implement the pro bono award reporting. They are supervised by two clinical faculty members.
The Program is currently funded in part by a gift from Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. The remaining funds are provided by the law school.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
Inmate Legal Assistance/Federal Post-Conviction Relief Project (ILAP): ILAP, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, helps inmates at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute with challenges to their convictions under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and other legal matters. Students may also work, under the supervision of a faculty member, on direct appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In addition to providing a chance for live-client interviewing and pro bono service, the Project offers an opportunity to polish legal research and writing and gain expertise in federal courts and criminal appeals, all especially valuable for those planning to apply for judicial clerkships.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Legal Project (LGBTLP): LGBTLP is a student pro bono project providing legal research and advocacy for organizations and individuals around the state on issues of special interest to the LGBT community and attorneys serving LGBT clients. Its work has included researching anti-bullying policies for school corporations; guiding transgendered citizens through the process of changing names and gender markers on government identification documents; and helping cultural and service organizations draft articles of incorporation and obtain tax-exempt status. In November 2012, the Project, in partnership with Indiana Equality Action, released its comprehensive study, "More Than Just a Couple: 614 Reasons Why Marriage Equality Matters in Indiana,"which received nation-wide media coverage from commentators including MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.
Outreach Legal Literary (OLL): Outreach for Legal Literacy (OLL) is a community service program in which law students teach law to fifth-graders in local elementary schools.
Pro Bono Immigration Project (PIP): The central mission of the Pro Bono Immigration Project (PIP) at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law is to support the unmet legal needs of noncitizens in Bloomington and surrounding areas. Through partnerships with local organizations and under the supervision of practicing attorneys, students conduct intake interviews and perform legal research in order to assist in the filing of relevant applications on behalf of noncitizens and their family members. Students may also teach citizenship classes and are encouraged to pursue scholarly research that will have practical relevance to noncitizens.
Protective Order Project (POP): POP is a student-directed pro bono project that for 25 years has helped victims of sexual assault, stalking, and domestic violence obtain civil protective orders and related relief. POP serves IU students, faculty, and staff, as well as any resident of Monroe or surrounding counties. Law students work on these cases alongside our community partners including volunteer attorneys, Middle Way House, the Monroe County Clerk's and Prosecutor's Offices, and the IU Office of Student Affairs.
Tenant Assistance Project (TAP): The Tenant Assistance Project provides legal help onsite at the courthouse to tenants facing immediate threat of eviction. Students represent tenants at the preliminary stages of the process, identifying defenses and other issues, assisting in negotiations with landlords, and referring tenants with more complex cases to lawyers or legal services organizations.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA): The VITA Program offers free tax help to people who make $51,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
Faculty and professional administrators are encouraged to provide 50 hours of pro bono service annually, per the Indiana Bar recommendation. Faculty also work in conjunction with the Access to Justice Program, seeking student assistance on their own pro bono work.
Pro Bono Awards Ceremony: Awards are given annually to the student from each class who has reported the most pro bono hours during the academic year.
Graduation: Certificates are given annually to each graduating student who has met the aspirational goal of performing 60 hours of pro bono service during the course of their degree work.
Leonard D. Fromm Public Interest Award: This award is given annually to recognize outstanding commitment to public interest law by a faculty member. The honoree is chosen by members of the Public Interest Law Foundation (student organization).
Community Pro Bono Award: This award is given annually to recognize outstanding pro bono service by a lawyer in the Bloomington community. The honoree is chosen by a faculty-community committee.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Public Interest Centers
Center on the Global Legal Profession: The Center on the Global Legal Profession focuses on the role of lawyers in society, the business of lawyering, and the organizational context housing legal practice. Forces of globalization, politics, and the economy create enormous challenges and opportunities for lawyers, clients, policymakers, law schools and the public. We examine these issues through the lens of empirical research, using original and existing data and utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodology.
Center for Constitutional Democracy: The Center for Constitutional Democracy studies and promotes constitutional democracy in countries marked by ethnic, religious, linguistic, and other divisions. The CCD works on Burma, Liberia, and Vietnam, training the reform leaders of these countries in constitutionalism, parliamentary process, and legal ordering. The center has a scholarship function (holding conferences and producing books, transcripts, articles, etc.), a teaching function (through our Ph.D. program on Law and Democracy and our J.D. Affiliate program), and an outreach function (training, advising, and consulting with leaders of democratic reform). In short, the center seeks to put the power of ideas to work in the world. It is committed both to understanding constitutionalism as an academic concept and to going out beyond the university to cities, jungles, mountains, and deserts where people are trying to make a better future.
Center for Intellectual Property Research: The Center's mission is to promote the development of a vibrant community of intellectual property law scholars, professionals and students. It strives to achieve this goal by building connections to the national and international intellectual property law community, offering a forum of distinction for the exchange of ideas in intellectual property law and policy. The Center's substantive focal points are two: (1) the intersection between intellectual property law and complex technologies and (2) the global nature of intellectual property policy.
Center for Law, Society, and Culture: The fundamental mission of the Center for Law, Society, and Culture is to promote and disseminate a multidisciplinary understanding of law through scholarship, teaching, and discussion. The Center produces, presents, and coordinates research conducted by exceptional scholars in schools and departments across Indiana University on the subject of law and legal problems. The Center supports research related to the law in a broad sense, including cultural aspects of law expressed through political theory and the humanities, and scientific aspects of law expressed through technological advance in biotechnology, environmental science, and information technology.
Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research: The Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research provides the nation with leadership in applied cybersecurity technology, education, and policy guidance. Fundamental to CACR's mission is to properly balance public needs, homeland security concerns, and individual privacy rights. CACR is distinctive in interweaving technical and policy expertise, and draws on Indiana University's wide range of scholarly expertise in computer science, informatics, accounting and information systems, criminal justice, law, organizational behavior, public policy, and other disciplines, and the extensive practical experience in cybersecurity of its operational units.
Public Interest Clinics
Community Legal Clinic: Through the Community Legal Clinic, second- and third-year law students have the opportunity to sharpen and develop skills while representing clients under the supervision of a licensed supervising attorney. The clinic's clients are local residents, and many, if not all, clients have limited incomes that prevent private legal counsel. The clinic focuses on family law cases, including divorce, establishment of paternity, guardianship, adoption, parenting, and custody.
Conservation Law Clinic: The clinic provides legal services to nonprofit organizations, units of government, and other clients in support of natural resource conservation. Center attorneys and clinic students collaborate to resolve organization and incorporation problems, draft model legislation, and advocate for conservation of wildlife, ecological systems, and protected areas for clients whose issues involve advocacy-in the broadest sense of the word-for natural resources.
Disability Law Clinic: Through the Disability Law Clinic, second- and third-year students work with residents of South- Central Indiana to access benefits and services designed to assist low-income people, including veterans, with disabilities.
Elmore Entrepreneurship Law Clinic: The Elmore Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, jointly sponsored by the IU Kelley School of Business and Indiana Law, gives third-year law students and fourth-year joint degree students the opportunity to help new high-growth potential ventures become more operational and sustainable. Students advise entrepreneurs who otherwise might not be able to afford their expertise.
Nonprofit Law Clinic: The NPLC provides students with opportunities to engage in public interest lawyering through business and transactional work for non-profit organizations. Students will form new entities; draft and negotiate contracts; provide basic tax advice; assist with funding and financing projects; advise on governance, communications and compliance matters; provide general corporate support to the clinic's clients; and provide other transactional legal assistance as needed.
Viola J. Taliaferro Family and Children Mediation Clinic: The Viola J. Taliaferro Family and Children Mediation Clinic is offered to second- and third-year law students. It offers hands-on mediation experience in a combined 6-credit course and clinical experience in which students mediate real-life disputes involving families with children, such as custody, parenting time, child support, and related disputes between parents in family law cases. This is an interdisciplinary clinical program in which the director, Amy Applegate, and her students collaborate in both research and training with faculty and students from IU's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (Psychology Department). This collaboration is intended to improve the mediation process for families that mediate and to assist families in focusing on and reaching agreements that best meet their children's needs.
Criminal Law Externship: The Criminal Law Externship enables students to gain a better understanding of the major issues involved with criminal law practice and the criminal justice system. In addition to legal research and writing tasks, externs can observe and participate in various criminal court proceedings under attorney supervision. Externs work in prosecutors' and public defender offices.
Independent Clinical Projects: Participants in the Independent Clinical Project have the opportunity to create their own clinical project, working closely with a faculty member with similar interests. Students can earn up to 3 credit hours during the academic year.
Indiana Legal Services Externship: The Indiana Legal Services Externship allows students to receive academic credit for one semester of work at Indiana Legal Services (ILS), a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to eligible elderly and low-income people in southern Indiana. ILS helps clients who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to have such basics as food, shelter, income, medical care, and personal safety. The externship course is available to second- or third-year students. Students work under the close supervision of ILS staff attorneys.
Intellectual Property Externship: The Intellectual Property Externship program consists of a series of externship opportunities developed and administered by the law school in connection with the Center for Intellectual Property Research. The number and type of externships will vary from semester to semester. Some may be available during the summer.
Judicial Field Placements: Students spend one day a week (or two half days) in the chambers of federal or local judges where they draft opinions, perform legal research, help prepare jury instructions, and screen motions in order to advise the judges. Each student works one-on-one with a judge and reports to a faculty supervisor.
Maurer Urban Experience: The Maurer Urban Experience combines classroom study with a semester of hands-on work in public interest law. Initially offered in Washington, DC, the program is being expanded into three additional markets in the fall of 2013: Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Maurer students arrange externships with various public-interest entities, from Federal Circuit clerkships to positions at the Department of Justice and pro bono organizations. Students also take a two-credit course, lawyering in the public interest, which addresses the realities of the practice of law in their particular setting.
Public Interest Internship Program: The Public Interest Internship Program encourages students to explore careers in the public interest by awarding academic credit for internships and experience in public service venues. This program takes place in the summer only. Internship opportunities include legal work assigned by the attorney-supervisor and an academic component assigned by the faculty member designed to encourage reflection on issues of ethics and practice. The Maurer School of Law allows students who are engaged in unpaid legal work for nonprofit, government agencies, judges, or legal services organizations to receive up to four credits during the summer.
Student Legal Services Externship: The Student Legal Services Externship allows students to receive academic credit for one semester of work at Student Legal Services (SLS), a nonprofit law office that provides legal services to Indiana University students and student groups. Students typically earn credit during their first semester of work at SLS; after that, students who continue to work there are paid hourly. The course is open to second- and third-year students.
Classes with a Public Service Component
Intellectual Property Practicum: This quasi-clinical course allows students the opportunity both to learn about the substantive law and business underlying independent filmmaking and to gain invaluable experience in researching and drafting related work product. A set of local independent filmmaker "clients" meets with the class periodically throughout the semester, and students participate in a series of workshops with motion picture professionals (in 2005, guests included writer/producer Angelo Pizzo, producer Michael Uslan and film festival producer Jeff Sparks, among others). The course includes assigned readings from Gregory Goodell's "Independent Feature Film Production" and other sources.
Public Interest Journals
Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies: The Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies is a student-edited, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal focusing on the intersections of global and domestic legal regimes, markets, politics, technologies, and cultures. This Journal seeks to facilitate dialogue among international communities of scholars in law, politics, economics, anthropology, philosophy, and other disciplines with intersecting concerns bearing on new forms of global law in the United States and around the world.
Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality: The Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality serves as an interdisciplinary academic forum for scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and students to contribute to society's understanding of legal and policy issues concerning social equality. The Journal aims to become a major effort for leading scholars and practitioners to improve race and gender relations, foster new research in and across the disciplines, and provide the intellectual foundation for the pursuit of social justice.
PI Career Support Center
Career Related Services:
- Programming: Career Choices series (attorneys from public interest fields discuss practice areas/options); Chicago, New York City and Washington, DC public interest networking trips; jointly-sponsored career exploration programming with public interest student groups; the school also provides administrative support and oversight to the summer public interest internship program.
- Travel assistance provided to students attending the Midwestern Public Interest Law Conference (Chicago, IL) and the Equal Justice Works Conference (Washington, D.C.).
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
The program, which began in October 2006, is funded by an endowment.
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded
Other Funding Sources:
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
The Public Interest Law Foundation (student group) holds an annual "Singing for Summer Salaries" fundraiser. Funds raised are matched by the law school and awarded to students pursuing public interest work over the summer.
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
- Career Choices: Cause Advocacy
- Career Choices: Government
Student Public Interest Groups
- American Constitution Society
- Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
- Black Law Student Association
- Environmental Law Society
- Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
- Feminist Law Forum
- Health Law Society
- Latino Law Student Association
- Law Students for Reproductive Justice
- Public Interest Law Foundation (already listed)
- Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Women's Law Caucus