Directory

University of Nebraska College of Law

University of Neraska College of Law
Ross McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583
law.unl.edu 

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Ryan Sullivan
Assistant Professor of Law / Pro Bono Committee, Chair
sullivan@unl.edu
402.472.3271
https://law.unl.edu/pro-bono/ 

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Student Group Projects



Description of Programs

The College of Law seeks to encourage and recognize volunteer legal service by law students enrolled in the College of Law. The College of Law promotes external and internal pro bono programs, recognizes and incentivizes pro bono work, and facilitates pro bono programming.



Location of Programs

https://law.unl.edu/pro-bono-oppportunities/



Staffing/Management/Oversight

The pro bono program is administered by a pro bono committee comprised of faculty, administrators, and students.



Funding

Secretarial support and funding is provided for student pro bono group projects. Research assistants and secretarial support is provided for faculty pro bono projects. Student groups may apply for funding to support a pro bono event or project.



Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program -- VITA students receive training on tax return requirements. They then provide help on filling out federal and state income tax returns at various sites around Lincoln, including retirement homes, community centers, and shopping malls.

Community Legal Education Project (CLEP) -- CLEP coordinates a variety of activities through which the College promotes legal education for non-lawyers. Law students assist elementary, middle and secondary school teachers in helping pupils understand fundamental legal issues, appreciate the legal system, and learn about the law as it affects their daily lives.



Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Many faculty members licensed in Nebraska provide pro bono services as part of their service to the College. Faculty members often work with students on pro bono projects, and supervise student run pro bono events such as VITA and CLEP.



Awards/Recognition

Pro Bono Certificate

Students are encouraged to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono law-related services while enrolled at the College of Law.  Students who complete at least 50 hours of qualified pro bono work while enrolled as a student at the College of Law will receive from the Dean at graduation a Pro Bono Certificate and a notation of this accomplishment will be made on the graduation program*.  Students earning a Pro Bono Certificate will also be honored with pro bono cords at graduation.  Moreover, students completing:

  • 75 hours to 99 hours will receive a Pro Bono Certificate, Silver Level. 
  • 100 to 199 hours will receive a Pro Bono Certificate, Gold Level.
  • 200 hours or more will receive a Pro Bono Certificate, Platinum Level.  

The Pro Bono Certificate awarded will be reflected on the student’s official transcript. 

Student Award for Outstanding Impact through Pro Bono Service

Each year a student may be presented with an award for his or her outstanding impact through pro bono service.  The impact may be measured by reviewing a single act or project, or multiple acts or projects performed by the student during his or her enrollment at the College of Law.  Criteria to be considered may include, but is not limited to: total pro bono hours, record of pro bono work performed, and the overall impact the pro bono work has had on a community or underserved population.

Nominations for the award will be solicited and accepted by March 31 of each year.  Upper-class students at the College of Law are eligible for nomination for the award.  Nominations may be accepted from students, faculty, administration and staff, or by self-nomination.  Nominations should include a detailed description of the pro bono work completed by the student nominated, including a description of the impact the work has had on a community or underserved population. 

The Pro Bono Committee will review nominations and vote to select the recipient of the award.  An announcement will be made shortly thereafter.  In the event of a tie, or where two students are determined to be equally deserving of the award, the Committee may select two recipients for the award.  The award will be reflected on the student’s official transcript.  



Community Service

Student organizations sponsor several long-standing, annual community service projects: blood drives, winter clothing for needy children, food bank contributions, donations to rape/spouse abuse center and house painting events.



Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Kala Mueller
Director of Public Interest Programs
402.472.5130
kalamueller@unl.edu



Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Students who want to pursue a public interest area of study may work with a faculty member to develop a program of concentrated study in public interest law and receive a certificate of concentrated study at graduation.



Public Interest Centers



Public Interest Clinics

Civil Clinical Law Program: The Civil Clinical Law Program is the College of Law’s first formal clinical program, launching in January, 1975. Students in the Civil Clinic have an opportunity to represent low-income clients in a wide variety of civil and administrative cases selected by the faculty for potential litigation and trial experience and maximum pedagogical benefit. In addition to litigation-based experiences, Civil Clinic students also have opportunities to engage in projects that help them develop their drafting and planning skills, such as the Advance Directive Clinic Project, in which students draft simple estate planning documents for clients. Students’ caseloads are designed to approximate the types of matters they might expect to handle as new lawyers in a variety of practice settings.

Immigration Clinic: The Immigration Clinic was established in 1998. Its purpose is to give students an intensive, year-long experience working in-depth on immigration cases on behalf of low-income clients in need of legal assistance. Because of the nature of the work and the clientele, and the amount of time students will devote to the Clinic, students interested in the Immigration Clinic must apply and go through an application process. The application process usually occurs in February of each year. Students applying to participate in the Immigration Clinic must commit to being in the Clinic from the May after their second year until May of the year in which they graduate. The types of cases handled by students vary with the needs of the clientele, but generally include such matters as family-based immigrant cases, deportation defense, asylum cases (both affirmative and defensive), Special Immigrant Juvenile visa cases, post-conviction claims based on failure of defense counsel to advise of immigration consequences of criminal proceedings, and other like matters. Although they will inherit an ongoing caseload, students in the Immigration Clinic have a fair amount of discretion in deciding what types of new cases to take, and will have some flexibility to tailor those types of cases to their areas of interest.

Children’s Justice Clinic: Students participating in the Children’s Justice Clinic will serve as guardians ad litem in the Lancaster County Juvenile Court under the supervision of adjunct law professor Michelle Paxton. The primary goal of the Children’s Justice Clinic is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and ethical underpinnings necessary to function as effective advocates in a setting involving the legal needs of young children.



Externships/Internships

Students, with the approval of a sponsoring faculty member, may take one to three hours of externship in a public interest area in conjunction with a seminar or research in a selected field.



Classes with a Public Service Component

In the Family Law Practice course, students working in teams of two handle a low income divorce case. For information, contact Professor Alan Fran, afrank2@unl.edu.



Public Interest Journals

https://law.unl.edu/JDs-Advancing-Justice/



PI Career Support Center

Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs, provides career counseling and employment information on public interest careers. The Career Development Office hosts an annual government and public interest fair and co-sponsors a Justice Jam event where public interest attorneys share why they fight for justice.



Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Awards available to graduates who work directly with individuals in need of legal services and for a non-profit agency. Award amounts vary depending on number of qualified applicants.



Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:



Graduate Student Funded:



Other Funding Sources:



Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:



Graduate Student Funded



Other Funding Sources:



Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Nebraska Public Interest Law Fund (NPILF) Summer Fellowships provide a limited number of stipends to matriculated University of Nebraska College of Law students who secure summer positions that serve the public interest.



Graduate Student Funded:



Other Funding Sources:

NFCPI (Nebraska Fund for Clerkships in the Public Interest): Summer fellowships are funded through donations by faculty, staff, attorneys, a percentage of Bar/Bri sales and by the Women's Law Caucus annual charity auction. The number of awards varies each year, with usually four to six awarded. The total amount awarded for summer public interest clerkships is usually $10,000 -$12,000.



Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

The Career Development Office sponsors public interest speakers and workshops.



Student Public Interest Groups

Equal Justice Society

Nebraska Fund for Clerkships in the Public Interest

3/11/2020