Duly Noted

AALS survey: Law class of 2016 contributed more than $52 million in pro bono legal services



The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) has launched an annual project to calculate law schools’ collective contributions to the delivery of much-needed legal services through clinics, experiential courses, and law student pro bono.

Through a survey conducted in November, 80 law schools reported that 17,899 law students in the class of 2016 contributed more than 2.2 million hours in legal services, an average of about 124 hours per student. Independent Sector, a nonprofit organization coalition, estimates the value of volunteer time to be $23.56 an hour. Using this number, the total value of law students' time at these schools is estimated to be over $52.2 million. The schools represent about 45% of students in ABA?accredited law schools.

Several schools indicated that many hours go unreported, or are difficult to track, and actual contributions are likely to be much higher.

Hands-on or experiential learning opportunities allow students to apply classroom theory to legal problems under the supervision of lawyers. Students receive practical experience in law and communities receive essential legal services that they would otherwise not be able to afford. Law students contributed hours through a variety of efforts, including externships at legal non-profit and community organizations, law school clinic programs, and law student organization projects.

“Access to justice regardless of means is a guiding principle of the legal profession and legal education,” said Paul Marcus, 2017 AALS President and Haynes Professor of Law at The College of William and Mary Law School. “Through these important efforts, thousands of clients and communities receive quality legal services while providing students with hands-on educational opportunities to help them become more effective lawyers upon graduation.”

Law students contributed hours to hundreds of pro bono projects serving thousands of clients, including the following: University of Akron School of Law Re-entry Clinic; The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Veterans Pro Bono Pop-Up Clinic; Columbia Law School Election Protection Partnership; Duke University Civil Justice Clinic; University of Kentucky College of Law Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program; Lewis & Clark Law School International Envi-

ronmental Law Project; University of Michigan Law School Unemployment Insurance Clinic (for first-year law students); University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law  Immigration Clinic; St. Mary's University School of Law – Teen Court Program; University of Texas School of Law Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic; and Wayne State University Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic.

 

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