Directory

University of Pennsylvania Law School

University of Pennsylvania Law School
3501 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
www.law.upenn.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Arlene Rivera Finkelstein
Assistant Dean and Executive Director
P: (215) 573-5064
E-mail

Emily Sutcliffe
Assistant Director
P: (215) 898-0955
E-mail

Meet the TPIC team here.

Category Type

Pro Bono Graduation Requirement.

Description of Programs

Penn Law aims to promote an ethic of service in all students while encouraging them to develop professional skills and enhance their legal education. The centerpiece of Penn Law's pledge to service is a graduation obligation of 70 hours of pro bono legal work. As the hub of public interest activities at Penn Law, the Toll Public Interest Center coordinates a wide range of pro bono initiatives, including internal pro bono projects and the many external opportunities that students pursue.

Penn Law students perform pro bono services for hundreds of nonprofits, government and legal services agencies, and law firms. Penn Law's student-run pro bono groups enable students to satisfy their pro bono requirement while engaging in acts of leadership, working with their peers, and serving causes about which they are most passionate. Our self-initiated pro bono option enables Penn Law students to mold a pro bono experience as unique as their own interests.

Location of Programs

The Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) is the hub of public service at Penn Law.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Toll Public Interest Center oversees the pro bono program, the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program, student pro bono projects, public interest programming, and co-curricular initiatives.

The Toll Public Interest Center employs an executive director, an associate director, an assistant director, a program coordinator, and a staff attorney. Meet the TPIC team here.

TPIC is advised by several different boards, including our Professional Advisory Board and Faculty Public Service Board.

Funding

Our array of student pro bono projects represents the entrepreneurial spirit of Penn Law Students. These projects form the core of Penn Law's pro bono experience by offering opportunities for students to create, lead, and engage in initiatives that impact underserved populations. Many of the projects also incorporate a cross-disciplinary focus as Penn Law students work with graduate students across campus. Click here for more information about our Student Pro Bono Projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Our array of student pro bono projects represents the entrepreneurial spirit of Penn Law Students. These projects form the core of Penn Law's pro bono experience by offering opportunities for students to create, lead, and engage in initiatives that impact underserved populations. Many of the projects also incorporate a cross-disciplinary focus as Penn Law students work with graduate students across campus. Click here for more information about our Student Pro Bono Projects.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Although there is no formal faculty pro bono policy, Penn Law faculty and staff work closely with our student pro bono projects. They advise and supervise students in pro bono work and on spring break service trips. A Faculty Committee advises the Center on policies and programs.

Awards/Recognition

Students who exceed the pro bono requirement, serve as student pro bono project leaders, or start new initiatives are recognized at an annual event at the end of the academic year. Only hours that are completed during the academic year and that are uncompensated are recognized. Please see here for awards given for pro bono service.

In addition, The Beacon Award is awarded at the annual recognition event to faculty members who serve as a guiding light not only to the organizations with which they partner, but also to the students for whom they model the importance and impact of service. The awardee is selected by the Toll Public Interest Advisory Board based on the nominations of students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Community Service

The Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) informs students about community service opportunities on a regular basis, and assists student groups in coordinating service initiatives.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Arlene Rivera Finkelstein
Assistant Dean and Executive Director
P: (215) 573-5064
E-mail

Emily Sutcliffe
Assistant Director
P: (215) 898-0955
E-mail

Meet the TPIC team here.

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

None listed

Public Interest Centers

The Toll Public Interest Center (TPIC) is the hub of public service at Penn Law. Additionally, the University of Pennsylvania Law School recently received a $15 million gift to establish the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice, a national research and policy hub created to catalyze long-term structural improvements to the US criminal justice system.

Public Interest Clinics

Penn Law Clinics are designed to help students develop core lawyering competencies drawn from challenging experiential learning opportunities in litigation, business transactions, child advocacy, mediation, legislation, interdisciplinary practice, international lawyering, appellate lawyering, and IP and technology law. Under the close supervision of the Clinics’ expert faculty, students hone their skills in a firm environment while serving the community, the nation, and the world. Click here for more information about the Penn Law Clinics.

Externships/Internships

The goal of Penn Law's Externship Program is to supplement traditional classroom study and experiential study obtained through clinical courses by providing external opportunities for students to observe and participate meaningfully in lawyering at government agencies and non-profit, public interest settings. Externships are intended to offer students in-depth study in substantive areas, supplement experiential study provided in clinical courses, and explore experiential study of subjects or activities not currently offered experientially in the curriculum. Click here to learn more about Penn Law's externship programming.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Many of the law school faculty teach seminars with a public service component. The following a non-exhaustive list of faculty who teach courses with a public service component related to their seminars:

  • Professor Fernando Chang Muy, Refugee Law (students assist with pro bono assistance in refugee matters)
  • Professor Seth Kreimer, Constitutional Litigation (students perform research for the American Civil Liberties Union)

Public Interest Journals

The Journal of Law and Social Change (JLASC) is a progressive, student-run journal and seminar that espouses an interdisciplinary scholarly approach to challenge social injustice.

PI Career Support Center

The Center on Professionalism (COP) supports Penn Law students by designing programs that will prepare them for success as professionals in an evolving legal landscape. It constantly refines the programming it offers to Penn Law students to ensure that students have every opportunity to practice essential skills as they develop as professionals.

Neta Borshansky, Associate Director of Public Sector Careers, works closely with TPIC to prepare students for a future in the public sector.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Penn Law is committed to promoting the pursuit of public interest and government careers. Many law students and graduates are committed to public service but find it difficult to accept public sector employment because of their high law school debt burden. Since 1989, Penn Law has operated the Toll Loan Repayment Assistance Program (TolLRAP). It is the goal of TolLRAP to enable graduates to pursue public interest careers without regard to indebtedness by providing interest-free loans to help defray the costs of educational loans. TolLRAP provides forgiveness of the loans after each year the graduate is in public interest employment.

In addition to TolLRAP I, we introduced a new program in November 2012 for graduates in Income Based Repayment (IBR), TolLRAP II. The TolLRAP II program reflects the change in the treatment of loans by the federal government, including through IBR and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and rewards sustained service through TolLRAP Plus. The Penn Law Toll Loan Repayment Assistance Program is made possible through the generosity and support of our alumni, especially Robert (L'66) and Jane Toll. Click here for more information about our TolLRAP Programming.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

We assist recent graduates by funding a growing number of post-graduate fellowships. Each fellowship pays for one graduate to work for a year as an attorney at a sponsoring public interest organization. Our fellowships help recent graduates earn experience as practicing attorneys and build the foundations of a long career as a public interest lawyer.

Click here for further details about our past and current recipients.

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Click here for more information about the Toll Public Interest Scholars Program.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Law School funds approximately 175 students to pursue internships in the public sector each year through the following programs:

Federal Work-Study Program

Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Fellowship Program

International Summer Human Rights Fellowships (ISHRF)

Alan M. Lerner Summer Fellowship

Click here for more information about our summer fellowships.

Graduate Student Funded:

Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) Grants - EJF is a student-run public interest foundation that raises money for summer grants to fund public interest work. EJF grants are intended as a funding source with a particular focus on employment which is not otherwise fundable through work study or other grants. This includes international employment.

Other Funding Sources:

The Equal Justice Foundation, a public interest student organization, annually funds 10-20 students to work in public interest internships during the summer.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

None listed

Student Public Interest Groups

None listed

August 6, 2018