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Criteria for Pro Bono Distinction at Graduation

All students submitting time for pro bono distinction must maintain a time sheet (.xlsx).

Monday, March 25, 2024 Deadline for May 2024 graduates to submit PIRC forms (no Extensions)

Graduation Recognition on the Delaware Campus: Pro Bono Distinction

Additional deadlines to submit pro bono hours

Access all student pro bono forms on the main PIRC page

Delaware Law encourages students to help increase access to justice by performing pro bono service. Lawyers in the United States are recommended under American Bar Association’s (ABA Model Rule 6.1 Voluntary Pro Bono Service) ethical rules to contribute at least fifty hours of pro bono service per year. Pro Bono Publico is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment or at a reduced fee as a public service. Pro bono service, unlike traditional volunteerism, uses the specific skills of attorneys to provide legal services to those who are unable to afford them.

Delaware Law recognizes students who perform a significant amount of volunteer legal work with pro bono distinction at graduation. Students who have performed at least 50 hours of pro bono legal service during law school, under the supervision of a licensed attorney, are eligible for recognition if the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. Service must be completely pro bono; students may receive neither money nor academic credit for this work. Students who are paid or receive academic credit for some of their work, but who exceeded the number of hours of  work for which they were paid or awarded credit, may be recognized for the uncompensated hours if their supervisors verify that this time was uncompensated. For clinic students, this determination is completely at the discretion of the clinic professor.
  2. Service must be to a public interest agency or office approved by PIRC. A variety of agencies may qualify. Typically judicial clerkships do not qualify*. Need guidance finding a pro bono position that meets your interests and availability? Complete and submit the Student Pro Bono Volunteer Information Form.
  3. Submit the Approval Request for Student Pro Bono Position, before you begin volunteering, to confirm your pro bono position will count towards Pro Bono Distinction.
  4. For each graduating class, eligible pro bono work may begin in the second semester of the first year of law school for those students with a minimum 2.3 GPA. Students are permitted to engage in pro bono work beginning the summer after their first year of law school.
  5. Pro Bono hours must be submitted electronically via the PIRC web page by the posted deadlines. Students must maintain a time sheet. The time submitted must reflect the date and amount of time for each task and brief description of each task. Please do not include any client confidential information (i.e., names of clients or other client identifying information). No more than 10 hours of training (total during law school) may be submitted for pro bono hours. The number of training hours cannot exceed the number of hours of pro bono legal work.
  6. Students who graduate with pro bono distinction will have their names noted in the graduation program book (March 27, 2023, deadline for May 2023 graduates to submit hours) and will wear honorary red cords over their graduation gowns. Students who meet all of the requirements will be notified by PIRC that they have qualified for graduation recognition. Cords and certificates will be distributed to students by Delaware Law.

Questions? Complete the PIRC Meeting Request Form.

To discuss pro bono opportunities for you, first complete and return the Student Information for Pro Bono Work Form. PIRC will then contact you via email to schedule a time to discuss pro bono opportunities for you.

Already chose your pro bono position? Remember, every student must have written approval by the PIRC Director confirming that the pro bono position qualifies for pro bono distinction. Need approval? Complete the Approval Request for Student Pro Bono Position.

Deadlines to Submit Pro Bono Hours

Please Submit Pro Bono Hours Electronically Only Via the PIRC Web Page
Extensions to Deadlines for Extraordinary Circumstances Only and
by Petition Only as Provided on PIRC Web Page

For work completed during … time sheets are due by…
Summer 2023 Friday, September 8, 2023
Fall 2023 Friday, December 1, 2023
Spring 2024 Monday, March 25, 2024 for May 2024 Graduates
Monday, April 29, 2024 for all other students

* Typically clerking for a judge does not count as pro bono. While clerking for a judge provides invaluable learning opportunities, it is not considered pro bono unless the Judge is volunteering time towards a court enhancement project or other type of public interest project for which the student is applying legal skills.