University of Miami School of Law

University of Miami School of Law
1311 Miller Drive
Suite B446
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Marni Lennon, Esq.
Assistant Dean, Public Interest & Pro Bono
Director, HOPE Public Interest Resource Center
P: (305) 284.2599

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator

Description of Programs

The University of Miami School of Law is committed to instilling a pro bono ethic in all of our students. Whether a student's ultimate goal is to work in the public sector, or integrating pro bono work as a component of one's future legal career, Miami Law helps students to identify the perfect match with projects, clinics, fellowships, externships and courses with field components.

Miami Law features a wide range of public interest opportunities which enable students to serve the public while at the same time, acquire valuable, hands-on lawyering skills. We are committed to the importance of public service and promote pro bono advocacy and service as an integral part of being a lawyer.

The starting point for law students interested in engagement and advocacy is the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. HOPE helps students understand the array of public interest opportunities at Miami Law. HOPE has a wide range of programs for law students to work with various underserved and at-risk populations locally, nationally and internationally. HOPE also offers competitive programs that provide funding for public interest summer opportunities through scholarships and the HOPE Fellowship Program.

The HOPE Pro Bono Challenge urges each student to perform a minimum of 75 hours of pro bono activities during their law school career. Students who meet the 75 hour pledge are given transcript recognition, celebrated at the Annual Public Interest Recognition Reception and recognized at graduation. In addition, students who accept the HOPE Community Challenge pledge to perform 25 hours or more of community service hours each year. Students who meet the HOPE Community Challenge are recognized for their community advocacy and civic engagement at the Annual Public Interest Recognition Reception. Each year, we have been thrilled to see the exponential growth of the number of students, and the number of hours, dedicated to community and legal advocacy efforts.

Location of Programs

The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center is the focal point for pro bono and community service opportunities. The Resource Center is located in the Law Library on the Law School Campus.


The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center is run by the Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono. In addition, there is an Assistant Director of Public Interest Programs and a Post-Graduate Public Interest Fellow. Support for the office is overseen by an office manager and provided by various student employees.


The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center is supported by the School of Law, private donors and grants.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The Public Interest Leadership Board is comprised of HOPE Fellows, Miami Scholars, project leaders and volunteers who play an instrumental role in the programming and policy setting for public interest initiatives.

The Miami STREET Law Program is an educational, legal outreach program that trains current law students to teach law, public policy and ethics throughout Miami-Dade County public schools.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Many faculty members are engaged in public interest and pro bono efforts ranging from workers rights, immigration assistance, youth advocacy, homelessness advocacy, and human rights.


Exemplary Service to the Poor: This award is given to a student who has engaged in meaningful service to the community through an existing organization. Qualifying work includes law-related as well as non law-related work and may be either directly beneficial to poor individuals or to a charitable, religious or educational organization whose overall mission and activities predominately address the needs of the poor. The term poor is not limited to those who meet federal poverty standards but also includes "working poor." A qualifying student may have received academic credit or financial compensation for the work.

Innovative Service in the Public Interest: This award is given to a student or to a student organization and recognizes the meaningful expansion of an existing program, or the creation of a new program. The award seeks to recognize innovation in addressing public interest concerns and may include: (1) work for persons of limited means, (2) work that expands the work of a charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental or educational organization and addresses the needs of persons of limited means; (3) work that is designed to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, (4) work that expands the work of charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organization; (5) work that is designed to improve the law, the legal system or the legal profession.

Community Service

Community outreach projects are made available through the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center, Student Bar Association, and Student Organizations. Each year, HOPE sponsors a Day of Service which sends hundreds of volunteers to various community agencies/sites for service projects. Other community service projects include: Habitat for Humanity, Community Partnership for the Homeless, 'Canes Carnival, Empowered Youth, Books & Buddies, and Camillus House. Each year, student project leaders add more community outreach initiatives. These community service projects, in addition to the many legal advocacy projects, are available to all University of Miami Law students.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

HOPE Public Interest Resource Center
Marni Lennon, M.S.Ed., Esq.
Assistant Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono
Director, HOPE Public Interest Resource Center
E-mail P: (305) 284-2599

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The School of Law offers numerous courses for students seeking to focus on public interest advocacy. Our Litigation Skills Program, clinics and courses provide a wide array of opportunities for students with a commitment to public interest.

Public Interest Centers

HOPE Public Interest Resource Center: The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center serves as a hub for public interest and pro bono opportunities. HOPE serves as a resource and programming center, while providing guidance to students/alumni/community agencies dedicated to promoting access to justice. HOPE is a dynamic center for engagement and advocacy.

The Center for Ethics and Public Service (CEPS) offers a variety of public interest programs. The Historic Black Church Project provides multi-disciplinary resources in education, law, and social services to under-served West Grove residents. The Professional Responsibility and Ethics Program (PREP) develops and presents continuing legal education (CLE) ethics training to the South Florida legal community.

Public Interest Clinics

Miami Law's clinics provide students with the opportunity to serve the public while exploring career possibilities and acquiring valuable legal skills. Current clinics include:

Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic
Children & Youth Law Clinic
Death Penalty Clinic
Federal Appellate Clinic
Health Rights Clinic
Immigration Clinic
Innocence Clinic
Investor Rights Clinic
Tenants' Rights Clinic


The School of Law offers many opportunities for internships/externships. Direct placement opportunities are supported by the Litigation Skills Office, the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center and the Career Development Office.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Many of our workshop courses include field components dedicated to serving the public interest. These include juvenile justice, election reform, health law, workplace justice, children and the law and more. In addition, all of our litigation skills placement opportunities for Certified Legal Interns are public sector, allowing students to share with each other the experiences they have serving clients most in need.

Public Interest Journals

Miami Law students can take part in the Race and Social Justice Law Review.

PI Career Support Center

The Career Development Office (CDO) provides support/guidance to students interested in public interest/ public service careers. HOPE and the CDO also sponsor numerous programs throughout the year focused on highlighting pathways to employment in the public interest.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

None listed

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

HOPE Fellowship Program: Information is moved to the Summer Fellowships section below.

The Miami Scholars Program: targets candidates from across the United States who, in addition to excellent academic achievement and strong scores on the LSAT, have a demonstrated interest in public service. Miami Scholars serve on the Public Interest Leadership Board and play a key role in advancing public interest programming and opportunities at the School of Law. Each Miami Scholar is awarded an annual full tuition scholarship provided a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 or better is maintained. Miami Scholars are guaranteed funding for a public interest summer position or a partial tuition scholarship for one summer of enrollment in either one of our summer abroad programs or on-campus summer session.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

The School of Law and the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center work with law students to identify funded opportunities in the public sector. Private funding, grants and federal work-study (where applicable) are explored.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

HOPE Fellowship Program: All continuing students are eligible to apply for a $5,000 HOPE Summer Fellowship. Fellows are required to work full time for 9 weeks at a local, national or international public interest/government agency. Students must submit a proposal for a public interest placement, identify a unique project, and demonstrate a commitment to public interest. Students secure positions worldwide and are responsible for programming, education and advocacy in the subsequent school year.

Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program: Rising 1Ls are eligible to apply for a Summer Public Interest Fellowship which offers academic credit and a stipend. Fellows are required to work full time for 8 weeks at a local public interest/government agency and attend a public interest seminar up to two evenings per week. The seminar includes speakers from the bench and bar, as well as a research and writing requirement.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

Students have the opportunity to apply for the Center for Ethics Summer Public Interest Program which enables students to obtain a three-credit tuition waiver, participate in a course focused on public interest lawyering and secure a placement in a local public interest agency.

In addition, students may apply for grants/foundation support for summer public interest opportunities, including the Florida Bar Foundation Summer Fellowship, and the Equal Justice Works Summer Corps.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The school is dedicated to creating a network of public interest practitioners who are actively involved in the learning experiences of our students. Through various speaker programs and the Pro Bono Legal Research Project, students are able to develop close relationships with alumni and leading public interest attorneys.

Student Public Interest Groups

The School of Law has many student organizations dedicated to service such as the ACLU-UM Chapter, the Environmental Law Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Race and Social Justice Law Review, the Student Organization for Human Rights, Miami Law Women, and the Student Veterans of America.

August 6, 2018