University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
William S. Boyd School of Law
4505 Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154-1003

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Christine Smith
Associate Dean for Administration and Student Affairs
(702) 895-1872

Cliff Marcek
Program Coordinator
(702) 366-7076

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement

Description of Programs

The William S. Boyd School of Law Free Community Legal Education Service Program, in collaboration with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Legal Services, is a mandatory program. After completing a training course, second semester, first-year law students provide free legal information courses on family law, paternity/custody, small claims, bankruptcy, guardianship, foreclosure mediation, immigrant rights, and mediation resources.

Through the voluntary Partners in Pro Bono Program, students are partnered with an experienced attorney and they work together on a pro bono case. This program is a partnership of the law school and the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

Location of Programs

Associate Dean for Admission and Student Affairs


The Law School has a half-time attorney and a quarter-time assistant assigned to the program. Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Legal Service assign staff attorneys to supervise the students teaching the community free legal education classes.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

La Voz (student group); Huellas (Project) – A national award-winning four-level mentoring program matching attorneys, law students, college students, and high school students.

Minority Law Student Association and Phi Alpha Delta (student groups) – Street Law Program at local high school.

Nevada Reading Week – Law students read to elementary school students during the annual Nevada Reading Week.

Parking Arbitration Program – Law students arbitrate parking appeals cases on the UNLV campus.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

The Law School places heavy service demands upon its faculty and encourages pro bono legal representation, testifying before legislative committees, teaching continuing education courses, educating non-lawyers about the law and our legal system, serving as a mediator or arbitrator, participating in professional associations and many other activities. Such activities are not only good in and of themselves, they can inform both teaching and scholarship as well as contribute to the intellectual life of the legal community.


The School conducts a reception each semester honoring all students who participated in the Community Free Legal Education Service Program. Outstanding students in the program are awarded certificates and scholarships for their service.

Additional annual awards are the Barbara Buckley Community Service Award awarded to an outstanding graduating student who contributed significantly to the outside community and to the law school community and the Clark County Outstanding Student Pro Bono Award awarded to a student for outstanding pro bono contributions in the legal community.

Community Service

Student organizations who receive funding must plan and participate in at least one philanthropic event per year. The organizations must complete 20 hours of service outside of the physical vicinity of the law school. Activities include donations for the homeless, walk-a-thons, organizing events at a domestic violence shelter, etc. .

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Christine Smith
Associate Dean for Administration and Student Affairs

Certificate/Curriculum Programs


Public Interest Centers


Public Interest Clinics

Appellate Clinic

Family Justice Clinic

Education Advocacy Clinic

Immigration Clinic -

Innocence Clinic

Juvenile Justice Clinic -

Mediation Clinic


Students have the opportunity to learn as student externs under the direct supervision of attorneys and judges. Externship opportunities exist in the public and not-for-profit sectors, including all federal and state judicial branches, the Nevada and U.S. legislatures, and many governmental and public interest offices. For a listing of current externship opportunities see

Classes with a Public Service Component

Land Use and Community Economic Development explores community economic development with a special emphasis on affordable housing, the land use approval process, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area. Students write research papers, prepare materials, and work with local organizations on economic development and land use issues and work with local government agencies and local developers to research models of providing affordable housing to teachers or work with a nonprofit housing advocacy group researching consumer credit issues (around housing finance) or methods to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Public Lands and Natural Resources Field Seminar focuses on the application of law and science to natural resource issues on public lands in the desert region. It includes a six-day field trip to the Kaibab Plateau, near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. On the trip, students visit areas on public land where significant legal issues have arisen concerning the management of natural resources, including old growth forests, rangelands, the Colorado River, and critical endangered species habitat. At each location, students discuss resource management and legal issues with federal/ state land managers and, in some cases, representatives of the environmentalist community and resource industries.

Legal Education & Assistance to Prisoners (LEAP) is a course where students learn about state and federal post-conviction remedies and family law and, in the field component of the course, provide training for inmates who work in the law libraries at several state correctional facilities in Southern Nevada. Students meet monthly with inmates to analyze training needs, conduct workshops, and develop selfhelp materials for use by inmates in the prison law libraries.

Climate Impact Planning - A Climate Action Plan for UNLV - Law students, in conjunction with grad students from other departments, will research greenhouse gas emissions by UNLV, identify the policies and practices that generate those emissions, and draft a plan to reduce UNLV's climate impact (and save it money using a template developed by the University of California Santa Barbara, and with the support of consultants from Second Nature, Inc., and the National Association of Environmental Law Societies.

This seminar presents an excellent opportunity for students interested in climate change to explore global, national, regional, state, and local responses to climate change, and to understand how institutions can respond to climate change. It will also offer students an opportunity to develop and hone skills in factual investigation, policy analysis, and strategizing for institutional change -- skills essential to many kinds of law practice.

The Nevada Appellate Court Initiative - Students learn about the initiative to create an intermediate appellate court in Nevada and work with community partners including the Nevada Supreme Court's Administrative Office of the Courts and organizations or groups that need information about the Nevada Appellate Court Initiative. Students will research the role of intermediate appellate courts in court systems, pros and cons about the proposed new court, and develop materials and presentations that will be part of a public education campaign on this important issue. Students will also develop their awareness of ethical issues and have opportunities to reflect on and practice responsibilities of legal professionals and to increase their awareness of the social and cultural contexts of legal institutions and services and of the value and many opportunities for civic engagement.

Class will meet weekly and students will work in teams to develop a presentation and deliver the presentation to at least three community groups or organizations. Students will also be required to reflect on the service experience and how it contributed to their learning the subject matter of the course, the professional obligations of lawyers and the value of civic engagement.

Public Interest Journals

5 Nev. L.J. (Fall 2004) (Symposium Issue: Pursuing Equal Justice in the West)

Nevada Law Journal, Volume 6, (Spring 2006), Number 3 – Special Issue on Legal Representation of Children

PI Career Support Center

Presentations and workshops are conducted throughout the school year encouraging students to consider careers in public Interest/public service. Funding is provided to students to attend public interest career fairs, such as Equal Justice Works.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:

Beverly Rogers Fellowship
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada and William S. Boyd School of Law were pleased to announce Judy Cox as the inaugural Beverly Rogers fellow in 2008. To view the announcement, please click here.

The Beverly Rogers fellow functions as part of the ACLU's legal team and, depending on the needs of the ACLU, assists in ACLU legislative and policy work and advances the ACLU's agenda through non-litigation advocacy and trial litigation. The fellowship is highly competitive and is awarded to a third-year Boyd student or recent graduate who has demonstrated a strong commitment to pursuing a career in public interest law. It is a one-year fellowship, renewable for a second year. The fellow's salary is based upon the ACLU's salary structure.

Faiss Fellowship
The Faiss Fellowship is intended to offer support to a William S. Boyd School of Law student who enters a non-governmental public interest position following graduation. Currently supported by a generous gift from MGM/Mirage, the fellowship affords its recipient a total of $10,000 to be paid in two increments of $5000, the first issued upon the recipient's start of employment, the second issued upon the recipient's start of the second year of employment. The inaugural Faiss fellowship will be awarded in 2009.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Community Free Legal Education Service Program Scholarships – annually three students receive $1,000 scholarships for outstanding service in the program. One student is chosen as the student who contributed the most to the program and community. That student receives a one-half tuition scholarship.

Community Service Scholarships – Several $2,500 scholarships are awarded to students who show a commitment to community service.

Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:

Other Funding Sources:

The Public Interest Law Students Association raises funds and awards students fellowships for public interest summer clerkships.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Social Justice Discussion Lunch Series – The Public Interest Law Students Association sponsors this luncheon program featuring discussions between faculty and students on important social justice issues.

Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Law Students Association – PILA is a student organization that promotes public interest and public service activities. Each year PILA raises funds to provide summer grants to students who work in non-profit or government agencies representing underserved or indigent populations.