University of Miami School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Marni Lennon, Esq.
Assistant Dean, Public Interest & Pro Bono
Director, HOPE Public Interest Resource Center
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 and advocacy projects 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 the Summer Public Interest Fellowship and HOPE Fellowship Programs.
The HOPE Pro Bono Challenge strongly encourages 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 Ceremony 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 Ceremony. 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. HOPE is located on the third floor of the law school..
The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center is staffed by the Assistant Dean for Public Interest & Pro Bono, two associate directors, an office manager, and work-study students.
In addition to pro bono, pro bono staff does public interest advising, fellowship program management, and advocacy programs.
The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center is supported by the School of Law, private donors and grants.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
Exemplary Service Award
A qualified candidate is one who engaged in meaningful service to the community through an existing organization or clinic. Service is broadly defined to include both "law-related" work and other work. Service includes advocacy on behalf of low-income, underrepresented and disenfranchised individuals, as well as work on behalf of non-profit, religious, or educational organizations whose overall mission and activities are designed to address the needs of the above-mentioned individuals or other public interest-related causes (such as human rights, environmental justice, etc.). A student who receives academic credit and/or compensation for this work is not disqualified from receiving this award.
Innovative Service in Public Interest
This award recognizes innovation in the creation of a new program, or in the meaningful expansion of an existing program, and may be given to an individual student, a group of students, or a student organization. The program may relate to any public interest endeavor. A student who receives academic credit and/or compensation for the work is not disqualified from receiving this award. Student work that qualifies involves: (1) work on behalf of the poor or organizations whose overall mission is to assist the poor; (2) work to secure or protect civil rights, civil liberties or public rights, or charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental and educational organizations in matters in furtherance of their organizational purposes; and, (3) participation in activities for improving the law, the legal system or the legal profession.
In addition, each year the law school recognizes the person from each class who volunteered the most pro bono and community service hours.
Alternative Winter or Spring Break Projects
The HOPE Office, in collaboration with a student planning committee, organizes local and national alternative break advocacy projects for Fall, Winter and Spring Breaks.
Law School Public Interest Programs
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
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 is as a resource and programming center, providing guidance to students/alumni/community agencies dedicated to promoting access to justice. HOPE is a dynamic center with ongoing engagement and advocacy opportunities.
PI Career Support Center
The HOPE Public Interest Resource Center and the Office of Career & Professional Development or OCPD provide support/guidance to students interested in public interest/public service careers. HOPE and the OCPD also sponsor numerous programs throughout the year focused on highlighting pathways to employment in the public interest.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)