Seton Hall University School of Law
Law School Pro Bono Programs
Professor Philip A. Ross
Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Pro Bono Service Program
Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with Coordinator
Description of Programs
Students at all levels of learning and experience are encouraged to participate in the Center for Social Justice's Pro Bono program. At minimum, students in the program donate 35 hours of their professional time during a semester. Students can complete the 35 hour requirement during the course of a semester or during school breaks.
Location of Programs
With the Clinical Program (Center for Social Justice).
The Director is a 15 hour per week clinical professor. He spends 50% of his time with the pro bono program.
Full office and secretarial support is provided to pro bono group projects.
Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects
Courtroom Advocate Project – Law students represented victims of domestic violence in New York City courts.
Street Law Project – Law students taught elementary and high school students in East Orange, N.J., about criminal law and their rights and responsibilities.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts – The students of the VLA helped with the provision of free legal aid to artists with limited means.
Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono
The New Jersey State Bar Association pro bono policy applies to all law professors licensed to practice in the state of New Jersey. Law Administrators are included.
We honor public interest students and celebrate public interest service in our graduation ceremony program. The Law School recognizes and provides awards to selected graduates who contribute the greatest to the public interest. Contributions include student leadership in community service and pro bono work. The Center for Social Justice honors clinical students who excel in the provision of public interest legal services with awards. Also, students who complete at least one semester of pro bono work are individually named in the graduation booklet.
Each student who completes the 35 hour requirement of the Center for Social Justice's Pro Bono program is given a plaque.
Two student groups are almost exclusively committed to performing community service. The Student Outreach Society and the Saint Thomas More Society volunteer in local soup kitchens, build urban homes for Habitat for Humanity, run food and clothing drives for shelters, and perform other wonderful services for the local community.
In addition, nearly every student organization engages in community service. For example, the International Law Society raises funds for an international economic development non-profit through creative means such as a bowling night and the Womens' Law Forum runs suit drives for low income women entering new careers.
Law School Public Interest Programs
Veena Seelochan, Esq.
Public Interest Director
Office of Career Services
Public Interest Centers
Public Interest Office – Serves as the central resource for most public interest programs, including the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program, the Heyman Fellowship Program, and the LRAP program, as well as sponsoring public interest events. Web site under construction.
Guantanamo Bay Detention Project – Professors Mark Denbeaux and Baher Azmy engaged numerous students in legal representation and advocacy on behalf of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
Public Interest Clinics
Civil Litigation Clinic – Students in the Civil Litigation Clinic represent indigent clients through all phases of the civil litigation process in matters involving consumer fraud, civil rights, fair housing and other issues. Under the supervision of skilled and experienced law professors, students in the Clinic interview and counsel actual clients; draft pleadings, motions and briefs; appear before judges in federal and state court; argue motions, conduct depositions, hearings and trials; and engage in settlement negotiations and arbitration hearings.
Family Law Clinic – Students in the Family Law Clinic represent impoverished clients in divorce, support, custody and domestic violence cases. Students have also been appointed to represent children in contested custody cases. Students interview clients, analyze statutes, develop legal theory, prepare pleadings, write briefs, argue motions, and appear at trial, all with highly individualized supervision from experienced attorneys. As family law is a readily developing area, students often have the opportunity to explore cutting-edge issues, as they gain critical litigation skills.
Housing and Homelessness Clinic – Students in the Housing and Homelessness Clinic provide comprehensive legal assistance to impoverished clients who are homeless, in danger of becoming homeless, or living in seriously substandard conditions. Students work with clients both to resolve their housing emergency (by appearing, for example, at landlord-tenant court) and to assist with the broader situation that led to the housing crisis. Many of the cases handled by this Clinic are fast-moving, providing students the opportunity in a single semester to interview clients; analyze factual and legal arguments; conduct settlement negotiations; and represent clients in court and administrative hearings.
Immigration and Human Right Clinic– Students in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic represent indigent clients who have fled human rights abuses in their native countries and seek political asylum in the United States. Students develop and present cases at all levels ranging from affirmative applications before immigration officers to court hearings in front of immigration judges to appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals or the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition to political asylum cases, clinic students have filed habeas corpus petitions in federal district court in cases involving constitutional challenges to the INS' detention policies.
Impact Litigation Clinic – Students in the Impact Litigation Clinic represent indigent clients on a wide range of cutting-edge cases that further social justice. Students in the clinic receive careful, in-depth instruction while researching and writing briefs on complex and novel legal issues. Cases are often in the appellate arena, or may involve amicus curiae briefs or innovative trial court proceedings. The Clinic is directed toward students who desire intensive training in advanced legal writing and analysis so that they can learn to produce comprehensively researched, tightly organized, well-written and persuasive legal briefs.
Juvenile Justice Clinic – The Juvenile Justice Clinic students gain litigation experience representing clients under the age of eighteen who have been charged with a juvenile offense or crime. Students interact with parents, social service agencies and school officials to gather information before representing the clients in court at detention hearings, trials, pleas and depositions. The classroom portion of the Clinic provides students with grounding in basic trial skills and rules of the court before progressing to more formal training, such as mock trials and motions to suppress evidence.
We offer many exciting externships and gladly work with employers in government and non-profit legal agencies to expand placements available to students. The students who took part in the program from June 2004 to May 2005 externed with the Federal Public Defenders' Office, the United States Attorneys' Office, state and federal courts, and other outstanding government and non-profit agencies. Through the Externship Program, students obtain credit hours and hands-on legal experience. For information, please contact Stephanie Kauflin, Esq., Associate Director of the Office of Career Services, [email protected], 973-642-8778.
Classes with a Public Service Component
All Clinics include a classroom component which includes lectures and hands-on simulations. Professors include: Linda Fisher, Jon Romdeng, Daher Azmy, Virginia Handwick, Kevin Kelly, Lori Nessel, Philip Ross and Claudette St. Romain.
Public Interest Journals
Certain faculty teach classes in which students participate in public interest litigation projects.
PI Career Support Center
Center for Social Justice
For more information, contact Professor Fisher.
Pro Bono Service Program
For more information, contact Professor Ross.
Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)
Information on the Program can be found at https://law.shu.edu/financial-aid/public-interest-service-loan-program.cfm . The Program is funded through student fundraising.
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships
Law School Funded:
Distinguished Public Interest Scholarship – This highly selective merit-based scholarship is awarded primarily on the merits of the Distinguished Public Interest Scholar Application, dedication to public interest, LSAT scores, undergraduate academic performance, interviews, and academic promise. Distinguished Public Interest Scholars receive full tuition scholarships for their first year of study at Seton Hall Law.
The Distinguished Public Interest Scholarship is awarded as a supplement to any initial Merit Scholarship awarded. The Distinguished Public Interest Scholarships are renewable if the student maintains continuous enrollment and maintains a required GPA standard.
As a Distinguished Public Interest Scholar, students will be paired with a faculty member to act as a mentor and advisor, and will participate in networking and informational events with prominent members of the legal community. In addition, Seton Hall Law's Public Interest Director will act as a mentor, providing recipients with information and resources about different areas of public interest practice, organizations, conferences and career fairs, job opportunities, and fellowships.
The Admissions Committee mails applications for both Distinguished Scholar Programs to selected applicants, as "invitations" to apply for these very selective scholarships.
Graduate Student Funded
Other Funding Sources:
Law School Funded:
Graduate Student Funded:
Other Funding Sources:
Each Public Interest Fellowship award is approximately $4000.00 for a ten-week placement. Fellowships typically combine federal work-study funds with private funds raised through the annual public interest auction. If the Fellow does not qualify for work-study, other arrangements will be made, so long as funds are available.
Students working in government placements may receive funding if the employer pays 25% of the work-study salary.
Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs
First Monday – Coinciding with the first Monday of the U.S. Supreme Court oral argument calendar, we hold a First Monday event, including a panel on a key public interest and constitutional law issue to be considered by the court for that term.
Brown Bag Series – Throughout the semester, we host brown bag lunches with public interest lawyers to provide students with the opportunity to obtain real-world advice from those attorneys in an informal setting.
Distinguished PI Scholars Speakers Series – Each semester, we host a public interest leader for the audience of our Distinguished Public Interest Scholars and other merit scholars.
Student Public Interest Groups
American Constitutional Society (ACS)
Asian/Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA)
Black Law Student Association (BLSA)
Health Law Forum
International Law Society
Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)
Public Interest Auction Committee
Public Interest Network (PIN)
Student Bar Association
Student Outreach Society5/12/2021