chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

University of Memphis
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
1 North Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103-2189

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Callie C. Caldwell, J.D.
Public Interest Counselor for Career Services
The University of Memphis
Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
1 North Front Street
Memphis, TN 38103
P: (901) 678-2424
Fax: (901) 678-4107

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

Students engage in an array of public service opportunities in the Memphis community and more broadly throughout the state. Memphis Area Legal Services and the Community Legal Center are currently the greatest source of volunteer opportunities.

Location of Programs

The Pro Bono Program is implemented by the Career Services Office at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law


Assistant Dean for Career Services and the Public Interest Counselor provide law school administrative oversight.


Registered student organizations occasionally receive funding for service projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The Public Action Law Society (PALS) is a student-run, public interest organization that promotes pro bono service to the student body and the community-at-large. PALS hosts monthly meetings, bringing in national experts such as the Public Citizen Litigation Group in Washington, D.C., as well as local practitioners from organizations such as Memphis Area Legal Services, Community Legal Center, Shelby County Juvenile Court, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, etc.

Along with meeting monthly, PALS also coordinates and promotes pro bono opportunities for students. PALS hosts an annual Volunteer Fair to match students with area pro bono organizations. PALS also plans group projects such as Alternative Spring Break, a week- long, national service project, a monthly Pro Se Divorce Project, DACA projects, etc.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Faculty and administrators engage in a variety of pro bono service activities including the following: Board of Directors of the Community Legal Center; Memphis Areal Legal Services Campaign Cabinet; Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee; Tennessee Bar Association Ethics Committee; Tennessee Bar Association Family Law Code Revision Commission; Leo Bearman, Jr. American Inn of Court; American Law Institute; Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts Dependency Court Improvement Program; Memphis Bar Association Diversity Committee; Memphis Bar Association Access to Justice Committee; and other committees to improve the administration of justice.


The Law School offers two awards to formally recognize students' contributions to pro bono work and general community service:

1. The Rodney K. Smith Award is given annually to one student in recognition of exemplary pro bono work based on the quantity, character, and content of the work. .

2. The Dean's Distinguished Service Award requires legal service or general community service and is presented to all students who have given at least 30 hours of service within one semester or more. Recipients are eligible to wear honor cords at graduation. .

Students from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law are often recipients of outside awards. Our students recently received the following awards:

1. The Irvin Bogatin Social Justice Award, which is presented annually to a student who exemplifies the fulfillment of an attorney's responsibility to provide access to justice to low-income persons and to advance the cause of social justice. It is presented by the Bogatin family through the Memphis Bar Association. .

2. The Memphis Area Legal Service's Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award. .

3. The Tennessee Bar Association's Law Student Volunteer of the Year Award. .

4. The Pro Bono Publico Award, which is a national award given out by or to a law student who has dedicated his or her career to serving the public. .

Community Service

Along with contributing pro bono service, our students are dedicated to providing community service. The Student Bar Association hosts various activities throughout the year, including an annual 5K Race Judicata with proceeds benefiting Memphis Area Legal Services. Other Registered Student Organizations are dedicated to varying service projects. The Black Law Student Association hosts an annual blood drive and food drive; the Association for Women Attorneys hosts an annual toy drive for Sophia's House; the Memphis Association of Law and Business is organizing its first VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program; PALS participates in Project Homeless Connect, and the Christian Legal Society typically serves the homeless at soup kitchens and does area cleanups.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Daniel Schaffzin.
Director of Clinical Programs and Externships and Assistant Professor of Law

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The Law School has several different public interest opportunities, such as our clinics and externships, for students to receive academic credit.

Public Interest Centers

None listed

Public Interest Clinics

Child and Family Litigation Clinic

Elder Law Clinic

Civil Litigation Clinic

Mediation Clinic (pending faculty approval)

Housing Adjudication Clinic


The Law School offers the following public interest externships for credit: judicial externships with the U.S. District Court, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Immigration Court, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court, the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals, the Shelby County Circuit Court; criminal justice externships with the United States Attorney's Office, the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office, the Shelby County Public Defender's Office, Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender; administrative agency externships with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Memphis Housing Authority's Legal Department, the National Labor Relations Board; health law externships with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Regional Medical Center at Memphis, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation; government practice externships with the Memphis City Attorney's Office, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority's Office of General Counsel; education law externships with the University of Memphis' Office of University Counsel; and community legal externships with the Community Legal Center, Legal Aid of Arkansas (pending faculty approval), Memphis Area Legal Services; and banking law externship with Orion Federal Credit Union's Office of Legal Counsel and Compliance.

Classes with a Public Service Component

None listed

Public Interest Journals

None listed

PI Career Support Center

The Public Interest Counselor in the Career Services Office provides guidance to students on careers in public interest, along with publishing resources and job opportunities in the public interest field.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None listed

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Irvin Bogatin Award is given to a recent graduate from the Bogatin family.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Equal Justice Works Summer Corps Fellowships

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Assistant Dean for Admissions works with the Memphis Bar Association to produce a Summer Law Internship Program for diverse 11th and 12th graders who show an interest in the legal profession. The Public Interest Counselor works closely with the Tennessee Bar Association and the Memphis Bar Association to create new pro bono opportunities and develop a curriculum for Celebrate Pro Bono Month.

Student Public Interest Groups

Public Action Law Society

Student Bar Association

Christian Legal Society

Black Law Students Association

Association for Women Attorneys

Law Review

Law Students for Reproductive Justice

Memphis Association for Law & Business

Mental Health Law Society

Mental Health Law Journal


August 6, 2018