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University of San Francisco School of Law

University of San Francisco School of Law
Kendrick Hall
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Stephanie Carlos
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
University of San Francisco School of Law
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
[email protected] 
T 415.422.6304


Category Type

Independent Student Pro Bono Group Projects with no school-wide program


Description of Programs

The law school's commitment to pro bono is central to its mission of Educating Minds and Hearts to Change the World. The law school believes the commitment to the delivery of legal services to or on behalf of the poor or disadvantaged or to non-profits whose mission is to improve the law and legal system or to increase access to justice for all, is an integral and meaningful part of students' legal education and enhances the development of their professional identity. This commitment is reflected in substantial and meaningful law school programs, both for-credit and not-for-credit and law and non-law-related.

Students are asked to commit to deliver a minimum of 75 hours of pro bono services over the course of their three years at USF Law by signing the Pro Bono Pledge. Students who perform 25 hours (first year of study), 50 hours (second year of study), or 75+ hours (third or final year of study) of unpaid, supervised legal work are eligible for a pro bono publico award, which is presented by the OneJustice's Law Student Pro Bono Project to qualifying students each year at our annual end-of-year Public Interest Celebration.

The Law Student Pro Bono Project

The Law School has an ongoing relationship with the OneJustice which includes working closely with them to provide pro bono opportunities to our students through the Law Student Pro Bono Project. This productive relationship that provides many opportunities for our students has been in effect for a number of years and continues to grow and flourish each year.

Through the Law Student Pro Bono Project, our students are matched with short-term and long-term legal volunteer work opportunities. Students have the opportunity to: attend monthly or weekly clinics, perform intake for low-income clients, gather facts and submit written reports to supervising attorneys; and perform on and off-site research for legal services programs.

Examples of such participation and cooperation with the OneJustice include:

  • A OneJustice Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow ("OneJustice staff"), maintains a presence on campus through regularly scheduled tabling sessions to inform students about pro bono opportunities;
  • OneJustice maintains and provides access for USF students to the Law Student Pro Bono Project password-protected website, with up-to-date listings of projects, time commitment, requirements, and whether the work may be completed off-site and sends out weekly "Pro Bono News of the Week" emails detailing pro bono opportunities to students;
  • OneJustice and USF Law Career Planning staff provide one-on-one consulting to USF students to help them select pro bono opportunities;
  • OneJustice staff work with public interest organizations in the Bay Area to create opportunities for USF students to participate in pro bono;
  • OneJustice staff enrolls students in those pro bono opportunities;
  • OneJustice staff conducts regular evaluations of the project with USF students and the public interest organizations involved and provides mid-year and year-end reports to USF summarizing the project, the public interest organizations involved, the number of students impacted and any student feedback.

The Rural Education and Access to the Law (REAL) Project

As part of the Law School's relationship with OneJustice, USF Law students have participated in a number of Rural Education and Access to the Law (REAL) Projects. REAL Projects help connect urban law students to the needs to rural legal services programs and clients. Through these projects, students have the opportunity to: interview low-income clients and assist them with their issues, perform on or off-site research for legal services programs; and assist pro per clients in filling-out guardianship or other legal forms (all under the supervision of practicing attorneys).

During the 2008-2009 academic year, USF students participated in four different REAL trips. In December 2008, USF law students worked with Legal Aid of Marin to staff an Unlawful Detainer and Eviction Defense Clinic. In January 2009, USF law students traveled to Red Bluff and Willows, California, to work with the Self-Help Assistance and Referral Program (SHARP) of Glenn, Butte, and Tehama Counties. For Spring Break 2009, USF School of Law students took a trip to Bakersfield where they helped staff a Naturalization Clinic and a Senior Clinic. Finally, in March 2009 USF Law students traveled to Watsonville to assist with the Watsonville Law Center's free clinic for Mortgage Foreclosure and Consumer Education.


Location of Programs

Student Affairs



Erin E. Dolly
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and
Instructor of Law
University of San Francisco School of Law
(415) 422-6304
[email protected]

Daisy Hung
Assistant Director for Law Career Development
University of San Francisco School of Law
Office of Career Planning
(415) 422-6757
[email protected]



The Pro Bono Program is funded by USF School of Law.


Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The Law School's Student Bar Association has community service and pro bono student liaisons who work with the law school administration and the Law Student Pro Bono Project on specialized legal education projects at the law school, including Diversity Week and National Celebrate Pro Bono Week



Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

USF Law faculty and staff engage in a wide variety of community service and pro bono activities. Details are featured on the law school's website under "Public Service and Social Justice".



Students are asked to commit to deliver a minimum of 75 hours of pro bono services over the course of their three years at USF Law by signing the Pro Bono Pledge. Students who perform 25 hours (first year of study), 50 hours (second year of study), or 75+ hours (third or final year of study) of unpaid, supervised legal work are eligible for a pro bono publico award.

At our annual end-of-year Public Interest Celebration, we award pro bono publico awards to all eligible students. We also recognize those students who have earned a Public Interest Law Certificate (which requires a combination consisting of coursework, a writing requirement, practicum "pro bono" hours and community service).


Community Service

Law In Motion Service Program

The Law In Motion Service Program's motto is "Knowledge, Service, Justice." It provides legal and non-legal community service projects for law students, faculty and staff. The law school deeply believes that student engagement in the community in these types of activities fosters an awareness of the needs of others and reinforces a central message of the law school that the opportunity to study and ultimately practice law is a privilege that brings with it the responsibility to use one's legal skills and training for the benefit of the marginalized in society.

This multi-faceted program engages hundreds of law students in the community in a myriad of activities ranging from visiting and talking with prison inmates to serving meals in the city's Tenderloin to working with schizophrenic children.

While the majority of Law In Motion activities are non-law-related, some activities are, in fact, law-related. For example, students have performed services as 'testers' in housing discrimination investigations, assisted in the preparation of tax returns for seniors and low-income individuals and have participated in a Spring Break Project in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco.


Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Stephanie Carlos
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
University of San Francisco School of Law
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
[email protected] 
T 415.422.6304


Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Public Interest Law Certificate Program

A commitment to public service is one of the essential elements of the law school's mission. True to our mission, we support students and graduates in their pursuit of careers in public service. Students may earn a Public Interest Law Certificate through a combination of course work, practical experience, and community service.

To receive the Public Interest Law Certificate, students must complete all of the certificate requirements and all of the requirements for the JD degree.

To earn a Public Interest Law Certificate, a student must: (1) complete at least 15 units of course work selected from the list of approved Public Interest Law Certificate courses, (2) complete a minimum of 150 hours of supervised legal work in a public interest or qualifying government organization, (3) complete a minimum of 50 hours of non-legal volunteer service on behalf of on-campus or community service organizations (work with student organizations and participation in activities through the Law In Motion Service Program may be applied to satisfy this requirement), and (4) complete a substantial research paper analyzing an issue relevant to public interest law. The paper must demonstrate the ability to identify, describe, and analyze the subject matter, and, if possible, propose a resolution.


Public Interest Centers

Center for Law and Global Justice


Public Interest Clinics

The USF Law Clinic is an in-house teaching law firm that handles real cases for clients pro bono. Under the direction of experienced faculty members, students earn academic credit while representing real clients through judicial and administrative proceedings in a range of civil, criminal defense and juvenile law cases. Students participate in client interviews, investigations, counseling, research, drafting, discovery, and negotiation. The USF Law Clinic includes several specialized clinics, which are listed below.

Child Advocacy Clinic

In the Child Advocacy Clinic, students receive training and, under the supervision of the clinic director, represent abused, neglected, or abandoned children in child welfare proceedings. Clinic activities include interviewing clients, investigation, writing and responding to motions, and court appearances on behalf of clients in San Francisco Superior and Juvenile Courts, as well as the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court.

Mediation Clinic

Students in the Mediation Clinic have the opportunity to apply dispute resolution skills by serving as mediators in cases brought to the San Francisco Small Claims Court. These mediations involve most areas of the law with the exception of criminal and family law matters. After intensive training, clinic students conduct mediations and draft settlement agreements for parties who are able to resolve their disputes.

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic

A successor to our first in-house program, the criminal clinic remains a core component of the USF Law Clinic. Students enrolled in this clinic represent indigent defendants in all phases of criminal proceedings, from arraignment through trial and appeal. They also represent defendants in juvenile court delinquency proceedings.

Employment Law Clinic

Students in this clinic represent clients in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mediations involving alleged discrimination. Students investigate claims and prepare cases for mediation. As part of their preparation, students develop the theory of the case, determine damages, and write a mediation brief. Upon successful resolution of the case, students prepare a settlement agreement. In addition, students become involved in wage and hour disputes before the California Labor Commissioner. The clinic assists clients of the Instituto Laboral de la Raza, a nonprofit workers' rights organization that addresses the needs of low income workers and their families throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic

USF's innovative Frank C. Newman International Human Rights Law Clinic focuses on critical human rights issues, including migrants' rights, application of the death penalty to juveniles, and trafficking of women. Participating students research and prepare presentations for the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Commission of the Status of Women. Many of the students personally present their case to the Council at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, or to the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. Students also work on briefs detailing international law standards to U.S. courts and represent individual clients before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Predatory Lending Law Clinic

The Predatory Lending Clinic is offered as a clinical component of the Predatory Lending Law and Practice course. The course covers federal and state protections against predatory lending practices, including the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Unfair Business Practices Act. Practical training is provided on interviewing techniques, case planning, discovery, drafting, and working with clients who have cultural and language differences. Clinical placements send students to the California reinvestment Coalition, several local legal aid offices, Adult Protective Services, the San Francisco District Attorney's office, as well as to local law firms engaged in pro bono predatory lending work.



The law school offers upper-division students the opportunity to earn academic credit for fieldwork performed at government agencies, legal corporate departments, law firms, non-profit organizations, and judicial chambers. Thus, the Externship Programs allow students to include practical, hands-on experience as part of their school education. Each program has a faculty-taught course component. Through these classes, students examine legal and professional issues that arise in their fieldwork, and receive an introduction to litigation preparation in anticipation of their postgraduate position. Faculty monitor the externships to ensure their quality as learning experiences. Students assume real-world responsibilities and develop professional relationships in contexts identical to those in which they may eventually practice.

Details can be found on the law school's website at


Classes with a Public Service Component

Information on current class offerings with a public service component can be found on the law school's website:


Public Interest Journals


PI Career Support Center

Career counseling and listings through the Office of Career Planning, the OneJustice and the Director of Externships.

Public Interest/Public Sector (PI/PS) Legal Career Options Day. USF Law is part of a consortium of nine Northern California law schools and the OneJustice that host this annual event. PI/PS Day provides law students an opportunity to meet and interview with public interest and public sector legal organizations. The event also gives organizations exposure to a large group of people dedicated to public service, a chance to speak with and formally interview a large, diverse group of law students, and a forum for interacting with other public service organizations and government agencies.


Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

USF School of Law's Keta Taylor Colby Loan Repayment Assistance Program assists USF School of Law graduates with their educational loan repayment to enable their pursuit of law careers in the public interest. Eligibility requirements and application can be found on the law school's website at:


Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:

Each summer approximately 25 public interest law foundation grants are available to students working in unpaid public interest/public sector positions for $4,000 each. Money for the grants is raised by the student-run Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF). PILF conducts fundraising through its annual "Donate a Day" event and its Gala Auction and Award Ceremony. The School of Law matches those funds raised at the annual auction.


Other Funding Sources:

USF Law students have received state and national public interest fellowships from various organizations.


Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded


Other Funding Sources:

Numerous scholarships. Details can be found on the law school's website


Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:


Graduate Student Funded:


Other Funding Sources:


Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Public interest career panels sponsored by the Office of Career Planning and the student organizations.


Student Public Interest Groups

Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)

  Updated 3/21/2024